Roy Suttles

Testimony of Veteran and Brother in Christ, Roy Suttles

These are a just a few of many stories yet to be told, as recorded by an admiring niece, Kay Ballinger Fowler

Our Papa and Granny Suttles really believed in prayer. We watched them practice it daily.  You could hear Granny all over the house as she prayed.  Their son, Roy joined the navy and served in WWII and the Korean War.  Their prayers followed him into the Atlantic and the Pacific and safely brought him back home.  The following stories are a few examples of the power of praying Godly parents.

     Roy remembers one incident when he was on an aircraft carrier working on the bow of the ship’s deck.  Sometimes the planes that landed would have a “hung rocket” (one that didn’t deploy).  Someone yelled “hung rocket.” He looked up and saw a rocket that had come loose from the belly of the plane as it was landing and was sliding down the deck towards him.  He and his buddy dove over the side of the ship, thinking they were diving into the ocean where they probably would never have survived, but instead they landed in a safety net under the main deck.  They were safe, and the rocket skidded on past and over the deck into the ocean.

     Once, Roy was working as a plane mechanic on a ship in a South Pacific harbor. He remembered the time four depth charges had gotten jammed up under the wings of a plane.  The sea planes having returned from their missions would land in the harbor and tie up to the buoys lining the harbor.  Here they would refuel.  It was Roy’s job to crawl out on the wing to the fuel tank for refueling.  One particular time as he was crawling out to the wing he heard his fellow sailors yelling.  The motor launch that had brought him out to this plane had suddenly sped away to the far shore.  Well, he crawled back out of the plane and yelled, “Hey you guys!  What are you doing over there?  Come back and get me.”   They hollered back to him saying, “Look!”  So he turned and looked up under the wing.  There he could see 4 depth charges that had jammed and were just a couple of inches away from falling from their nest.  An explosion could happen at any second.  The sailors yelled, “Be ready to jump in the boat.  We are only going to slow a little and swing by to get you.”  Roy leaped from the wing to the boat, narrowly avoiding being blown to kingdom come.

     Another time, Roy remembered being the flight engineer on a flight from Athens, Greece to North Africa.  The fog was so thick they couldn’t get high enough to get over it or low enough to get under it. Now lost, they flew low over the road to see if they could read the signs, but they couldn’t see anything.  They finally got in touch with a Libyan air field.  They said, “You must land! You’ve come this far, you have to be out of fuel.”  When they were able to land they put in the dip stick to check the fuel level.  They had 50 gallons remaining. The pilot looked at Roy and said, “How can this be?  You were ordered only to put in so much.”  Roy replied, “I always put in 100 gal extra for “me and my family.”   That plane would have spun into the ocean if he had not done so.

     Once in WWII he was flying in a sea plane.  It was a beautiful night with a bright full moon.  They needed to land.  The moon was shining on the river which was at the end of the runway.  The river looked like the runway.  They touched down and almost landed in the river.  They touch down at the very end of the runway where there were large runway lights every 2 feet.  The plane skidded and bounced left to right, left to right, each time it hit a light.  He expected the plane to flip over at any moment.  When they finally stopped, they checked the plane.  There were not any holes, nor scratches, after hitting all those lights!

     Uncle Roy had a friend that was on the cruiser Indianapolis.  The ship was torpedoed and sank.  2000 men went into the water, five days later there were only 100 that survived. The sharks came every day and night.  But his friend made it to shore, floating on a piece of scrap from the ship.  When that sailor got to the states he became a preacher and so did his son.  But Roy’s ship had to retrieve the bodies that floated to the top of the water.  The only place to keep all the bodies was the freezer where their food was kept.  He said that he couldn’t eat for a whole week.

