David R. “Poppa” Alexander

MY WORST NIGHTMARE

In the summer of 1967 in a place called Vietnam
My worse memory happened and shapes some of what I am.
This is the first time I have put on paper the story of that night,
Because of the tragedy and the horrible loss of life.

About this time of year I seem to remember so much more,
The brothers in this battle and those later and before.
As I start to tell this story that happens to be true
For those of you who read it, it will mean something to.

After being in the boonies for neigh onto two weeks,
Food and water dropped in and with very little sleep.
I as acting Company Commander was glad to get the news
Move into the Artillery compound, for rest, food and snooze.

We arrived around noon on that faithful day
Took over for another company that had a three-day stay.
All were so tired and grateful for the rest
Took over the perimeter and settled in for sleep and food at best.

The little compound had all the comforts that one could expect
Food, showers but sleep was our main object.
When dawn began to fall late in the day
Guard duty assigned and everyone grateful for a short stay.

Off in the distance a strange and eerie sound
Horns no trumpets’ blasting as if to surround.
Strange and distant as they were
A feeling of uncertainty and fear was what they inferred.

Made a call to Battalion to inquire as to the cause
No information on the meaning and that gave us pause.
The sounds got louder and seemed to be on the move
Called to ask for Chopper support our state of mind to improve.

Rain and fog had moved in and the choppers were grounded
And they assured us that our fears were unfounded.
For hours the blast became closer and louder
Our nerves were on edge, but each man I couldn’t have been prouder.

About midnight with the rain pounding down
The blasting of the horns stopped and a mortar round hit the ground.
All of a sudden the perimeter lit up as the flares were tripped.
Gunfire, grenades and screams through the night did rip.

The artillery searchlight on the hill lit the area all around
What seemed like thousands of enemy crawling on the ground
We opened up with fire and all that we had,
Too close for the Artillery that made it bad.

Told the RTO to call for help as the enemy strength had been shown
Due to the weather, “hold what you’ve got tonight you are on your own”.
Shortly after that the light was shot out
Then the enemy began with deafening sound began to shout.

Fighting sometimes hand to hand
My men and brothers made a heroic stand.
We kept closing the perimeter and in size it did shrink
Screams in the night, what an awful sound, but not one brother did blink.

Almost six hours later the enemy broke contact and the rain began to subside
Those of us left were in one trench when the sun rose on those who had died.
The choppers came, but too late for over a half of our men were laying dead
Oh, we held the ground and fought the good fight but the earth was blood red.

I suppose no one was at fault or so they said,
But for those who lost their lives they are still just as dead.
The Artillery site didn’t even have a name, nothing for us to recall,
The next week I heard they moved the site, the one where so many gave they’re all.

Those of us left simply call it “No Name Hill”
You won’t find a written story about this still
As we were left there to defend “on our own”
But those who died there were some of the bravest men I have ever known.