Gary Jacobson

THOSE FIGHTIN’ HOLE BLUES

Pick a spot after a day of humping the boonies
Dig a pit in scorching earth with combat cronies
Sweating as you set up claymores and trips
Chow down on C-ration crackers and dips
Let your grunt brain on your home for the night reflect
Who the hell was this war’s architect?

What am I doing here… ?
I mean, really… what the hell am I doing here?
What was he thinking of
That government bureaucrat on high above
Sending me to fight for to dare my soul
Dug to eternity in this fighting hole?

I’m just a young boy, middling far from home
Brought to this killing field to roam.
Lean back on a rock by the hole… sit awhile,
Scenery’s kind of nice… for awhile
Normalcy among the abnormal cleansing your essence
Sittin’ here while war fills up your adolescence.

Life in the foxhole is a world surrealistic
The whole world outside you and the jungle nonexistent
Dang ‘em…
Love ‘em…
Fear of impending doom hovering over them
Death waiting at the edge of the jungle dim.

Camaraderie with brothers of the sword in those quarters
Cramped because of orders
Waxes nonchalant, as you act like boys on a big campout
Just waitin’, survivin’, imaginin’,
For a big silver bird to swoop you back home hopin’
Of the land of the big PX dreamin’.

You can rest your weary bones in mind and spirit
By the hole
Even get a shower in your helmet
By the hole
Shit and shave without being shot at
By the hole
Cheered on by the corporeal fat-cat
Far, far away from the hole…
Jes’ don’t stray too far from your rifle
Jes’ might save your good-for-nothing life, or some such trifle.

Surely know what they’re doing
Folks back in Washington, this little scuffle in the Nam pursuing
Sending this GI Joe to oversee this primordial spat
This little “police action” gambit?
Surely they wouldn’t put my life on the line for nothin’
Leave me ‘n my brothers in the wind a hangin’?

Grunts’re jus’ pawns sent far from home to hump a li’l bit,
To sweat and die in some verdant jungle armpit
Where you can clean your rifle while you dream of home
Eat C-rats, sleep, stare into the jungle, write letters home
Think of your girl betrothed, your car back home
Who cares whether you live or die… but folks back home.

Wonder what you’ll do when you catch that silver bird home
Back in the land of the great PX, no more to roam.
Y’gonna miss diggin’ a new hole on patrol every night?
Y’gonna miss life in a sandbag hooch, defending the right?
Hangin’ out front of a foxhole’s camo dome…
Makin’ it easy to zip me up and ship me home!

But chances are you’ll be back in Nam every night
Every night fighting the fight with demonic fright.
Jes’ don’t never stray too far from your rifle
Never can tell when you’re gonna do another Nam two-step shuffle.
Might jes’ need it in the next war’s about-to-come scuffle
This time goin’ home with a flag draped over a body-bag duffle.

Landing Zone Betty
Photograph of Landing Zone Betty, “Home Sweet Home,” courtesy of Jerry Berry, photographer with the 101st Airborne, when the Screaming Eagles inherited the landing zone after the 1st Cavalry established it.