Special Forces Association
Chapter XXIII - 23
The Rucksack


Over my 34 years of service I’ve carried my combat essential gear in about a half-dozen different rucksacks. Our lives are very much like a rucksack. We change size or the contents as our life’s mission or goals change. What we put into it can determine whether we’ll enjoy life or be miserable, whether we live long lives or shorten them. What we put into it demonstrates to others what our priorities are. As soldiers, what we put into it or leave out can determine the success or failure of our mission. We can apply this principle to our spiritual life as well as our military life. Common sense and prior experience or the experiences of others helps us follow a packing list that weeds out the non-essentials and lightens our loads. For the Christian that packing list is found in the Word of God – The Bible. It includes such items as courage, honesty, a servant’s heart, integrity in all things, personal sacrifice, and a commitment to trust in and follow Jesus Christ unconditionally.

When one is committed into the combat zone all you have is your weapon, LBE, and your ruck. For the Christian the weapon of choice is God’s written word. The LBE represents the bare essentials we need to maintain our relationship with God through Jesus Christ and our fellow soldiers, as we pursue the mission God has for each of our lives. Our ruck is a heart and life transformed by our trust in Christ alone.

Once you pick up your ruck you are committed. You can be a millionaire like Pat Tillman or the heir apparent to the throne of England but that has no meaning once you go charging out of the trenches. Your only meaningful possessions are what you have wisely or unwisely chosen for your ruck so hopefully you’ve chosen well. Even with careful planning we still need to learn to get rid of or add stuff as we go – fine tuning or making adjustments in our lives.

Lack of pre-planning can have serious consequences. Forget extra dry socks or gloves in winter operations can be costly. The Rangers in Somalia paid a heavy price and needless suffering because they underestimated their rescue mission and plunged into Mogadishu with out adequate water, NVG’s, and back-up. Lack of pre-planning in our relationship to God can find us in our own Mogadishu without a hall pass into Heaven into His presence when this life plays out its years.

One of the greatest or most costly errors we can make in our brief life is to forget or fail to recognize that life is really a combat zone with Satan and his henchmen showering us with black and gray sugarcoated propaganda with Jesus Christ confronting us with white propaganda or better – the TRUTH. One leads to eternal death and the latter leads to abundant life and ultimate victory.

Keep your rucksack packed, light and ready and He will not only “supply all your needs” but He will always lead the way.


Chaplain Col. Vahan Sipantzi
26972 Lower Pleasant Ridge Rd.
Wilder, ID  83676
(208) 482-7495