David R. “Poppa” Alexander

ONE DAY

IWVPA Double Tap Award for War Poetry: July 6, 2002
Awarded: July 6, 2002
There are six of us left don’t you see,
There is Jeff, Pete, Bob, Gary, Walt, and me.
We started out over thirty strong,
But on that night everything went wrong.

We crossed the creek with the bugs and the leaches;
Those are some biting little sons ‘a beaches.
Pulling up the other side,
Faced with fire ants that bit ‘til you could cry.

But little did we know that the critters weren’t the worse we would see,
‘Cause by the time light would come we would be surrounded by the VC.
We were doing a little search and destroy mission that night,
When actually the last thing we wanted was a firefight.

We continued to ease along the unmarked trail,
Had our flanks guarded by Mike and Bob Hale.
Not a thing did we see,
Nothing was good but not very comforting to me.

Charlie had a way of being there when you least expected him,
And the morning sun was coming up but the light was still dim.
We moved across the opening with great care,
Not wanting to meet any VC, not right there.

As we were all almost across, Charlie opened up with a burst of hot lead,
And almost immediately eight of us were dead.
Sgt. Bob Hale saw them but not quick enough to warn us as they opened fire,
Four more lay dead within the next few minutes, their blood draining there in the mire.

As we took what cover we could find,
We returned fire and two more of us stepped on a mine.
We ask for chopper support and they acknowledged that they were on their way,
By the time they arrived and found us it was way up in the day.

By this time we were numbered by less than ten,
The last one I saw shot was a black man named Ben.
Charlie was paying dearly too,
But didn’t turn and run like they normally do.

The choppers came using the machine guns and rockets to break the contact;
That was about the time I saw three bullet holes in my rucksack.
Med-I-Vac came to take the wounded away,
But they carried dead back with them that day.

We hitched a ride back to the company perimeter,
And like I said only six of us were left to remember.
The Chaplain came by in a little while wearing his cross,
He told us the platoon of VC we had fought, had a similar loss.

No doubt that we were lucky at best
Because we fought as hard as we could and let the choppers do the rest.
But even though Charlie had met a tough foe that day,
Seems like a mighty high price to pay.

But that was only one day of a grunt in the place we called Nam,
When at home seemed like no one really gave a damn.
You can go and see the names on The Wall,
But you can never see the faces of the ones that died and how they stood so tall.

So if you read this verse of mine,
Don’t feel like you’ve slipped back in time.
If today you meet a Vet, here is what you do,
Simply acknowledge his service and what he did for you.