Poetry - Tiger Battalion

Nui Dat, May 1966

As darkness goes and daylight has come,
The choppers arrive, then we make our run;
Over tree tops and paddies, we wing our way,
The first day out, twenty-fourth of May.

At Ap An Phu, the choppers on ground
A few yank soldiers, hanging around;
This sight alone doesn't bring much cheer,
Not one bastard's got a beer.

After lunch when the Battalion is steady,
The companies move off, all weapons ready;
A rubber plantation is what we've got,
Our gear is heavy, and it's too bloody hot.

Line upon line of endless trees,
The ground’s a blanket of mouldy leaves;
Jesus Christ! We've only just started,
Gunshots close that soon got us parted.

Our turn now to have a go,
Panic here but it doesn't show;
All goes well, we've got it right,
Didn't even have to fight.

Moved in fast and covered ground,
Searched out wide, but no one's found;
Rubber, paddies, scrub and cane,
We're going around in circles again.

First stinking heat, then pouring rain.
It's enough to drive a man insane;
Explosions here and contacts there,
Seems to be going on everywhere.

And then the news that Noacks had died,
We stared at each other and silently cried;
As the rain pours down, thick and steady,
We just move on, our hearts are heavy.

When night draws near, there is no rest,
It's ambush time, a demanding test;
We quietly move in, to the killing zone,
No sleep tonight, chilled to the bone.

Waiting for ‘Charlie’, our bodies turn numb,
We'll stay this way till daylight comes;
At three in the morning, without a lie,
The bastards dropped their H and I.

Some clown with a ruler had missed the bus,
And a dozen rounds were dropped on top of us;
And for those few minutes it sure blew my mind,
We didn't know whether to shit or go blind.

Flashes and crashes as every round burst,
For the rest of the night we lay there and cursed;
So ended day one, - green, frightened and shakey,
Only three fifty to go, and of course there's the wakey.


© Terry Tommasi
C Company Vietnam 1st Tour

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