Colin F. Jones

MIZZEN IN ACTION
(Or Ketch Me If You Can)

~ 1 ~

Time to catch the wind and sail away
in my little Wishbone Ketch,
With the Jib out fore the Stay Sail
And the Mizzen at a stretch.
Hanging from the second mast,
With Mizzen Stay Sail fast,
The Fisherman rigged up tall,
All standing, she sails at last.
The apparent wind takes her,
Lateral resistance takes effect,
On to the rocks she tumbles,
To become a ruined wreck.
‘Cause I didn’t raise the anchor,
For I forgot to check.

~ 2 ~

So I took a Belknap Cruiser for a little spin,
All 6,570 tons of bedlam and din,
It had a Kaman Sea Spite,
Clinging to its deck,
And two quadruple launches,
For Harpoon Missiles and by heck.
It had SAMs and Tomahawk missiles,
520 crewmen on its back
It had Babcock and Wilcox Boilers,
So in power in did not lack,
For at 32 Knots it hit the wharf,
And me I got the sack.
Although I told ‘em I’d sailed a Wishbone Ketch,
But that was bloody that.

~ 3 ~

So I got a job on Nimitz
CVN-68,
A nuclear powered Carrier,
For a few US bucks per day.
Boy she was big this bugger,
With her 20mm Phalanx guns,
Powered by two Nuclear Reactors,
And sporting three Sea Sparrow SAMs.
She had 5,200 people,
And all those Tomcats on her decks
Oh I stuck to her like treacle,
For this is as good as it gets.
But alas I had to leave her,
Because they don’t want us old vets.

~ 4 ~

My wife’s Uncle was a Sub Mariner,
And was a hero to the core,
He was a commando on the Krait,
And was killed near Singapore.
I went down with the USS Houston,
A killer ship I conclude,
With It’s Mark 48 Torpedoes,
Tomahawk Missiles in vertical tubes.
Boy and I got to fire one,
Oh yes I did indeed.
She had submerged so quickly
And Thirty five knots was her speed.
And when I pressed the button…
Well at the time… they all agreed! ……… ?

~ 5 ~

Well a PBR is special,
But a Monitor was the boat,
I travelled on in the deltas,
In the riverine remote
She had the flag up flying,
Through the Mekong Delta swamp,
And I tell ya I ain’t lying,
She could slide along like soap.
Sometimes we carried SEALs,
And supported them with fire,
I often manned the guns myself,
Which was my great desire.
And that was when they said to me,
It’s time mate to retire.

~ 6 ~

I got to check out Tanks and stuff,
And a Hum Vee caught my eye,
But blimey it had not power enough,
To drive through an Apple pie.
I borrowed Steve’s snortin’ Hawg ,
Shoved its engine in the well,
And when that Hum Vee started up,
Oh man it shook like Hell.
If there was some ground to stand it on,
I swear ‘twould tow the Earth,
Now you know just how it was done,
Who gave the Hum Vee birth.
‘Cause, my friend, I’ve done it all,
Wow, what I must be worth!!

~ 7 ~

I graduated from the Hawg fed Vee,
to the bigger mobile tanks,
The A1-Abrams appealed to me,
Owned by them US Yanks
It had British Chobham Armour,
With a 105 millimetre gun,
Filtered air inside of it,
But not much room for fun.
With its Testron Lycoming engine,
A Gas turbine power pack,
It really had some power,
And was good in defence and attack.
And I’d like to lug one home with me,
In my old worn haversack.

~ 8 ~

Went over to the Recce Troop,
Got me a Bradley to drive around.
It’s really a bit big to be a snoop,
And its armour is not real sound.
But it had come a long way since WW2,
And the LAC M8,
State of art I’m telling you
With its aluminium to keep down weight.
The TOW Missile system made it good,
Its 25-mm Chain Gun made it strong
But it was high where it stood,
That in a Recce troop it didn’t belong,
So I moved on and looked elsewhere,
‘Cause its profile was all wrong.

