Ready To Die

 RTD7  Sgt Allen James Dunkley RTD7

Sgt. Allen James Dunckley

          March 8, 1982 - May 14, 2007            

     His wife called  him "Renaissance Man". James Dunckley was first a Marine Sgt. and later an Army Sgt. He was a patriot and a military man, a loving husband, a devoted father, a counselor and a confidant to young people. He was medaled in black belt karate, a martial arts and self-defense teacher. He loved young people and they loved him. He brought joy and laughter wherever he went.


     Death held no fear for James. His motto was "Ready to die". Why was he not afraid of death? This began with a decision as a boy.


      James memorized Romans 3:23, "For all have sinned and come short of the  glory of God." One morning he came to his mother saying, "Mom, I am a sinner, and I know that I am going to hell. I need Jesus." That day he repented of his sins, and asked Jesus to be his Savior. He received what God promises in Romans 6:23. "The  wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our  Lord".


     At age 14 he decided on the motto "Ready to die". He shortened it to RTD 7, seven being God's number. At 17, prompted by some parents, he started a self-defense class for teens who were being bullied in school. The first night of class, he told them that the only way to be a fearless fighter was to unafraid of death and be "Ready to die". James used the biblical example of, his hero, King David.  David was a fearless warrior who was not afraid of death, pain or loneliness. He told them that they could be a fearless warrior like King David if they knew the secret to overcoming fear.

FEARLESS AND "Ready to Die"


What was James' secret to overcoming fear?"Fear not them which kill the body; but are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in Hell" (Matthew 10:28). James shared that fear comes from one of three sources:


     The Fear of Death - the remedy for fearing death is salvation in Christ. The Bible says, "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23).


     The Fear of Loneliness - the remedy for loneliness is the promise of God's presence. "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. ...we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me" (Hebrews 13:5,6).


     The Fear of Pain - the remedy for pain is having God's strength. "My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever" (Psalm 73:26).


     A warrior who has no fear of pain, death, or loneliness is a valiant soldier. He can go into battle unafraid because he is "Ready to die". Christ is willing to give anyone that source of strength.  


     When 9/11 happened, it changed the world and James' life. He was 19 and he joined the Marines. He wanted to fight terrorism and keep his family and country safe.


     In September  of 2002, James was married, and by January of 2003, he was in Iraq and in battle. James was a marine scout reporting on enemy actions and he was in most of the major firefights. This tour he came through unscathed with his unit receiving a special medal, the Presidential Unit Citation.


     Soon after returning home that May, he informed his family that he and his wife were expecting a baby. Becoming a father excited him, but there was also sadness. His unit would be in Afghanistan when the baby would be born in March.




     But James did not make Afghanistan. He had a more personal battle to fight. On Christmas day, three months early, his son was born. Weighing only two pounds, Joshua was in intensive care for almost nine months. James was stationed near Joshua helping him fight for his life. Based on God's Word, James had a certainty that if Joshua died, they would be together again in Heaven. This certainty gave James and his wife the strength they needed to see Joshua through the battle for life.


     That Thanksgiving James penned these lines, "Besides the normal things that everyone is thankful for, I am thankful for the things most people are not: rain, hurt, pain, and death. The Lord has shown me the beauty of these things. Until you are truly happy with the bad, you can never really appreciate and be thankful for the good." 


      Now James' four years in the Marines were done. He was home with his family, but he felt that his job as a soldier was not done. After much consideration and prayer he reenlisted, but in the Army. Once again he was Sgt. James Dunckley, back in Iraq, this time serving as a sniper, and then later as a squad leader.


     During Operation Beach Yellow the enemy opened fire, and in the ensuing fire fight, James was shot through the heart. He was found dead. In an instant he stepped from the presence of the enemy to the presence of the Lord. The men serving with him were devastated. They said he was always calm and cool under fire, concerned about his men, and always using humor to break the tension.


     James was ready to be with his Lord. Because he was sure of his eternal destination, death held no fear for him. He told his wife that if anything were to happen to him, no one was to wear black at his funeral. He was going to be rejoicing in heaven, and he didn't want anyone on earth sorrowing for him.


     Over a thousand people came to his funeral. The church was filled with people, young and old, military and civilian. All were people befriended, counseled, led, taught and loved by him. All of these lives were touched by a man who was "Ready to Die".


     James' purpose in serving his country is best expressed in his own words: “The one thing I believe in, above all else is love. I love my Savior, my family, my  freedom, and my friends. Most people view love as a word of emotion. I view love as an act of commitment. My act of love is my service in the military protecting and preserving all the things I believe in most, so that my children, family, and friends can enjoy true freedom. I’ve seen war first hand, and have met people that have never known any of the freedoms we take for granted and I never want that for the people I care for most. Semper-Fi."




     As the parents of this young soldier, we would like to share with you the same message we shared with our son so many years ago. You don't have to be afraid. You don't have to be lonely. God loves you very much and has laid out a plan of hope. You can be "Ready to die"  like James if you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior.


     You must start where James did, knowing you are a sinner. Each of us has made choices that have fallen short of what God would have us to do.  Lying, cheating, stealing, anger, jealousy, immoral sexual behavior, cursing God, and other sinful acts all come easily to people. Because we are sinners and God is holy, God has to separate Himself from us. Because of God’s love for us, He created a plan to restore our relationship to Him. That plan was Jesus Christ. He was sent to earth to die as payment for our sins, and to live again that we might have eternal life with Him. The Bible says, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16). "God commendeth His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:6,8). "He bore our sins in His body on the tree."  (I Peter 2:23).

Now that our sins are paid for by the death and resurrection of Christ, what you have to do is believe that what Christ did for you was real. By faith you must accept His amazing gift of love that was given to you by Jesus Christ, and tell Him that you want Him to change your sinful ways. The Bible says in Ephesians 2:8-9 "For by grace are you saved through faith. And that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast".

We know that we will see our son again in heaven, we want to see you there, also.  You can receive Jesus Christ as your Savior and be forgiven right now.  You do this by turning your back on your sinful ways, and placing your faith in Jesus and in the sin payment He made for you when He died on Calvary’s cross.  Christ conquered death, pain, and loneliness, so that you could conquer the fear of them, and have eternal life.  You can talk to Him right now. Just tell Him in your own words that you know that you do not meet His standard of holiness, that you are sorry for all the wrong things that you have done, and that you want to leave your sinful ways and follow Him.  Ask Him to forgive you. Tell Him that you believe that Jesus is God. Thank Him that Jesus paid the penalty for your sin by spilling His blood on the cross, and that by dying and living again, Jesus conquered death so that you, too, could conquer death.

If you are willing to turn from your sinful ways, have asked God’s forgiveness, and have accepted His payment for your sin, you are now a member of God’s family. 

Now you may ask what is the next step? How does this decision to accept Christ’s offering affect me?  You are now a child of God freed from sin to serve God with all of your being.  How do you serve God? Learn his Bible, understand it and apply it to your life. It is our instruction manual for living. As the Scripture says,  "And that he (Christ) died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them and rose again, …therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold all things are become new." (II Corinthians 5: 15,17).

We suggest that you start reading the book of the Bible called Romans. It will give the basis and foundation for your new found faith. We encourage you find a church that will teach you more about the Bible.

Allen J. Dunkley, Th. D.
Used by permission from Bible Tracts, Inc.

PO box 188, Bloomington, IL 61702-0188

Paul J. Levin, Founder


If you have any questions, please contact us at  We will be glad to help you.


Holidays    en Español    About Us    Contact Us    The Bible-(link to another site)

To read more about Sgt. A. James Dunckley go to

Wonderful Words for a Weary World