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Man Feb 6
far off
the jets are being gassed up
preping for launch

far off
the infantry train
in anticipation, for the battle sure to come

far off
the navy men scan the seas
waiting for a blip on the radar

far off
a marine is receiving shock training
and practicing what it is to be dead

far off
icbms with nuclear payloads are capped
their ignition sources itching for flight

far off
but not so much
Ryan Clark Feb 2015
I am a hawk without wings
flying above  trees.
Salty wind hits my face;
I smile.

The land beneath me sings
bounty and beautiful scenes.
I gaze
It passes me by.

I am left to stare.
No thoughts to spare
deafened
by my haste.

My smile fades,
the time is neigh.
I descend
and clear my mind.

The helicopter hits
I feel the thud
First our packs
Then our guns

The roar amplifies
then fades away.
No longer am I a hawk.
Now I am a snake.
Hey guys it has been a hot minute since I last wrote a poem. Its been a crazy and hectic 2 years for me and I have accomplished alot, however it has not left me alot of time to think. I'm not really feeling the flow like I use to but I'm sure I'll warm back up once I pop a few more of these out and pick it back up... needless to say... I'm BACK (-&
Michael May 2019
Old soldiers never die,
They just keep on marching by,
In ***** or by the right,
Their legions prove a wondrous sight
When viewed in memory.
But looking on with memory,
Shows only what we want to see.
And while illuminating youth,
It hides from us the actual truth,
Does memory.
It never shows the blood, the fear,
It obfuscates the anguished tear,
And as those shadows march on by,
Do we forget they had to die – to live
In memory?
Keswick barracks Adelaide 2017
Michael Mar 2019
The Ninth Battalion (Australia)

By Sun-filled day and frosty night,
O’er rugged hills and desert sand,
We learned to work as teams, to fight
In jungles of another land.

From every city, State and town,
All the lovely countryside,
Impelled by grim war’s cold, bleak frown,
Gathered we at fair Woodside.

And some of us were volunteers,
But mostly we young conscripts were,
With youthful hopes, ambitions, fears;
Young men’s dreams of love were there.

And lusts, for we weren’t choir boys,
Nor simpering wowser, nor old maid.
We searched for brawling, drinking joys
And chased the girls of Adelaide.

Oh Adelaide, what wondrous pubs,
The Rundle, Gresham (Mind you Roy?),
The Western, Finden, all were hubs
Of social, sinful, youthful joy.

But scarce the city trips sublime.
Beneath the awesome stars our home.
And Sun-bronzed we became with time,
Leigh Creek, Cultana, ours to roam.

At Murray Bridge we fired our weapons, honed our drills;
Formed Section and Platoon at Humbug Scrub, and that was fun.
We dug-dug-dug to prove to them that be our skills,
And by night stood freezing piquet on the gun.

Canungra’s forest, where chilled to bone
We learned to ambush and by sudden flare to ****.
The Flinders Range, those hills of stone.
Shoalwater Bay did prove our skill.

And at the last and having passed our nation’s test,
(for some a final accolade)
And to that question answered yes,
We made farewell to Adelaide.

At Murray Bridge we fired our weapons, honed our drills;
Formed Section and Platoon at Humbug Scrub, and that was fun.
We dug-dug-dug to prove to them that be our skills,
And by night stood freezing piquet on the gun.
Michael Mar 2019
Describing a User Trial
(a Section Commander's story)

In Vietnam I most enjoyed the ambush because it is static.
And if you use your head you can **** from comfort without the need
For fire-and-movement which is a physical business at the best of times.
And in ambush you are often placed as part of a group, without responsibilities; Because they are assumed by that particular ambush commander,
Which is a relief and relaxing.

Most ambushes are triggered at night, but this one happened by day.
It was company sized, and memorable for other reasons too.
3 Section, my section, was deployed in three groups like an elbow:
Two being part of the killer-group and the other one part of flank-protection.
That's where I was, on the flank.
It was the Dry-Season.

Although it was a good killing-ground I was concerned by the
Lack of cover to our particular front; that is the part of the ambush for which I was
Responsible. My concern was the track because it curved about my section's elbow, And we, the flank-protection, could not see more than six feet through the thick, Secondary growth that grew between it and us.
It made for good concealment, but would never hinder an assault.

The plan was that the Platoon Commander would trigger the ambush with his M16.
He would know when to do this because our Platoon Sergeant had been given
Some sort of box dial, attached by wire to two metal spigots. These were
Buried in the ground one hundred metres to either flank of our position to transmit, They said, the ground vibration of the enemy's approach. It was on trial and had not Been used before. A neat devise for early-warning we supposed.