~ 9 ~

An FMC Corporation M113
Took me to the infantry lines,
What a brilliant machine this has been,
In wars of different kinds.
Battlefield taxis moving grunts,
About the battle ground,
Land based little workhorse punts,
With their rumbling engine sound.
Sometimes it carried a 30 cal,
Or a Browning HMG,
With so many variants who can tell
Which one was right for me.
So off I went (they were all glad),
Across the field to the Chopper pad.

~ 10 ~

Now the Cobra Gunship is not for those,
Squeamish in their gizzards,
And the Apache mate, I suppose,
Could be described as a fiery Lizard.
With sensors in its probing nose,
And a Chain Gun slung beneath,
Hell Fire Tank missiles are its clothes,
And its Stingers can cause much grief.
Built for survival like the Russian Havoc,
Its crew in a bathtub of Boron
Are relatively safe from being killed,
By some hot shot little moron.
Who happens to have his MG filled,
And is lacking in decorum

~ 11 ~

I am watching three TV screens at once,
In my steel-blue twin finned dart,
This Fleet defence fighter of course,
Is the F/A -18 Hornet State of the Art.
A couple of Tomcats are shadowing me,
From the Enterprise down below,
So I guess you will agree,
They don’t trust me up here you know.
The Tomcats are faster than me,
But this Hornet is a brilliant Jet,
And it’s bloody good low over the sea,
And I can feel the salt air, you bet!
Oops! Hell that wave was so damn close…
I’m so cold and this water is wet…

~ 12 ~

I bypassed the Rockwell for the Boeing,
The Stratofortress B-52
Because I knew where it was going,
And I was friendly with the well trained crew.
It’s been around since the middle fifties,
And was used to bomb Vietnam;
It blasted away their Cities,
As no other Giant bomber can.
It has four 12.7-mm machine guns,
In the tail turret behind its wings;
It carries missiles and other such stores,
Eight Pratt and Whitney turbojets that sing.
They are used now with anti-ship missiles,
And this parachute to which I cling.

~ 13 ~

So I am back on the Sea with the navy
A Pegasus ripped me out of the brine,
Its 27 crewmen didn’t want too,
But I think the Captain was an old friend of mine.
This little ship fires a Harpoon and an Exocet,
And is faster than Phar Lap down the straight,
It can fire a Styx or a long range Gabriel,
And that’s pretty potent I’ll state.
It’s a Fast Attack Hydrofoil patrol boat,
But as a missile boat it has not been a success,
And I should not have said that to the Captain,
For he’s the bloke I should be trying to impress.
So here I am marooned on this island,
Like a drowned rat I am soaked I confess.

~ 14 ~

A Cleveland Army Tank Plant,
A Bowen-McLaughlin-York M109,
Was stuck among the seaweed,
But its Detroit Diesel engine was fine.
So I drove it up the beach head,
With its 105 millimetre gun,
Waving in the sea breeze,
Now this was going to be fun.
I swung its powered turret,
Towards the jungle trees,
The great Mobile Howitzer,
Then it was time to freeze,
For Hell it was a misfire!!
That’s when a coward flees.

~ 15 ~

I thought that I was stranded,
Until I saw a bunker by the way,
On entry I was handed,
A card that said “ok”,
Wow this was really something,
Computers everywhere
Everyone doing nothing,
For there wasn’t anybody there.
So here I was alone again,
What the Hell was I to do?
I’d crossed a world filled with pain,
A world that had the flu.
For on their cities, toxic rain
Was destroying all that grew.

~ 16 ~

Since the “Little Boy” and the “Fat Man”,
Made their presence known,
And Nagasaki and Hiroshima,
Were by atomic explosions blown,
Nuclear bombs have become more powerful,
And rule the Earth like God,
So here I am a scientist now,
I’ve joined the clever mob.
This little button in front of me,
I only have to press,
And BOOM!! I turn the Earth into
A pretty awful mess…
So what’s the point in sitting here…?
Farewell, goodbye… God bless…
Whoosh!!!!!!!!!!