April 20, 1943. The Submarine USS Grenadier was discovered and attacked by the enemy, the Japanese. Onboard that night was our chapel speaker this past week, Tim McCoy, a Seaman First Class. Losing all power and lighting the submarine sank in 270 feet of water, sinking to the bottom of the sea with a fire burning in the control room. Using boy scout methods and all hands on board, they repaired the damaged submarine enough to raise it to the surface. That's where they were detected by a Japanese ship. His captain ordered all men to scuttle. Abandon the ship! Right into the hands of the Japanese. Taken prisoner onboard the Japanese ship and taken to Penang. Confined to two separate rooms at the Light Street Catholic Convert where the nuns were also held captive. These prisoners would carve their names on the door of the convent. The names are still there today. A memorial. The first 7 days---one spoonful of water total for each seaman. They had to stand at attention for 24 hours for those 7 days. When one would collapse, the other would pick him up and let them rest on their shoulder. Meanwhile the Commanding Officer went through waterboarding for those 7 days. Then enemy's intent: to strip him of any info he would give about America and its operations. Never did any of McCoy's troops divulge any information to the enemy, no matter what!
The torture continued for 4 months. Starvation. Beatings. Splinters driven up their nails. Pencils mashed with sledgehammer force between their knuckles and toes. The only food for four months was one cup of uncooked rice in 120 days. They went from strapping young men to under 100 pounds each. Some died of starvation. One fell into a trance, the pain was so overwhelming---his name was George Snyder. He began hallucinating about food, the good life.
I spoke with McCoy after Chapel and asked what was the difference in subsequent wars where so many do not embrace the same philosophy of being an overcomer. He shared with me: "To forgive is to set a prisoner free, only to find out you were the prisoner." I always tell myself: FIDO… "Forget it and drive on." No one can help you like God can.
McCoy remained in the Navy and was commissioned as an Ensign, and retired as Lieutenant after 24 years of active duty. He went back to the submarine, his friend. We celebrate this veteran!
Beautiful chapel message. His name is carved on the wall of the Convent in Malaysia. His brave story is engraved on a Navy tablet which time will not efface. And His God has engraved His Name Forever on the palm of His Hands. Isaiah 49:16. And McCoy's words have sunk into Hyde Park hearts - Psalm 51:6. Forgive.
I told him, with tears falling down my cheeks. God is the Lifter of your head. Then. And Now! Psalm 3:3.
God Bless America! God Bless our Veterans!