Captain Kim Campbell was a veteran pilot in the A-10 Fighter Squadron that had already sped through a dust storm before they burst down upon enemy positions, firing each Warthog’s 30mm, seven-barrel Gatling gun and anti-tank missiles, working to assist ground troops in Baghdad.
“In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears.” —Psalm 18:6
Just after Kim turned her Warthog toward home base, she heard a large explosion in the back of the aircraft. The A-10 had been struck by a surface-to-air missile. Hundreds of shrapnel holes were in the fuselage and tail. The jet immediately began pulling toward the ground. As caution lights flashed all around, she realized the hydraulic system was out.
“When you lose hydraulics, you don’t have brakes and steering,” she explained. Kim had to instantly switch to “manual inversion,” using a system of cranks and cables, to fly the aircraft. Fortunately, the A-10 responded and climbed up and out.
“The trip back to Kuwait was one of the longest hours of my life,” she said. As a seasoned pilot, Kim knew that few had ever attempted, and fewer still had survived, a manual landing of such a severely damaged Warthog; however, she executed a nearly perfect landing, employing emergency braking techniques to bring the damaged A-10 to a stop.
Among the letters she received about the flight was a thank-you note, written on a napkin and addressed to her and her fellow Warthog pilots by the ground troops in Iraq. “When you get a note from somebody saying, ‘If you’d been a few minutes late, I wouldn’t be here now,’ that’s what it’s all about,” she said.
It is a privilege anytime we are allowed to see the fruit of our lives. We will never know, on this side of Heaven, how many lives we have touched, but today, sow seeds for that great day.
STRONG TOWER, there have been so many times in my life where the circumstances looked grim and I wasn’t sure I would make it, but You came through every time and gave me the strength to stand. May I grow in those long hours of my own life to trust You more.