Any special understanding I have acquired in this mortal journey was either gained or sparked by my experiences in nature. I felt closer to God when I was on a creek bank or a river than I ever did in church.
As a barefooted little hillbilly kid growing up in the Ozarks, I could most often be found down on some creek bank with a cane pole and a can of worms. I would lie there in the summer grass as night fell, gaze up into the stars, and I would wonder about the nature of all things, and about a God who lived up there somewhere in a place where it must always be summer and there were trees and streams and golden sunsets.
Many years later, while solo-canoeing the Yukon River, I watched a rainstorm skirt across my prow, followed by the most magnificent rainbow. It formed a perfect arch from one side of the river to the other. It was like the gateway to heaven and I was about to pass through it.
I was almost 60-years-old and on the verge of setting a world’s record by making the first transcontinental flight from San Diego to St.Mary’s, Georgia, in an ultralite aircraft known as a powered parachute. The sun was just coming up and painting the earth 2,000 feet below in a soft patina of reds and yellows and early-morning blues. There was a ground fog in pastels and the mighty Mississippi River reflected back the rising sun like a highway of pure gold. Surrounded by such splendor, I prayed silently for God to show me the right way in life. If He existed. Suddenly, I just knew. . .
God had been teaching me all these years, using the outdoors as his slate. . .
“Night Fighter is a trove of true adventure from the history of the late 20th Century, which Hamilton lived, from fighter pilot in the Korean War to UDT/SEAL missions, to operative for the CIA in Vietnam, Africa, Latin America and Europe, from the Pentagon to Foggy Bottom, and from the Cuban Missile Crisis to the Reagan White House’s Star Wars. . .”
From Night Fighter: An Insider’s Story of Special Ops from Korea to SEAL Team 6, by Captain William Hamilton and Charles W. Sasser. In hardback at all bookstores on 1 November. Pre-order now in hardback or e-book on Amazon, etc.