Randall Jansen, the author of Duty Is Ours, Results Are God’s: A Marine’s Story of Duty and His Search For Truth (Tate, 189 pp., $12.95, paper: $10.99, Kindle), wanted to be a career Marine. In his book, Jansen succinctly tells his life story, including his belief that God’s plan for him included formal Bible study, theology, and becoming a Chaplain after his discharge.
Jansen’s transition from helicopter pilot to sky pilot began on April 29, 1966, when he was wounded near Chu Lai. On his 24th birthday, three days later, aboard the hospital ship U.S.S. Repose, a Navy doctor told him, “After surgery, you will have limited use of your arm, and your Marine career is finished.”
Jansen had joined the Marines in 1961 after deciding he was unprepared for college. He soon met his first Marine DI, who emphatically told him, Jansen writes, that “if I ever did anything again without permission he would jump onto my shoulders and unscrew my head. I was no longer in charge of myself.”
Having graduated from Marine Aviation Training and Officer Candidate School, Lt. Jansen’s first assignment was on the U.S.S. Donner for a six-months Mediterranean cruise. It included stops in Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Holland, France, and Greece. “I was having the time of my life,” Jansen writes. “I would have made the cruise for free.”
His next assignment took Jansen to the Caribbean on the helicopter carrier U.S.S. Guadalcanal for three months. His squadron spent six months in Okinawa before arriving in Da Nang in October 1965. The first thing Jansen saw was “an H-34 helicopter (the type I had spent the last twenty-two months flying) parked on the ramp. It was riddled by bullets. The instant I laid eyes on it, I knew without a doubt that I was going to be hurt.” He was correct.
In February 1966, Jansen received his first Purple Heart. Ten days later he was hit again while flying—and had another close call with death. If the bullet that hit him had been a “quarter of an inch front or back,” he writes, “it would have entered my right buttock and traveled through my heart and lungs.” Jansen credits God for the fact that the survived 248 missions in Vietnam.
He was wounded the last time soon after returning from R&R. That led to his discharge in 1970. As a civilian Jansen found himself incensed by the government, protesters, and the media. “My anger was eating me up,” he writes. “Finally I came to my senses and told the Lord that I forgave everyone. The lesson was simple. Forgive everybody for everything, because God forgave us much more.”
In his early forties, however, Jansen found himself out of work and “the peace and joy I had known most of my life was evaporating.” He began to question why there is evil in the world, and had deeper thoughts about truth, evolution, and the place of science in the origin of the universe.
He found his answers in his strong Christian beliefs.