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Lloyd Childers during the battle of Midway in June 1942

My family has a strong military background. My paternal grandfather, Fred Childers, experienced the horror of war as a combat medic in World War I. All three of his sons followed him in military service to their country. His oldest two sons, my uncles Lloyd and Wayne, served in the Navy and Marines and fought in the historic Battle of Midway. His youngest son, my father Lee, served in the Air Force and flew in the Berlin Airlift.

I want to begin by paying tribute to my uncle, Lloyd Childers (1921-2015), who died less than 4 years ago. Lloyd was a true World War II hero, receiving the distinguished Flying Cross and the Purple Heart for his heroism as a tail-gunner in a torpedo plane of the USS Yorktown at the Battle of Midway. But, like most heroes, he would just say he was doing his job.

This brief video excerpt below is taken from hours of his video testimony, when he was 85 years old, now archived and made available to the public at the Digital Collections of the World War II Museum.

In this video, Lloyd Childers describes in great detail what it was like to be in air combat against the Japanese Zero fighters during the Battle of Midway. After clearing anti-aircraft fire from a Japanese destroyer, two Japanese Zero fighters began attacking his plane at the same time. He was gravely wounded, shot twice in his left thigh and once in his right ankle, shattering the bones. Then his machine gun jammed.

Childers looked out of his plane directly into the eyes of a Japanese pilot. He stood up in the cockpit, pulled out his 45 caliber pistol, aimed at the Japanese pilot, and opened fire.

The plane dropped out of sight. Then the engine of his plane was hit and the pilot, Harry, told him they were not going to make it back to the aircraft carrier. Harry was killed in combat later.

Lloyd Childers as a combat instructor in 1955

Of 12 torpedo planes, his was one of two planes from his squadron to survive the attack on the Japanese and make its way back to the American fleet. His plane was so damaged it could not land on a carrier and ditched next to the USS Monaghan. Childers was later transferred to another ship for emergency medical treatment where he witnessed the sinking of the USS Yorktown from the sickbay.

After World War II, he was commissioned as a Marine officer and assigned to fly combat missions in the Korean war in 1950 – 1951. He was re-trained as a helicopter pilot and was later deployed to the Belgian Congo for humanitarian assistance in 1959.

After the Korean War, Childers commanded a Marine helicopter squadron in 1965 and 1966 in Vietnam. It was there he led the first successful night troop landing in a “Hot Landing Zone” where his helicopter was under fire from the enemy. In Vietnam he received the Legion of Merit as well as his second Distinguished Flying Cross.

After retiring from the military he earned a Master’s degree in education and a Ph.D. in higher education in order to serve at Chapman College in Orange, California until his final retirement.

He became the sole protector and provider for his little brother, my father, teaching him to be a warrior too.

Childers learned to be a warrior from an early age. Sadly, he came from a broken home, where his parents divorced when he was 10 years old, leaving him and his two younger brothers on the street to fend for themselves. He became the sole protector and provider for his little brother, my father, teaching him to be a warrior too.

I am deeply grateful for the life and service of my uncle Lloyd, and for all veterans who have sacrificed for our liberty. Freedom is not free.

Click this link below to watch Lloyd Childers’ first-hand account (7 minutes) of what it was like to be a tail-gunner in the historic Battle of Midway.

Credit: The Digital Collections of the National WWII Museum

Church members praying at Early Rain Church in Chengdu, China before widespread persecution and imprisonment began on 12/9/2018.

Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body. Hebrews 13:3

On December 9th, 2018, Chinese authorities arrested more than 100 members of Early Rain Covenant Church (秋雨圣约教会) in Chengdu, China. Some members were interrogated at the police station and then released, while others were imprisoned.

Please pray for Pastor Wang Yi and his wife Jiang Rong, who were charged with “inciting to subvert state power” and taken to secret locations, where they are still in prison. Please also pray for Elder Li Yingqiang (Elder Timothy), who was charged with “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” and is still in prison.

Pastor Wang Yi 王怡 (inciting to subvert state power, in secret detention)

王怡牧师(煽动颠覆国家政权罪,秘密关押)

Pastor’s wife Jiang Rong 蒋蓉 (inciting to subvert state power, 12/10/18, in secret detention)

蒋蓉师母(煽动颠覆国家政权罪,2018年12月10日,秘密关押/指定监视居住)

Elder Li Yingqiang (Elder Timothy) 李英强 (picking quarrels and provoking trouble)

李英强长老(寻衅滋事罪


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Early Rain Church Elder Li Yingqiang Wang Yi and his wife Zhang Xinyue

Editor’s note: Zhang Xinyue, the wife of persecuted Early Rain Church elder and school headmaster Li Yingqiang (Elder Timothy), in prison since December 2018, wrote him this personal letter of encouragement. 

To read Zhang Xinyue’s first letter to her husband the night after he was arrested in December 2018, Click Here.


“Dear honey,

Today I just have one thing to tell you, only a few sentences. Being imprisoned for the Lord and suffering for righteousness’ sake are good things. Go in peace and do what you need to do. Regardless of whether you are there for two years or three years or eight years or ten years, we will wait for you. We will joyfully wait for you.

Last night the children asked me, “How can we let Daddy know that we are okay and that he doesn’t need to worry about us?”

“The angels will tell him.”

I love you! Keep it up.

Your wife

April 30, 2019”


Early Rain Church elder and school headmaster Li Yingqiang (Elder Timothy) with Steve Childers in China 3 days before he was taken into custody (December 7, 2018).


We help under-served church leaders
develop churches that transform lives and communities.
Pathway Learning