The First of the Dominoes to Fall

I entered the United States Navy a few weeks prior to my 18th birthday, and had the “pleasure” of experiencing boot camp in Orlando, Florida. After a couple of months, I was sent to study propulsion engineering at the Naval Station Great Lakes in North Chicago, Illinois.

Chet Swearingen--several days prior to his 18th birthday. U.S.N. Boot Camp in Orlando, FL July 1978

Chet Swearingen–several days prior to his 18th birthday.
U.S.N. Boot Camp in Orlando, FL
July 1978

After completing my propulsion engineering training, I was assigned to the USS Barry, which was then home ported in Mayport, Florida. Several months after reporting for duty on the Barry, our ship departed for 6 month Mediterranean / Middle East deployment.

For my sleeping arrangement I was assigned to a spot in the rear of the ship’s berthing compartment (sleeping quarters). The beds (racks) were stacked three high, and I was given a top one. Every night while lying in my bed reading novels, I noticed two guys who always sat on the floor below me, reading their Bibles together. Although those two guys never outwardly witnessed to me, their Holy Spirit filled presence was enough. Though I had prayed the “sinner’s prayer” as a very young child (multiple times), I had never made a full commitment to Christ.

~

~

J.T.--center: One of the young men that read their Bible below my bed. April 1981 off the coast  of Norfolk, VA

J.T.–center: One of the young
men that read their Bible
below my bed.
April 1981 off the coast
of Norfolk, VA

D. & D. W.: One of the young men that read their Bible below my bed. May 1, 1982 in Newport, RI

D. & D. W.: One of the young men
that read their Bible
below my bed.
May 1, 1982 in Newport, RI

 

~

~

~

~

~

~

~

~

~

 

Benteng on the Rock of Gibralter. Morocco can be seen in the background. March 28, 1979

Chet Swearingen on the Rock of Gibralter.
Morocco can be seen in the background.
March 28, 1979

After being in the Navy for nearly nine months, and observing the lives of many sailors, I clearly saw the end results of sin, which consisted of nothing but problems resulting from drugs, alcohol, prostitutes, divorce, hatred, pride, etc. I determined then and there that this was not the life for me. I realized I didn’t want to remain on the same path of destruction these sailors were on. Having seen where they were heading, as well as having been highly influenced by the presence of a couple of guys reading their Bibles every night below my rack, I made a full commitment to Christ, on Friday, April 27, 1979 at 10 p.m.

`

`

`

Go Back to Table of Contents…………………………………………………Go to Next Chapter

This post was written by
Comments are closed.