POEM'S FROM AMERICAN VETERANS

DOOR GUNNER

A pen and ink drawing by Jim Pollock, U.S. Army Vietnam Combat Art Team IV, US Army War Art Collection Washington D.C.

BAAM!!

 

I was jolted awake by my mother. I had been home only a couple of days and my mothers gentle touch seemed to hurl me across the room.

She had only touched my shoulder to tell me breakfast was ready.                

She could not understand the fear and confusion in my eyes as I tried to regain my composure and give her a weak smile.                                                        

She could not understand that she had just pulled me from a burning chopper and that all my crewmates were dead or wounded.                                           

She would never understand, and I would never tell her, I would crawl from that chopper countless times, just before I awoke, in the years to come. To mom, I was home.  Hell, Iíd only been gone 12 months.                                   

She dotted over me and figured a few good home-cooked meals and a few good nights sleep and I would be the same oleí Denny.                                            

She would never know how heavy a single arm or leg is to carry with the rest of the body missing.                                                                                                

She would never know the feeling of revenge I would have by killing just one more enemy.                                                                                                        She would never know about me trying to breath life into a soldier I knew was dead before I started.                                                                                         

She would never know that me and my fellow crewmen had absolutely no chance of being retrieved after being shot down - but we were.                       

She would never know of the times I wished I could just go home and forget all.                                                                                                                         She would never know of the times that I was a coward and could have probably saved a life, if I hadnít been concerned of my own, and got my head out of the mud.                                                                                                    

She would never know, that as a soldier in Vietnam, I was not concerned with the pride she had in me, I was concerned with the pride I had in myself.        

She has long ago figured out that I will never be the same Iíll never be able to explain to her or others.                                                      

As for others - If you were not there and have questions, I have no answers If you were there, you have no questions                                                   

Denny Adams   

Doorgunner - 3rd Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment.  Vietnam 1969-1970

 

"AND THEN THERE WAS BLACKHORSE" ©

 

There came an end, and in that end came our beginning.....
Steel and man moved forward as land fell away with our touch...
It came like fire from the heavens, raining death in hues of reds and
yellows from the firmament...
Thunderous machines that flew, manned by aerial sentries
with helmets and visors obscuring their faces of stone...
With eyes like eagles, the doorgunners scan the earth for the enemy
and lead the machines of steel on the ground to battle...
Fire and smoke scorch the land like the noonday sun scorches our bodies...
The ground rumbled and belched black earth into the steamy humid air
as our tanks and ACAVs churned and dug at the soil...
The jungle folds back as our withering fire obliterates all
that dare to oppose us...
On the ground, the air is filled with the pungent smell of
diesel and smoke and death...

On rides the steel, on rides the Blackhorse

There came an end, an end of our youth, and in
that end came our beginning...
Sweat runs into our eyes as the iron clad Trojans clatter to a stop...
Children rush to our steel flanked sides to beg a tin of Cís...
Old men peer from huts through cloth covered doorways and look upon
and fear these men of steel...
Lifelong workmates, the very old, hobble around with arched backs,
long bent and broken from eighteen hour days of work...
They pretend not to notice the huge instruments of death that now sit
in the middle of their world...
They pretend not to notice the dirty, sweaty kings,
perched atop their kingdoms of steel...

On rides the steel, on rides the Blackhorse

There came and end, and end of our compassion, and in
that end came our beginning...
Our test by fire has long past. We now kill with extreme
prejudice to end this war.
The King of kings has ordered this be done...
Our tracks dig deep furrows into the muddy road as children scatter...
The all seeing eyes that will guide and protect
the gladiators once again rise into the firmament...
Old men and women scurry to keep valuable pigs and
chickens from falling prey to the rumbling machines of steel...

