Poetry - Tiger Battalion

Ap An Nhut, 14th February 1967

I've read the map in daylight, so I know where to go,
It's moving quietly at night, that makes everything so slow.
Once we're in position, feeling tired and forlorn,
We all lie here and we wait, till the sun brings on the dawn.

The hamlet is so peaceful, not a dog would dare to bark,
And it all comes into view, now it’s no longer dark.
The "O" group has just finished, and they're getting to their feet.

Just a blinding flash and then a bang, every one goes down,
Not one has been left standing, just bodies lying 'round.
For those that have been wounded, help is already there,
But for three of those still lying, it's too late for any care.

Milligan, Bourne and the Kiwi too,
It would be just the same if it had been me or you.
All over so quick you live or you die,
A column of smoke blasting straight to the sky.

But the sky is still blue and the grass is still green,
To the left hells inferno, to the right, postcard scene.
Thatched huts and palm trees, people starting their day,
Breakfast is finished what more can I say.

The "Dust Off’s" now racing, low 'cross the paddies,
Don't know why they hurry, there aren't any baddies.
For the next six hours it's cordon and search,
The routine's automatic, but the anger still hurts.

It struck home once more in that stinking hour,
The taste of war is bitterly sour.


© Terry Tommasi
C Company Vietnam 1st Tour

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