Mark I. Kirkmeyer

GLIDING HOME

Skies darken by powered clouds
Hum of propeller-engines
Soldiers relax around the gun
Vibration from the tow move through the towed
Pilot sees the target
Releases the tow line
Vibration gone
The military kite volplanes toward the ground
Defensive stakes rip through the cheap aircraft
Gun rolls onto crew
Controls pierce pilot
One gets out
Without the gun
He becomes a grunt.

Author’s Note: I did some time with the 325th Infantry Regiment (Airborne) on Ft. Bragg. During WWII they were the Glider Infantry Regiment assigned to the 82nd. They suffered higher insertion casualties than the Parachute Infantry Regiments and got none of the respect. I remember the demonstration landing on the 40th Anniversary at Normandy and the letters that I read written home after the landing after D-Day when the Germans set up defenses against the Glider troops because they bought in the bad news; heavy equipment, rations, and supplies. Without them the Paras were limited.