Advent 1970 – Sharing Our Stories On The Journey Of Faith – Advent Day 9


I missed Advent in 1970- almost all of it. I was in Southeast Asia as a USAF pilot flying a KC-135 air refueling plane. Our original orders had us returning home “sometime during the Holiday season”. Our commander said, “Why don’t we try to get these guys home for Christmas?”

During my tour, there wasn’t any thought of ‘anything church’. Personally my only touch with God was a daily prayer asking for safety for me, my crew, and all other service people.

English: Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker The USAF p...

So we find ourselves at the end of the runway at Hickham Air Force Base in Hawaii at 5:00 AM on 12/24- Christmas Eve day. The plane was full of fuel, our crew of 4, and 40 troops in the back that we were bringing home. The look on everyone’s faces could best be described as giddiness. The takeoff and climb to our assigned altitude was normal. We leveled off and prepared for what was supposed to have been about a 30 hour journey back home- Plattsburg AFB, New York.

The extra long trip was because of having to drop off half of the troops in Louisiana, go thru customs, refuel, and refile a new flight plan. After the stop in Louisiana, we had to fly to a base outside Atlanta and do all of the same stuff again before we could head home to Plattsburg.

So we are at 41,000 feet headed east when our navigator announced, “You’re not going to believe this but we just picked up a 165 knot tailwind”. We got to Louisiana 3 hours early. The customs guy came on board, took the paperwork, and said, “Merry Christmas”. Because of the tailwind, we didn’t need to refuel saving us another 3 hours. The wind followed us to Atlanta where we enjoyed the same good luck (3 more hours saved). The tailwind miracle continued as we turned north toward home. We called home base to tell them of our adjusted arrival time and landed at 9:00PM on Christmas Eve- 15 hours early.

What a reunion!

Because of this, my favorite Bible verse is Isaiah 40: 31- “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”

Buck Stultz

As Buck shared his story of the tailwind miracle, what thoughts of Christmas miracles stir in your heart?  Click ‘leave a comment’ to share your story.


About faithumchurch

Spiritual Formation Director at Faith United Methodist Church in North Canton, Ohio
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