David R. “Poppa” Alexander


The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the platoon of nineteen that day;
The score stood twenty to one, with but one more grenade with which to slay.

And then when Billy died first and Martin did the same,
An eerie-like silence fell upon Alex’s platoon that carried the same name.

A struggling few got to the ditch in deep despair.

The rest clung to hope that a chopper would come
and save the heart beat in each human breast;
They thought, “If only ‘Puff the Magic Dragon’ could but get a whack at the enemy
We’d put up even money then, with Puff’s spat, spat, spat.”

But Fred preceded James, as did also Donnie Blake,
And the former was very homesick, while the latter was a snake;
So upon that stricken platoon grim melancholy sat;
For there seemed but little chance of ‘Puff’ getting to do the “SPAT, SPAT, SPAT”

But Flynn let go a single blast, to the wonderment of all,
And Blake, the much despised, ruined their New Year’s ball;
And when the dust had lifted, and men saw what had occurred,
There was Jimmy safe at the river’s edge and Flynn a-hugging the dirt.

Then from fifteen throats there rose a lusty yell;
It rumbled through the jungle, it rattled in the dell;
It pounded on the mountain and recoiled upon the flat,
For ‘PUFF’, mighty ‘PUFF’, was advancing to SPAT, SPAT, SPAT.

There was ease in Puff’s manner as he rolled around into place;
There was pride in Puff’s bearing and almost a smile lit Puff’s blades.

And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly lifted his tail,
No one in the platoon could doubt ‘twas Puff that would fill them with hot nails.

All eyes were on him as he stirred the dust and the dirt.
All of the platoon tongues applauded when he whipped them into the muddy dirt.
Then while the writhing enemy drowns, each into water up to his hip,
Defiance flashed in Puff’s manner, a sneer curled Puff’s lip.

Author’s Note: “Puff the Magic Dragon” – AC-47 fixed wing, twin engine aircraft with 3 mini-guns mounted on the port side