AS-201 The First

First place is what we try for in classes and on the athletic field. Always it is a dream to achieve a first place. It requires effort, a lot of effort. Just to be given a first place award without hard work makes it meaningless.

There will be so many opportunities in life to make first place. The most important is to be the first there when someone is hurting, in need… Maybe it is just a pat on the back at the exact moment needed. Look at first responders. Look at our military who may be the first to save a person or buddy.

Maybe being the first to tell the Truth in a group discussion. The award is given to you privately in the smile in your heart. Be the first to help someone see what is right and what is wrong…

I have been blessed with many of these.

I was also blessed on February 26, 1966 to be the first person to touch an Apollo spacecraft to return from space. It sounds silly, but, hey… it’s kinda cool. The Apollo went on to many lunar landings. It is the father of the new 2030 Mars-bound Orion program. It looks exactly like Apollo but 3 times larger. Orion will take 5 men to Mars and back. A year each way. They are crazy.

So when that happens, returns, and lands in the ocean I will be looking down… but not from a helicopter.

50 plus years prior AS-201 was launched from Cape Canaveral and sent into a sub-orbital trajectory to land 5000 miles away to me off Ascension Island in the South Atlantic. I remember the practices day and night. Jumping into the pitch black, alone in the ocean with the practice Apollo module upwind of me. No communications. The helo backed off 50 yards. I was to attach a parachute as a sea anchor to slow the drift so we could attach a stabilizing flotation collar. I was down 10 feet trying to deploy the parachute. It wouldn’t open as thought. Then I thought I saw a big shark. That is another story…

February 26 is also my granddaughter’s birthday. Go figure.

I run 2 unique Bible Studies. They are firsts in their own right. I have a tiny text church at 6 am every morning where I text a short scripture to over 100 people individually.

So when I copy/paste/send it is from me to one person.

I think of them at that moment.

Maybe another first??

Tiny Church?


Chris Bent, former Navy SEAL UDT-21, is the author of 13 books. Troubled by all the pain and injustice in the world he is driven to write in brief chapters that touch universal truths. Helping us search and find where we are meant to go. Helping us make a difference. Helping us not to quit. Hopefully.


  1. Gary Penn says:

    One on one beother…

  2. Lee E Lyon says:

    Thanks for sharing ! God Bless you .

  3. Kristen Diviney says:

    We love your books and we love you! You are a remarkable human being who has achieved so much- you are an inspiration ❤️

  4. Shari Ashkar says:

    Thank you Chris for sharing the gospel! God bless you and God bless America.

  5. Robert Fling says:

    Your unique experiences are inspirational nonetheless a reminder of just of once forgotten common sense

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