Our Claymores were sited to cover the killing-ground.
They were to be detonated so soon as the Platoon Commander fired his weapon.
3 Section's mines were under the control of lance-corporal Frank Chambers.
He was clever. He could compile workable, section piquet lists, with staggered sentry times. Try doing that in the rain. I never could.
So I was content with my lot, excepting this patch of secondary growth to my front.

As I remember it the day was hot and very lazy. We had a man alert in every group
And the guns were manned. Otherwise we sprawled at ease, hunting shade,
Fantasy, mind-escape. Sergeant Maloney will give plenty of warning;
Remember the o-group? Those spigots live on the end of one hundred metres of wire And will transmit the ground vibration of any approaching footfalls.
One hundred metres is a fine, relaxing distance - we thought.

But then it happens; without warning the day erupts:
With a shattering, terrifying, and continuing roar the daylight turns black.
A rolling, cloud of grey dust puts out the Sun. Something hot plinks my side. There is Too much noise. And in the raging dark my mind begins to scream:
'What happened to the ****** signal, John? The ******* early warning'.
And I begin to hurl hand-grenades as high and as far to my front as I can:

Take up the grenade.
Rotate the safety bail (Why didn't we have these in Australia?).
Ease out the pin, rise up; draw back the arm,
Let fly the lever. Hurl the grenade.
Count two, three, crouch, take up the grenade.

Ingleburn might raise its hands in horror but my air-bursting hand-grenades
Are based on the premise that we have engaged a small, advance party of the enemy.
And I want to deter it's main-body forming up on the other side of my bit of
Scrub then assault through it from the dead ground.
And remember we are blind. Hence, take up the grenade,
Rotate the safety bail, ease out the pin, etc.

Memory has the action lasting many hours, a long, long time.
But in reality it must have been all of two minutes before the noise begins to falter And the echoes of the guns slowly fade away.
And the World, unmoving in the awful silence,
Slowly turns to white
Beneath the settling dust.

Through the quiet, distant voices, begin to murmur.
‘Cease-fire’ is ordered and the day resumes.
I pass the order on then change my magazine.
Frank comes over with the Section's casualty and ammunition count.
No one has been hurt but we have used a lot of ammunition.

Frank reports 'three "Nogs" moving into the killing-ground.'
One noticed a claymore and Frank says he had no option but to fire.
He is nonchalant, unexcited about the killing.
When he has gone I lean into the shade of a tree and light up a cigarette while Reflecting on the body out there alone and still, and sweating in the Sun.

Finishing my cigarette I go to find our Platoon Commander. He is with the Major.
At CHQ, while Ronny Jarvis curses (we did use a lot of ammunition),
Guy Baggot inspects my ****** side with interest. 'A bit more to the right
Would have given you a ****** good scar.' He says.
What happened to the early warning device? The dial, the cable and the spigots
Go out with the next chopper. We never hear of them again.
This was a trial, an experiment that did not work. It was like when they wanted to trial dehydrated rations which we received - in the dry season. We hated those boffins, but in those days we hated everybody who was not us.
Michael Mar 2019
Doggerel for The Grunt

I got the '*****' with panji pits,
When in Vietnam.
Pits they dug both round and square,
Whatever shape, the things were there,
'Cammed' to look just like the ground,
Crouching there until, when found,
Springy stakes of poisoned wood
Would pierce the finder's legs right good.
Then, liberal smears of faecal stuff,
Would swell the limb and make it puff,
Turn purple, yellow, awful stuff.
Requiring treatment PDQ.,
While thanking God it wasn’t you.
No - panji pits
Gave me - the '*****.'
Michael Mar 2019
Rest in Country

We'd just lobbed into Vungers from the Dat on R & C,
Innocently strolling was **** Knight and me,
Across the Flags to the Some-Such Bar wherein the girls drank 'tea'.

And I can still see Max beside me striding to the Some-Such Bar,
With the baby-sans about him going just that bit too far,
With their practiced tugs and pleadings going just that bit too far.

And of course among the baby-sans the cowboys moved in too,
Which didn't worry me too much my cash was in my shoe,
But Max was Max and in those days, not like me and you.

‘Watch your wallet, mate,’ says I, ‘in case it comes to harm.’
‘No fear of that’ says mighty Max with patriotic charm,
Then he tucked a cowboy baby-san beneath one brawny arm.

Well! 'You silly ****** put him down’ but Max went like a rocket;
'I'm off to find the White Mice 'cos this *******'s picked me pocket.’
And I groaned aloud because I knew that me and him would cop it.

Sure enough, there gathered round an angry, shouting throng,
In Asia you don't maltreat kids, no matter right or wrong;
Believe you me our lives that day depended on that throng.

And I got hit with an iron bar (the hat protected my head),
Whilst Max had a pistol ****** into his belly and really should be dead,
And across the Flags M.P's I saw, turned white in craven dread.