On rides the steel, on rides the Blackhorse

There came an end, an end of our war, and in that end
came our beginning...
We are now different men of steel.
In only 12 months, our lives are not as before...
We silently reflect on what has come to pass and only share those
reflections with other men of steel...
In our slumber we still hear the clanking, churning machines and our
nostrils sometimes detect the odors of war...
Respect us for our gallant efforts, but donít pity us for our pain...
We are the soldiers that guided the steel clad steeds into war...
Our souls are now steel and our healing will come with the next life...

On rides the steel, Forever rides the Blackhorse...

Written by John Malick
And is dedicated to the men who served with the
11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, ďBlackhorseĒ, during the Vietnam war and the Invasion of Cambodia.

 

The Blackhorse

 

There's a bond formed of terror, fire and steel,
That will carry forever on,
The fire of battle, the steel of the horse,
The terror of the cold, gray dawn.

This bond is stronger than any tie,
And it goes unspoken by man,
For words don't begin to justify,
The actions people can't understand.

We fought side by side on foreign soil,
Cried together to help ease the pain,
Held our brothers in our arms shamelessly,
For no man dies in vain.

The Blackhorse still stands tall today,
To be seen by our daughters and sons,
Tho' they don't understand the tear on our cheek,
As we softly whisper "Allons".

The bond that we formed in the fire long ago,
In battle, in joy, in pain,
Will live on forever in our hearts,
"Together then --- together again"

We'll live by this motto until the roll is called,
And we leave these earthly shores,
For God will surely say "Allons,
The Blackhorse rides once more."

SSG Edward L. Morgan
 E Troop, 2d Squadron
 11th Armored Cavalry
 1969-70  "Allons"

October 7, 1995

 

Freedom Bird

 

 
Great Freedom Bird, climbing so fast,
Leaving this war torn land at last.
With silver wings shining so bright,
Screaming up into the morning light.
Taking home the happy ones who fought,
And long this one last ride have sought..

 

But think again of those left behind,
Or those who sudden death will find.
For those you see, Great Freedom Bird,
The captain's voice will not be heard.
So tip your silver wings to either side,
For those who will never take this ride.

 

Then once more, before the clouds you meet,
Think of the poor souls, the enemy keep.
For they, lost men, know not when,
They'll ride yours wings into the wind.
So carry on your load of human life,
But, show pity for the weeping wife.

 

So Great Freedom Bird fading out of sight,
Seem not so proud in your long, long flight.
For every long mile that you shall fly,
Somewhere, a poor lonely G.I. will die.
And he, through no fault of his own,
Will never take your long flight home.

Ken Harrington (69)

War torn South Vietnam

 

THOSE LEFT BEHIND

 

The tidings have arrived.
Dreaded, expected,
they fall on my heart.
You're going
again so far,
and we must wait.
Your son won't know you
when you return.
His memory is short.
He'll learn to walk
and you won't be there
to hold his hand
and guide his explorations.
This bed will be arid
when you're not here.
I'll have to learn
to dream alone.
I'll hang a calendar
on my wall,
and mark the days
until you're back with us.
One desperate slash
for each lonely day
we spend without you.

B. V. Dahlen © Submitted by Bea Dahlen

 

JUST A COMMON SOLDIER
 
by A. Lawrence Vaincourt
 
He was getting  old and paunchy and his hair was falling fast,
And he sat around the Legion, telling stories of the past
Of a war that he had fought in and the deeds that he had done,
In his exploits with his buddies; they were heroes, every one.

And tho' sometimes, to his neighbors, his tales became a joke,
All his Legion buddies listened, for they knew whereof he spoke.
But we'll hear his tales no longer for old Bill has passed away,
And the world's a little poorer, for a soldier died today.

He will not be mourned by many, just his children and his wife,
For he lived an ordinary and quite uneventful life.
Held a job and raised a family, quietly going his own way,
And the world won't note his passing, though a soldier died today.

When politicians leave this earth, their bodies lie in state,
While thousands note their passing and proclaim that they were great.
Papers tell their whole life stories, from the time that they were young,
But the passing of a soldier goes unnoticed and unsung.

