Bob Clemens served as the navigator on a crew flying B-17s over Germany in 1944 & 1945. He talks about his experience and his faith journey: What did he learn from his military service? And why does he feel called now to disciple inmates in a maximum security prison?
There’s wisdom found along the way from a ‘seasoned veteran’ as we hear a moving testimony of service to God & country. Here’s an overview of our chat:
Bob enlisted in November of 1942, while the war raged in Europe and the Pacific. He was trained as a flight navigator and says he was awed by how effective his training was.
He deployed to Italy in June of 1944 and proceeded to fly about fifty bombing missions over continental Europe with his B-17 crews. Though he says it was a very difficult, dangerous experience, he was aided by his preparation – and by lessons instilled in him by his mom.
His combat service continued until September 12th of 1945. He was on a training mission in Texas when he learned the war had ended.
These days, Bob and wise wife live in the Twin Cities and attend First Evangelical Lutheran Church, where he’s been a member since 1930.
God has led him on a remarkable ministry path, offering his volunteer services with Minnesota Department of Corrections since 1980. Bob leads Bible studies and ministers to inmates. He notes with a smile that,
“They threw a little celebration for me on my 90th birthday in prison.”
So on days like Veterans Day, how can we effectively bless and encourage our service men and women and service veterans? Bob says that a verbal thank you goes a long way, and that a written note can also be very meaningful. He also encourages us to offer special thanks to the families and spouses of service members. Their sacrifice is remarkable.