A Wounded Marine’s Passion for the Nations

By Donald McGilchrist

From as early as the extended days of prayer for the nations that Dawson Trotman undertook in 1931 in the hills above Loma Linda, California, Navigators had a vision for planting the Gospel in every country. World vision was the shorthand for reaching the nations—and it was preached with passion.

One example is Bob Boardman’s willingness to sacrifice after losing much of his voice from an injury as a US Marine in Okinawa. As he was carrying a disabled Marine, he was seriously wounded when a Japanese sniper’s bullet went through his throat and a finger.

Initially left for dead, Bob was later evacuated and given surgery in various naval hospitals in the United States, particularly in the Philadelphia Naval Hospital. From that time on, Bob’s voice was reduced to a hoarse whisper, which he jokingly called “Japanese laryngitis.

He heard God calling him back to Japan to spread the Gospel among his former enemies. One of Bob’s high school Bible classes was in the village next to where he was wounded. Bob remembers: “It was a wonderful privilege to go back with different weapons, different purposes and be right on the spot where the trauma took place in 1945.”



  1. Leon Alderman says:

    When I was stationed at NAF Misawa, Japan (1982-1983) I would visit Bob and Jean Boardman every three months for two years. Before my first visit, a Christian Reformed Church missionary asked me who I was visiting during my leave in Tokyo. “Bob Boardman” I replied. He responded: “Bob Boardman! He’s the most successful missionary in Japan. ” Bob Boardman was a reproducer! In 2006 I went back to Japan at the invitation of Bob as his traveling companion. We spent 10 days visiting various churches that had been planted by his men. I learned this lesson: If we disciple men, they’ll plant churches. If we plant churches we may not produce disciples Bob Boardman RIP September 2009.

    • navhistory says:

      Hi Leon, we are so glad to hear that the Boardman discipled you and that you got to travel with him. We would love to know more of your story! If you like, you can post that
      here. Thanks for reaching out!

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