North to Alaska - Fort Richardson
After years working behind a desk at Fort Monroe and installing a management-communications system in Europe, Tom once again found himself leading troops at Fort Richardson, near Anchorage, Alaska. In fact, he expected to finish his Army career in Alaska. He brought his family with him as they became a part of what many journalists began to call Alaska: "America's Last Frontier."
When Tom first got there, he was the Executive Officer (XO) of Fort Richardson, but in time, he went back to leading troops, his real military preference. Since his days at ROTC at Michigan State, he had been trained to lead troops and this was what he wanted to do. He immediately announced to his men that he was a Christian and that he would lead his troops based upon those Christian principles. In time, his men learned that he would be a firm, but fair officer. Many of them came to his office for the express purpose of learning how to be a Christian.
|Tom with Maule M-6|
The Lord also had other plans for Tom. For many years, he had developed a hobby flying airplanes. He even owned his own airplane. However, what he thought was going to be a lifelong hobby would soon become a ministry. As he honed his skills as a "bush pilot," he began to realize that he would need a plane specifically designed for the rough terrain of Alaska. His flight instructor in Alaska suggested he look into the Maule M-6 plane. He ordered one and a few months later, he flew to the Maule factory in Moultrie, Georgia where he picked up his plane. He then flew the plane back to Alaska, where he would begin a new career as a missionary pilot. He often took evangelists to very remote places so they could minister to people.
|Pastor Harold Stone|
One of his most memorable campaigns was working with the late Pastor Harold Stone of Wyola, Montana. Pastor Stone, like many Native Americans of the Crow Nation, was an alcoholic until the Lord touched his life in 1958. He turned his life around and received a calling to preach the gospel, both to his own Crow Nation, but also to the other tribes of the North. He came to Alaska and traveled to a number of remote places with Tom. Signs, wonders, and miracles appeared at all of the meetings, including restoring the life of a dead baby, along with many other healings. Many people received Christ and were filled with the Holy Spirit. Tom and many others could only marvel as what was written about in the first century was happening in the Alaskan Wilderness.
Tom would finish his career at Fort Monroe, refining the Army's communications/management system that he had developed years before. He also worked for the Coast Guard Auxiliary hunting down lost boats to maintain his flying skills. When it came time for Tom to end his military service, he moved back to Alaska to continue the missionary flying ministry the Lord assigned him.
His time in Alaska would come to an end when his wife, Rachel contracted Lou Gehrig's Disease and died. Little did Tom realize that the Lord was preparing him for even more important work. Click here to read, Love Finds the Major.