"The Living Proof"-a real story

The following is an actual account, a true story of one Marine's

experience in Vietnam. It has been published in a book called "Living

Proof", and made into a movie called, "Clebe McClary:Portrait of An

American Hero".

Perhaps you will enjoy, as many thousands of others have, reading

this true story of how a young Marine lieutenant with 12 others were

overrun by over 150 North Vietnamese soldiers, ran out of ammo, fought

hand to hand for their lives, and how the story ends. Here it is:

"If there was a perfect place for a boy to grow up, I guess my

childhood home would have been one. A 10, 000 acre plantation near

Georgetown, SC, gave me plenty of opportunities to hunt and fish and

just enjoy nature.

My folks were strict, but loving. They made sure that I went to

Sunday school. My father, a 6-foot, 210 Scotch-Irishman, would say,

"Clebe, go to church." And that's exactly what I did. Throughout my

youth I was faithful and active in my church. Yet, I never met Christ

or surrendered my life to Him.

After college I taught in high school for three years and coached

championship teams. During this time I met and married my wife Deanna.

She was a beauty queen in South Carolina and her outward beauty was

surpassed by her inward grace and gentleness.

At the same time, Vietnam was putting our country in a great deal of

turmoil. I felt it was my responsibility to do what I could, so I

enlisted in the Marine Corps. Following training in Quantico, VA, I

got my orders to go to Vietnam.

As a lieutenant I often led reconnaissance, or "recon" patrols.

Recon patrols were conducted deep in enemy territory to report on their

activity. Each of these missions was a dangerous endeavor, but not

until the 19th, and longest patrol, had I faced death so certainly.

Leading a patrol of 13 men, we went into a valley where very few of

our troops had been. We stopped for the night on the top of a hill.

Three men dug a foxhole to my right; my doc and radio man were in a

foxhole to my left. I got into a punji pit and eight men around the

edges of a large bomb crater about 50 meters behind me. About midnight

I thought I heard some enemy movement.

Climbing out of the punji pit to see if the men on my right had

heard the same noise, a grenade exploded hitting me in the neck and


As I grabbed the radio and started calling for air support and

artillery, a sapper unit, better known as a suicide squad, of about ten

of the enemy started running up the hill. With grenades tied around

their waists and grenades in each hand, they were literally coming up

the hill exploding, killing themselves trying to kill us.

One of them stood right above me. I shot him with my 12-gauge

shotgun and he fell into the pit with me. His satchel charge exploded

blowing both of us out of the hole.

As I was going through the air all I could think of was, "Man,

where's my shotgun?" As I reached back for it, I realized my left arm

had been blown off by the blast. I looked to my feet; my radio man and

my doc were dead or unconscious. Then I heard the three men on the

right cry out and discovered that a grenade had gone into their


A black Marine, PFC Ralph Johnson smothered it with his body and

gave his life to save the other two Marines with him. He was later

posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest award for

heroism. I started crawling toward them and before I got there another

grenade came in. As I threw up my right hand, the explosion blew out

my left eye and many of my teeth on that side. A good bit of the use of

my right hand was gone.

Things were looking tough and I thought my only chance was to get

back to the bomb crater where the eight men were fighting. I tried

running, but a couple of grenades knocked me down.

I lay there for what seemed like hours. I had never wanted to live

so badly in all of my life. If I could only see my wife one more time

... she and I were supposed to have met in Hawaii next week. But lying

there I doubted that I would ever see Deanna again.

Later I heard some movement in the bushes behind me. One of the

enemy came up and shot me in the right arm. Another stuck a North

Vietnamese flag up about 15 feet from my head. I thought it was all

over. Then I heard a voice call, "Lieutenant! Lieutenant!" It was an

18 year old Marine from Alaska, Rod Hunter. He crouched down by my

feet and picked enemy off just as they were coming up the hill. At the

same time, Corporal Lucas, who had already won a Silver Star in

Vietnam, crawled out of the bomb crater and also was returning fire. I

told him to take over.

"Try to get helicopters to come after us." He radioed for choppers

but they said they couldn't come until daylight (it was 2:45 AM). I

told him, "Tell them to forget it. We won't be here at daylight. We're

out of grenades and throwing rocks."