In 1967.  Roy was back in the states living in Springfield, Mass.  He had developed bleeding ulcers. At 4:00 in the morning, he awoke to excruciating pain.  He realized the ulcers must be perforated.  He somehow made it to the military hospital.  They thought he was dying and put him in a back room.  He was doubled over in pain and could not straighten up.  At 8:00 another doctor came in to see him and ordered x-rays.  Roy was ready to give up.  The pain was so great that he didn’t want to live.  The doctor immediately took him to surgery, opened him from top to bottom and there discovered gangrenous peritonitis.  They inserted many tubes to begin draining all the infection out.  The doctors had little hope that he would live.  Then he developed a high fever and went into a coma.  When he finally awoke, the doctor told Roy the bad news. They had given him a pig stomach and esophagus transplant; but it hadn’t worked.  He had no chance of living.  As the doctor pushed him over in a corner out of the way, he left to call Roy’s Mama to come to get his body.  When she got the phone call, she called Pastor Jim Lee.  Together they went to Massachusetts.  Roy woke up with Jim Lee and his Mama leaning over him.  The nurse, shocked to see Roy awake, ran to get the doctor.  As the doctor hurried in Roy said, “Hey Doc, is it alright if I go down to the lounge?  I’ve got company.”  As the doctor stared in disbelief he replied, “Well we’d better wait a day or two.”  The patient across the hall said, “Man! When that preacher came in the door you could hear him all over the hospital!  Man, he was praying!  And the next thing we knew you were talking!”  Roy fully recovered and he still has the pig stomach.

     Roy had been out of the navy for 2 years and was living in Norfolk, Va.  He was working in a factory that rebuilt planes (planes that he had flown). One day he felt he was coming down with the flu or pneumonia and went to sick bay.  After examining him, they determined it was pneumonia and put him in the hospital.  At the hospital they discovered that he had tuberculosis instead.  He had to make arrangements for his wife to bring some clothes to the hospital because he was preparing to go into quarantine.  His children and wife had to take shots.  The quarantine unit turned out to be an old trailer (not fit for dogs to live in much less humans) with one doctor and one nurse.  So he settled in for what turned out to be 3 months.  Every day he would wash in disinfectant; gown up with mask and walk across the hallway to the examining room.  The doctor would test deeplyinto his throat to see what kind of TB he had.  After 3 months they determined what kind he had and what medicine it would take to fight it.  Then they gave him a list of TB hospitals to choose where he wanted to be treated.  Luckily, there was one in Oteen, N.C. not far from his home town of Arden.  They offered to take him in an ambulance but he declined.  Instead his dad and brother Wilburn came after him.  He started out wearing a mask but his brother made him take it off.  When they arrived in Oteen at the hospital, Roy’s daddy told him, “Branch Bishop (a prayer warrior, man of God at their church) said to tell you that when you got to Oteen hospital they won’t find TB.”  Well, 6-8 hours later after examining him, the doctor said, “We see the scars where you had it, but you don’t have it now.”  God had worked a healing miracle just like the man of God said.

     There was a time in his life when Roy FELT he had really given his all to the Lord.  But then he heard a voice say, “You are living for the devil.”  Roy responded, “What? That can’t be!  I’ve given up drinking, smoking, and carousing with women.  I AM living for the Lord.”  For 2 solid weeks he wept and prayed day and night.  Finally peace and the realization came that just because he had “quit sinning” and started going to church, he had not experienced salvation nor fulfilled the command: “Ye must be born again.”  He HAD been living for the devil.  But after getting it right, he now belongs to the Lord.

     While in Biloxi, Miss. Roy developed severe pain in his hip.  He could hardly walk.  So he went in for x-rays and an MRI.  It took all day long.  He started at 8:00 am and was on the way home at 9:00 pm.  The thought of “bone cancer” came to him strongly.  He said, “God we’ve got to talk about this.  I’m going to have to call on you for help for my healing.”  He just went on talking to Him.  Suddenly he realized that the pain was gone.  Oh! He got so excited.  Such joy flooded over him.  He just went on praising Him on his way home.  Two weeks later, he went back and found that the cancer had gone all the way around the hip.  But it had stopped right where the pain had been at the very moment he called on the Lord. The cancer had STOPPED in its tracks and he never had another pain.

     Later, Roy had prostate cancer surgery.  Although the doctor considered the surgery a success, he told Roy that the cancer was throughout his body.  Roy started taking shots, which were extremely painful and administered in the stomach.  Roy then moved to the coast and had to have more shots in the stomach.  One day he felt so strongly, “Stop taking the shots! God can heal me.”  On the next trip to the doctor’s office, he said, “Doc I ain’t taking the shots anymore.  I’m finished.”  The doctor said, “I’ll have to do radical surgery.”  “Well whatever, you have to do, but I’m through.” he said.  The doctor then said, “Well, come every 3 weeks and we’ll test you.”  The very next visit, his blood test was almost normal.  In 3 more weeks the blood test was normal.  The cancer was gone. Praise the Lord!