The story of Joel Russell’s near-mortal wound and journey of faith that followed is told in Escaping Death’s Sting: A Combat Marine’s Life Story (ISBN: 978-1-60911-019-2, published 2010 Strategic Book Group www.EscapingDeathsSting.com, 320 pages, $28.50).
Near-death was not the only sting faced by Russell in his life. At age 4 he was nearly crushed to death, and at age 10 was brutally raped and threatened with death. As a new Marine he was framed and spent time in custody, delaying his completion of boot camp.
After arriving in Vietnam, Russell’s unit faced heavy enemy fire and went from 250 men to 75 in less than four hours. At Khe-Sanh he was hit by enemy mortar shrapnel and felt his life slipping away. Russell made a promise to return to God if his life was spared. Later, during a “burning bush” encounter with God in 1993 Russell was commanded by God to share his spiritual testimony in a book — published as Escaping Death’s Sting.
“God kept His part of the deal and expected me to keep mine, but it did take awhile,” says Russell. “The heavenly visitation in 1993, that I call my ‘burning bush’ experience, was so real to me that it absolutely changed my life. When I awoke, my sheets were wet from sweat because of all the weeping and wailing I had done. I was so awed — I’m sure as much as Moses was.”
After returning from Vietnam, Russell suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and the disappointment felt by all Vietnam returnees about the lack of a welcome home by Americans. For years Russell suffered from delusions, was alarmed by firecrackers or fireworks, had trouble sleeping, and suffered from flashbacks.
“Nam had forever changed me,” says Russell. “The biggest change in me was that now I was hardened inside. I had to be this way to survive. People had been getting blown away all around me, and other guys were going insane. I kept pushing what I saw and experienced deep down inside of me.”
News contact: Book Publicist Scott Lorenz of Westwind Communications Book Marketing 734-667-2090 or email@example.com