He relayed this to the chopper pilots and instead of waiting, they

came right then. It was just 3:00 AM when they put my two dead men,

the four wounded, and me on the first bird. As it lifted, the second

helicopter landed. The last seven men dropped their packs, weapons -

everything - and jumped on. As it lifted off the ground about 150 or

more of the enemy swarmed over the top of the hill. In a few more

minutes, not one of us would have gotten off that hill alive.

We were flown to the hospital at Danang, then on to Japan for more

surgery and then to Bethesda, MD. Here Deanna joined me in my

recuperation. Her love and encouragement gave me strength to rebuild my

life. After further operations, endless physical therapy sessions and

overwhelming pain and anxiety, I finally was strong enough to go home

to South Carolina. Though I still claimed my religion, I did not claim

my Savior.

One night I read in the paper that Bobby Richardson, a former New

York Yankee, and Vonda Kay VanDyke, a former Miss America, were going

to be at a special rally at the football stadium. I told Deanna that I

sure would like to see Bobby Richardson and added, "Any Marine would

like to see Miss America. Let's go." And we went.

Bobby and Vonda Kay gave brief testimonies followed by a message by

Billy Zeoli of Gospel Films. He preached a sermon I will never forget.

He said there are two kinds of fools in this world: a fool for Christ

and a fool for others. I knew right then what kind of fool I had been

all my life. I had gone to Sunday school and church only because that

was what my mother and father wanted me to do. I didn't drink or

smoke. I had a lot of religion but still needed a Savior.

There at the stadium that night I realized that I had just been

fooling myself. I had never Personally received Jesus Christ as my

Savior. Yet the Bible says, "For by grace are ye saved through faith,

and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not of works lest

any man should boast." (Ephesians 2:8, 9). So that night I dropped all

pretense and opened my heart to Jesus Christ in simple faith."

How about you? On what do you base your hope of heaven - good works?

Church attendance? Doing the best you can? Perhaps you have been

making the same mistake that I made for so long. Listen to what God

has said in His Word:


so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever

believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" - John

3:16. And John 10:10, "I came that they might have life and have it

more abundantly."


all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God"-Romans 3:23.

Romans 3:10, "There is none righteous, no not one." And Isaiah 59:2,

"Your iniquities have separated you from God; your sins have hidden

His face from you."


PROVISION FOR SIN. "But God commendeth His love toward us, in that

while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us"-Romans 5:8. And John

14:6, "Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth and the life; no man

cometh to the Father but by Me."



AND PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE. "But as many as received Him, to them gave He

the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His

Name"-John 1:12. It is by faith alone - see Ephesians 2:8, 9 above.

This is called the "new birth", in John 3:1-18. If you trust in

anything but Jesus Christ and His death, burial and resurrection, then

you have no chance for heaven.

Jesus Christ died for you; He paid your debt of sin; he offers

eternal life to you and now He wants to come into your heart.

Revelation 3:20 says, "Behold I stand at the door and knock; if any man

hear my voice, and open the door, I will come into him."

Will you, right now, let Jesus Christ come into your heart and take

control of your life? If so, pray this prayer or something like it

(the attitude of your heart is far more important than the words you

say): "Lord Jesus, I know You love me because You died on the cross for

my sins. I confess I am a sinner and cannot save myself. Thank You,

Lord, for paying my debt of sin so that I may have eternal life. I do

now, by faith, trust you Lord Jesus, and receive You as my Savior and

Lord. Please come into my heart and take control of my life. By

faith, I thank You for doing so. In Jesus Name, amen."

Does that prayer or something like it express the desire of your

heart? If it does, pray it now and Christ will come into your life, as

He promised.

Receiving Christ involves turning to God from self (repentance) and

trusting Christ to come into our lives, to forgive our sins, and make

us the kind of people He wants us to be. Just to agree in your mind

that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that He died on the cross for

our sins is not enough. Nor is it enough to have an emotional

experience. We receive Jesus Christ by faith, as an act of the will.

If you have made this decision, may I ask you to contact me for

further information? I'll be glad to send you additional free

materials to help you grow in your Christian life.

Clebe McClary Servicemen's Christian Center John T. Sargent,

Director P.O. Box 10413 Alexandria, VA 22310 (703) 971-0242

A ministry of Missions to Military, an independent Baptist mission


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