C. Douglas Caffey


C. Douglas Caffey: Marines Are Special!
USMC National Memorial, Washington DC
Photo ©Copyright June 13, 2004 by Anthony W. Pahl

IWVPA Double Tap Award for War Poetry: October 6, 2006
Awarded: October 6, 2006
He was a handsome Marine
who had to leave his darling fair;
the time was World War Two
at Iwo Jima, he was needed there.

The love letters came and went
as plans for a wedding was begun;
Oh, how happy they would be
when this wicked war was won!

Tomorrow his ship would anchor
off the rugged coast of Iwo;
a sulphur island in the sun
where he and other Marines would go!

In their shallow draft boats
they approached the black sandy shore;
all was eerie silent from Mount Suribachi
until all the guns did roar.

All too quickly Marines were
lying dead in haphazard array,
with no cover to hide them
on the first battle of the day.

He had his men dig a hole
and to lie deep therein;
while the enemy machine guns spat lead
above the heads of him and his men.

Penned down by enemy fire
he thought of his true love
and the vows they had made;
gave him hope to call on God above.

Out of the foxhole with grenades in hand
he crawled toward the machine gun nest
and tossed in the grenades, one by one,
but not before a bullet found his chest!

A medic heard his cry
and reached him before he could die;
to the hospital ship he was sent,
bleeding profusely as he went!

“I cannot die, for my True Love
is awaiting my return,
and I will not break the heart’
which forever would burn.”

“So, medic, do not say these words;
‘another Marine has died on Iwo’;
for I refuse to die all alone
on this blood red ocean far from home!”

“Stop this hole in my chest;
Do your best, medic; do your best…
I’m going to sleep now, as you can see;
It’s up to you, medic, to keep life in me.”

He dreamed of his True Love
who waits across the sea;
He holds her close to his chest,
with his red blood staining her dress.

Miracle of miracles, the medic knows,
for at that instant blood no longer flows;
the caress of his future bride
stopped the flow of blood inside!

Letters again, come and go
from a brave Marine on Iwo;
who now lives, refusing to die,
saved by the love of his sweetheart
who shouts aloud, “Semper Fi!”

But seven thousand of his kind
did die at the Battle of Iwo;
and twenty-thousand were wounded,
with 20,000 Purple Hearts to go!

And so, just today at the VA
in Albuquerque’s town
I saluted a Marine I didn’t know,
for all the Marines who died at Iwo.

I always salute Marines,
stand at attention and
tell them why I do so,
for their action at Iwo,
so very long ago!

They took that sulphur island
in 1945 to make it possible
for crippled B-29’s from Saipan and Tinian
to land upon returning from bombing Japan.

Saved 40,000 lives of airmen
and their many Super Forts,
who would have been lost
if Marines had not paid the cost!

So I ask of you;
salute the Marines with me
who showed their ‘stuff’
in that blood-red Pacific Sea!

Author’s Note: There are two words which I always capitalize; they are Freedom and Marines. Written by disabled WWII Veteran, C. Douglas Caffey, an airman of the 509th Composite Bomb Group, 58th Wing, Air Photo Unit, 20th Air Force. The 509th dropped the two atomic bombs on Japan, while stationed on Tinian. God bless all Marines!