Grey Eagle

DEATH OF VIPER

Dark Moonless nights
Triple Canopy, nights darker
Invisible trail, no traces left

Jungle Sounds, No sounds
10 yards separate each
Point man, one-zero, one-one
Three yards; three solid troopers

Point stops
No sound, raised finger
No sound, tilt head to left

Sounds, not jungle sounds
off trail, go dog, no movements;
voices, many, many voices, not ours

1,2,10,100 many, many more coming
arms ready, unhump thumper, full auto
Mags ready, not a sound, click the handset

Not VC, Damn its NVA
High-speed trail, heavy movement
3 clicks on handset

Here is Comes; Willie Peter airbursts
H.E. inbound. Shit its short, it’s fucking short.
Shit, it’s on us, FIRE, FIRE
Pop claymores Run, damn it, run
Shit here it comes, down goddamit, get down

Radio crackles, Covey Rider, Viper, Covey Rider, Viper
No response, Covey Rider, Viper, come in Viper.
Weak Voice: Covey Rider, Viper, gone, all, no more.

Silence, no sounds,
Jungle sounds, Dark Moonless night
They put up one hell of a fight

Launch a Bright Light,
Gone, Viper gone, Old Blue will be sung tonight

Author’s Note: This is about the loss of a Recon Team in Vietnam called “Viper” – lost to friendly fire and to the NVA (North Vietnamese Army).