On April 29, 1946, Melvin Rudolph made a decision. He decided he to join the Army. There was only one problem. He was 13 years old.
Through a series of deceptive maneuvers, Melvin was able to complete his physical, forge signatures from his parents, and have his entrance papers notarized. The Army sent the Chicago native to Fort Sheridan in Illinois, for induction and assignment.
After Melvin went to his barracks, he called his parents and told them the news. Predictably, his mother was very upset and began to cry. Melvin did not allow her emotion to deter him, however, and after a few days at Fort Sheridan, the Army shipped Melvin to Texas.
Basic training began and Melvin was assigned to San Antonio Army Airfield. Basic training was difficult because Melvin was not as strong as the other men. Yet, he persisted.
Then one day, during his second month of training, Melvin was ordered to report to the commanding officer. The officer told him, “You are Melvin Rudolph and we know you are 13 years old.”
Tired of lying, Melvin simply confessed, “Yes sir.”
The commanding officer said, “Your mother wants you home as soon as possible.” Discharge papers were processed, and Melvin was sent home. Still, he received an honorable discharge.
The next year, Melvin graduated from the eighth grade. At age 15, he joined the Illinois National Guard. At age 18, Melvin once again joined the U.S. Army. He was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division infantry division and served in both Korea and Japan. At last, he was able to do what he sought to do all along – serve his country.
I am amazed Melvin’s commitment to service in our country’s army. Although he did not show much discernment, he showed unbelievable courage. Clearly his actions demonstrated commitment.
Paul, in Ephesians chapter six, verses 10 and following, tells us we are fighting in a spiritual war. Oh, that more of us would have Melvin’s yearning when it comes to serving in the Lord’s army.