Mark I. Kirkmeyer


Somewhere between Kuwait and Baghdad
The Marines set up a supply center
Supplying the forward units
Vigilance on the perimeter guards
Protect the working men inside

Sensors detect something in morning air
Sirens sound alerting all
Protective masks clear canvas
Marine caps hit the ground
Clearing the head for rubber

Marines continue elevating protective posture
Charcoal Suit, rubber gloves and boots
With full protective gear
Marines join the perimeter guards
Work stops arriving trucks park and suit.

Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Specialists
Work with analyzing equipment
All others on the base provide security
The sun passes through its apex and descends
As the sun sets the all clear sounds

Through the night there is no rest
All supplies, vehicles, and men have to decontaminate
Bury those supply can be decontaminated
Load the cargo from the day
Marines perform faithfully

NBC doesn’t recognize the agent
Higher up declares it an equipment error
That hit five sensors in rapid succession
Following the wind trail
The Marines carry on knowing what it was

Six months later the Marines are home
at Camp Lejeume watching the news
“The President lied – there were no WMD.”
The Marines grit their teeth
Knowing the truth sworn to silence.

Author’s Note: This poem was written after a night of drinking with a 2nd Marine Division Marine who made two tours in Iraq. I told him my impression of the reports of no WMD because most of the equipment used in WMD are dual use and the benefit of the doubt is being given to Saddam. He smiled and told me the story of his eight and a half hour MOPP4 experience. I thank God that the Marines acted for the worst case. Warriors don’t have the privilege of benefit of the doubt. That is for politicians, historians, and news propagandists. From my own experience I know that if they couldn’t give the all clear for eight and a half hours, there was something there but the machines couldn’t analyze it in the field.