Australians too, those coppers but no good to Max and me;
The gutless ******* turned about just so they might not see
The riot raging fiercely now about my mate and me.

I'd say forty upright citizens we met that Vung Tau day.
Policemen, soldiers, rascals, all with us two in affray;
Those Aussie ******, save our lives? They'd turned themselves away.

Thank Christ the mob stayed leaderless, our riot's end surprise;
And the cowardly action of those two? 'twas blessing in disguise,
For a Yankee Jeep barged through the mob and drawled 'in here, you guys'.

It barged back out then drove full speed to the end of R&C
Where the Major spoke severely to **** Knight and me.
While quietly back at the Some-Such Bar the girls sat drinking tea.


Saved
This is doggerel, of course, but it is also a description of what happened to me and a digger from my section.
Jack L Martin Aug 2018
It was a hot summer Georgia morning.
The fresh smell of pine
The sounds of marching solders
Reveille played over the loud speakers

As cooks, we started our day early
Everything seemed normal
Normal for Army life, that is
Life that I got used to

I put on my uniform
Polished my boots
Walked over to the dining facility
Expecting to fail inspection, again

"Report to HHC Immediately!"
24th Infantry Division (mechanized)
"First to Fight"
This was serious

What was going on?
Confusion afoot
Kuwait was ambushed
Sadam must be stopped

We marched over to the gymnasium
There were stations set up
Line up for innoculations
Fill out your Last Will and Testament

March over to the barraks
Pack up your gear
Only what you can carry
Sneak in some comfort items

What about the rest of my stuff?
Someone will look after it
Don't worry, it's safe
Soldiers are a bunch of thieves

March over to the National Guard barraks
They look like the did in WWII
50 double bunks in a row
they smelled moldy

This was our new home
until further notice
I haven't slept
in 48 hours

No communication
to your family or firends
I snuck out
to the pay phone

Not sure what to say
other than don't worry
I love you
goodbye

I am one of
the first one hundred
soldiers to depart
Single, no close family

We board the ship
It is massive!
USNS Capella (T-AKR 293)
In the Savannah Harbour

Tanks, helecopters
Trucks, supplies
One hundred ARMY soldiers
Ready to disembark

We stand along port side
at parade rest
A tear rolls
Down my face

Thousands of civilians
Waving flags
Cheers of goodbyes
Crying children and wives

The ship leaves port
slowly pulls away
the cheers fade
into the ocean depths

First day afloat
The ship rocks slowly
Hard to get used to
Motion Sickness kicks in

I worked in the galley
T-Ration for breakfast
MRE for lunch
T-Ration for dinner

I ate with the Marines
A-Ration meals
Privilege of being
a Food Service Specialist

Trash accumulated
Throw it overboard
Alongside the bow
Death to the oceans

Many days pass
I read a book
Hyperion (Dan Simmons)
The only book I had

I sit on the deck
the sea in all directions
mystifies the soul
we are alone

I wake up to discover
Another ship next to us
USNS American Explorer
(T-AOT-165) Refueling ship

We reach the Suez Canal
Egypt looks beautiful
To the east: lush greenscape
to the west: barren wasteland

Egyptian Militants
watching intensely
along the shoreline
they saw my camera

Merchants come aboard
"Good deals for you,
American G. I."
I bought some batteries

I get to phone home
satellite communication
ten dollars a minute
worth every penny

We reach our destination
Twelve day journey ended
time to unload
organized chaos

All hands on deck
mechanized disembark
crash course
on driving a tank

Transported to my unit
in the tent city
they got there first
flown by commercial airliner

time to roll out
loaded my gear
WRONG TRUCK!
Ruck sack gone forever

Lost my walkman
lost my camera
lost my book
was in the ruck sack

to be continued.........
I joined the ARMY in 1989, straight out of high school.  Active duty station was Ft. Stewart, GA.  Assigned to the 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment. Desert Rogues: "We Pierce!"
Chester Michaels Sep 2017
PTSD 22

Piercing through that troubled gaze
The fields of war fill the vacant stare
Search for peace through the combat haze
Desperate for darkness back “over there”

Pondering fear of a lifetime ago
The desert’s pain fills the empty boots
Still at war, for peace they go
Down in hallowed ground, 21 gun salutes

Pour one more strong for the 22 a day
The men of war can take some more
Saint Peter’s gates open to light the way
Defenders of peace only brave this door

Place your battle outside on the floor
To the warriors’ home in vallhalla’s hall
Soldiers only, long after their war
Day after day, salute 22 More

Chester Michaels
Why did I fight
Why did I bleed

What did you want
What did you need

Why did he suffer
Why did he die

Why did we fight
Why the **** did we try?!
I miss them all
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