Larkin Spivey Finding Faith In War

Thursday, December 25, 2014

A Christmas Message from the Past

Corvettes were small naval vessels used in convoy escort duty during World War II.  They were smaller than destroyers and had even fewer amenities for the crew.  The quarters were cramped, and the ride was rough, especially in the North Atlantic during the winter months.  Frank Curry spent several years on board the Canadian Navy corvette, HMCS Kamback, operating out of Newfoundland and Nova Scotia.  After a rough at-sea period the Kamback returned to port on December 24.  Curry described his first shipboard Christmas and the brief opportunity to relax for a day:

Christmas Day—and what a day.  My first one aboard a ship, but, from the looks of things, not my last.  Up at 0800 (among our rare gifts, and a most welcome change).  We hosed down the decks and cleaned ship.  Decorated our mess decks and tied a small Christmas tree to the masthead—apparently another old, old tradition of the sea.  I got feeling pretty merry on the punch which the Old Man fixed personally in the seaman’s messdeck.  We had a tremendous dinner—all the officers in a very congenial mood for a change—they were almost human. 

In our modern world it is easy to lose appreciation for simple pleasures.  On this Christmas day during wartime, this seaman didn’t receive a lot of extra benefits.  Sleeping late, a special punch, and a good meal were about all there was.  The ship still had to be cleaned in spite of the occasion.  Still, these little amenities were appreciated and made this a special day. 
            It would be well if we could also do less during the Christmas season and enjoy the simple pleasures of our family and the Christmas story.  It has unfortunately become trite to say that we need to ‘put Christ back into Christmas.’  Nevertheless, this is the only way that we will ever simplify this increasingly turbulent time of year.  Our entire purpose should be to focus on the Christ child and the beauty of his story: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son” (John 3:16).

The word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.  We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.  (John 1:14)

This story is from Battlefields & Blessings: Stories of Faith and Courage from World War II, Dec. 24, p. 430.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Knights of Malta Investiture

Knights of the Order of St. John, Knights of Malta
International Headquarters:
700 S. Dixie Hwy., West Palm Beach, Florida 33401

News Release  October 15, 2014:
South Carolinian Knighted

On September 25, 2014, Lt. Col. Larkin Spivey U. S. Marine Corps (Ret.) was invested as a Knight of Malta at the Grand Master’s Palace in Rhodes, Greece. The Palace is one of the Order’s historic headquarters and is now a World Heritage Site. Eight other persons from the United States, Canada, and France were knighted during the historic ceremony, which has been performed in essentially the same manner for almost 1,000 years.

Lt. Col. Spivey was elected to the Order based on his distinguished military career in the United States Marine Corps and his present occupation as a Christian writer and speaker. He has written six books about God’s providential hand in American history and the power of faith among the men and women who have fought America’s wars. His work has been recognized by the Military Writers Society of America and the Stars and Flags Book Awards. His most recent book, A Skeptic’s Guide to God, features a forward by Maj. Gen. John Grinalds, past president of The Citadel.Spivey is a Citadel graduate and former Regimental Commander of the Corps of Cadets. He now resides in Myrtle Beach with his wife of forty three years, Lani, and their extended family.

When asked about this event, Spivey commented, “This is one of the great honors of my life. However, the Knights of Malta are not so much about bestowing honors as they are about strengthening the body of Christ in support of the Order’s worldwide humanitarian activities and its mission of defending the Christian faith.”

Officially titled the Knights Hospitallers of the Sovereign Order of St. John of Jerusalem, Knights of Malta, The Ecumentical Order, the organization is headquartered in West Palm Beach, Florida under the direction of Prince Grand Master Nicholas F. S. Papanicalaou. To learn more about the Knights, visit


Friday, July 4, 2014

Hot Off the Press!

A Skeptic's Guide to God has been released and is now available on Hopefully, it will be in bookstores soon. My website will be updated within a few days to explain more about the book. As you may infer from the title, it was written for other skeptics like myself who think they can figure out the answers to life's most important questions through their own intellectual effort. If you are someone who disdains organized religion and seeks your own truths in your own way, I hope you will give this book a try. It is not expensive! If you are a believer but know someone like I am describing, this book might be a great gift.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Names

Jan Scruggs was the man who conceived the VietnamVeterans Memorial. Late one night in 1979 he was unable to sleep thinking of friends lost during the Vietnam War. He was suddenly struck by the realization that no one knew the names of these men other than himself. He resolved to build a memorial listing the names of every person that was killed. After years of effort on his part and that of many others, the memorial was finally completed in 1982. Its most distinctive feature has always been the ‘Wall,’ with a complete listing of the names of over 58,000 men and women killed in Vietnam, in chronological order of death.
On April 16,2014 I visited the Wall while on the last Honor Flight from Myrtle Beach. I had time to locate the name of one of my best friends from long ago, Judd Spainhour. His name appears in the center of the photo above. It is a name, along with others, that I will never forget. It is a name that succeeding generations of his family will never forget. We know from Scripture that it is also a name God will remember forever. On this Memorial Day, I pray that our nation will not forget Judd Spainhour and the other gallant men and women who have served our nation—especially, those who never came home.
Before I was born the Lord called me; from my birth he has made mention of my name. ~Isaiah 49:1
He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. ~John 10:3

Saturday, April 19, 2014

An American Hero

On April 16, 2014 the last Honor Flight from Myrtle Beach, SC took a group of World War II and Korean War veterans to Washington, DC to tour the war memorials. It was my privilege to escort Jack Reed, pictured here, during this trip. Jack is a long-time friend and respected member of my church, and it was a privilege to spend time with him learning about his wartime experiences. He served during World War II in a small ship called an LCI (for Landing Craft Infantry)in the Pacific theater. This was the smallest naval vessel that plied the oceans and was a rough ride most of the time. By the end of the war Jack's original crew of twenty was down to three. His most memorable campaign was at Leyte Gulf, so we took the picture where this action is commemorated in the World War II Memorial. As usual the Honor Flight team, led by Walter and Angela Kollet, did a superior job of organizing a great trip, and countless people gathered along the way and upon our return to pay homage to these great men and women.