Faith in God and a military career go hand-in-hand, according to local military men who serve God and country.
Marcus Young: Courtesy photo
Marcus Young, far right, of Cannon Air Force Base, with his wife, Emily, and two children, Ellen, 2, and Gray, 8 months, at a Texas Rangers' baseball game. Young said he and his wife's faith in God has kept his family strong and on firm ground during his times of deployment overseas.
"At this point in my life, I would be scared to see what I would have done with my life if I had not developed my close relationship with God," said Nick Sammons, a major in the 3rd Special Operations Squadron at Cannon Air Force Base. "I reflect on him every morning and I rely on prayers throughout the day sometimes to get me through what the military sometimes requires you to do."
Sammons and Marcus Young, a staff sergeant in the 373rd Training Squadron at Cannon, said they feel their relationship with God improves their work ethic, causing them to work even harder in what they do in the military every day.
"When you come to the realization that God is where he wants you to be, you have a much more positive attitude," Young said. "That's the biggest way it's had an impact on my career is I know I'm doing something bigger than myself and serving someone bigger than myself."
"It's not just to get a paycheck," he added. "It's to do something for the greater good. By being in the military, I feel like that's how I'm called to serve God."
Young said he feels his religious beliefs and the military tie directly into each other, because with the Air Force and God, there are times when he has to do what he is told and not ask why.
"You do something because you're asked to and you're not always going to know why," Young said of his faith and his career. "For me, they are directly intertwined. My career would not be what it has been up to this point without my faith."
"I would say choosing to serve and best align your life with God has a lot of intrinsic rewards, which helps further your understanding of who God is," Sammons said. "In that way, military service feeds into my Christian life."
Gary Piepkorn, pastor of Faith in Christ Lutheran in Portales, where Young attends, said his 19 years in the Air Force were rewarding and exciting, because as a chaplain, he was devoted to reminding Christian military members of their responsibility to serve God and country.
"Every person's sinful inclination is to think of self but a believer says there's much more here than self," Piepkorn said. "Serving God by serving your country is bigger than self. My job as chaplain was to teach and to remind them that their calling was bigger than self."
Piepkorn said Christian military members serve God first and serve the military because it is God's calling for them.
"For me personally, it was my job to do that and it was really rewarding to do that," Piepkorn said. "I got to serve God and the military by serving the people in the military."