Is the greatest contribution to the welfare of our land
A guy who breaks his promises and cons his fellow man?
Or the ordinary fellow who, in times of war and strife,
Goes off to serve his Country and offers up his life?

A politician's stipend and the style in which he lives
Are sometimes disproportionate to the service that he gives.
While the ordinary soldier, who offered up his all,
Is paid off with a medal and perhaps, a pension small.

It's so easy to forget them for it was so long ago
That the old Bills of our Country went to battle, but we know
It was not the politicians, with their compromise and ploys,
Who won for us the freedom that our Country now enjoys.

Should you find yourself in danger, with your enemies at hand,
Would you want a politician with his ever-shifting stand?
Or would you prefer a soldier, who has sworn to defend
His home, his kin and Country and would fight until the end?

He was just a common soldier and his ranks are growing thin,
But his presence should remind us we may need his like again.
For when countries are in conflict, then we find the soldier's part
Is to clean up all the troubles that the politicians start.

If we cannot do him honor while he's here to hear the praise,
Then at least let's give him homage at the ending of his days.
Perhaps just a simple headline in a paper that would say,
Our Country is in mourning, for a soldier died today.

c. 1985 A. Lawrence Vaincourt


Names

 

A trembling hand touches a name so dear,
It's just one name, amongst thousands here,
But to that person who touches the Wall,
It's one of the most precious names of all!

The name may be a nephew or a son,
A daughter, friend or other loved one,
The name of someone no longer alive,
Still remembered by those that survive.

They gave their lives for freedom's sake,
They gave their all; they did not take,
Their names immortalized on the Wall,
Because they gave their lives for us all.

By Mike Smith.


THE WALL

 

We stand together--yet so far apart,
In the distance, hear the bugles call,
The crowd slowly grows, but we are alone,
As we gaze upon the wall.

Our world explodes--a scream is heard,
The bullets snap, a comrade falls,
Then smoke and smell disappear in a blink,
As we openly weep at the wall.

We remember the laughter--and we see the names,
Of the faces the mind won't recall,
We were closer than brothers in that far away hell,
Now all we have is the wall.

An arm reaches out--seems to weigh a ton,
To touch a name that's engraved so small,
For this and the memories are all that's left,
Of our friends on a granite wall.

So we stand together--yet so far apart,
In our minds, still the bugles call,
We pray for our friends and hope our children,
Never gaze upon another wall.

Edward L. Morgan
October, 1997

 

Eulogy for a Veteran

 

Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there, I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.

I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the Gentle autumn rain.

When you awaken in the mornings hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled flight,
I am the soft stars that shine at night.

Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there, I did not die.

Author Unknown


This the Senseless War

 

As I look out in the distant land I hear the sounds of rifles firing there
rounds into the air, and as the night progresses on you here the sounds of
popping, not of bags, but of mortars firing there rounds into the air in
this the senseless war.

And as the night progresses to day you hear the sounds of guns, not small one
but big ones called artillery firing there rounds into the air, and as you
look up in the sky you see planes flying overhead, not small ones but big
called B-52's in this the senseless war.

And as the bombs are dropped you hear the sounds of cheering from the men
below, not because they have hatred and killing in their hearts but because
they are praying that, that bomb get the one trying to get them in this the
senseless war.

And as we go from day to day we think not of killing but we think of the girl
you left behind and pray she is there when you return from this the
senseless war.

Well the war has ended the rifles have fired there last rounds, the sounds of
popping is of bags ,not mortars, the guns are in there stalls, and the planes
are in there hangars in this the senseless war.

And oh yes as for the girl you left behind she is gone too and all that is
left is the Memories of this the senseless war.

PFC James H. Meyer
April 4, 1968
Echo Company, 2nd Bn
9th Marine Regiment,
3rd Mar Div
Dong Ha, Viet Nam