David R. “Poppa” Alexander

LITTLE JOE

When I first saw “Little Joe” he was about eight
He came around one night and the hour was kind of late.
At first we were cautious because a kid in Viet Nam was suspicious
And he looked malicious.

Carefully he moved closer and closer and with broken English he asked,
“Could you GIs give me some food?” wearing fear as a mask.
He wore nothing but a pair of shorts and ole dirty shirt
And with the visible wounds one could tell he had been hurt.

After careful examination and a good look around
He was allowed to come into the perimeter and sat on the ground.
The men took an instant liking to Joe and soon he had what food we could provide.
He told of how the Viet Cong had tortured his mother and yesterday she had died.

“Little Joe” was grateful for the food and was soon on his way
But like a stray cat or dog he showed up the next day.
In the daylight, his wounds could be seen better by our medic doc.
We once again fed “Little Joe” and his wounds were cleaned and bandaged by doc.

“Little Joe” we saw every now and then
He was always thankful and to this day I think we all still have a friend.
“Little Joe” was just one child caught up in the war
Lost all of his family and still a smile “Little Joe” always wore.

I think of “Little Joe” every now and then
I’ve got pictures at home of him and remember him along with a lot of my men.
Even though we all lost a lot in the war in Nam
It makes me feel a little better knowing that “Little Joe”
was comforted in the land of the DAMNED

LITTLE JOE: THE STORY

In late July 1967 while making a standard stand down to allow for rest and light duty, “Little Joe” came into our lives.

Joe was all of 10 years old and was wounded in the left arm and leg; he was walking with a limp and was obviously hurting. At first we were leery of Joe as a lot of kids were sent by the VC (Viet Cong) to simply blow themselves up, as well as anyone close by.

But Joe was different from the start and was soon eating C-Rations with all of us.

Doc took a look at the wounds that weren’t serious and cleaned and bandaged them. Soon with broken English Joe was telling of his family, how his father was killed a couple of weeks ago in his village and then the VC came back and killed his mother. Little Joe survived by hiding in a nearby creek until the VC had gone. He had been wondering from that day until now.

Joe was just one of many in the countryside that seemed to be without family or anything at all. We couldn’t take Joe with us but we gave him food and Doc dressed his wounds again and we were off on another mission.

In a couple of weeks we were back in almost the same location and sure enough there was Joe. He smiled and waved long before we got there and was glad to see us. He told us that the VC had come by a couple of days ago but he hadn’t seen them afterwards. Well as one would expect Joe was again hungry and needed to have his wounds looked at.

We moved out the next morning on foot and to our surprise at the end of the day we were setting up a defensive perimeter for the night and there was Joe. That little rascal had some way followed us all day. Well we couldn’t see letting him go now so we fed him and explained he must be quiet. He spent the night.

We saw Joe now and then until we moved farther north and Little Joe was once again left behind.

Sometimes I wonder if Little Joe made it o.k. or if the had died. But I do know one thing we all loved that little fellow and will never forget “Little Joe”.