Clifton S. Rogers

Born in 1969, Clifton lives in Kilgore, Texas and served with the US Army, including:

  • 1987: Basic Training at Ft. Leonard Wood, Mo
  • 1987: AIT at Ft. Lee, Va
  • 1987 to 1989: Ft Hood, Texas 13 Coscom
  • 1989 to 1991: 2nd Inf. Div, Camp Casey, South Korea, Attaché’ to Discom Cmdr. Col Larry Fulbright
  • 1991-1996: USANG, Marshall, Texas – Separated as Sgt, E-5 (p)

Clifton is a self employed Welder/Fabricator. His hobby is the History of Army Air Force (AAF) during WWII. He writes:

“[I have] amassed a collection of personal artifacts from this time frame to include many, many original manuscripts and books, good luck tokens, etc. Not one item in my collection is, or ever will be, for sale but is to be preserved for posterity.

I cannot fathom how somebody can put a price on, and ‘hawk’ on EBay and other sites, personal property that once belonged to a living person. I am talking about personal stuff that, at one time, might have been the very thing that helped a person, in mind and spirit; make it from day to day. But, on the other hand, I am glad they do… because of guys like me.”

MY FRIEND JOE

Silver wings over foreign shores,
just tending to his patriotic shores.
Not asking for much – expecting no more,
I believe the year was nineteen and forty four.

He was a young man of twenty and four,
a young adult barely entered into life’s open door.
I didn’t know him then as I wasn’t born yet,
in fact my parents, still children, hadn’t even met.

Was it for destiny, or times at their worst
that led him into the 381st?
Fate won’t ever tell… ‘Mum’s the word’,
His new home became the 533rd.

He rode the wild lightning,
and dropped hell from the sky,
He survived the unlikely –
and even stared Death in the eye.

All this before he turned twenty and five,
and all he said when it ended was… “Thanks to God I’m alive!”
He lived a long life filled with pleasure and pain,
He lived it along with his ‘best girl’… his wife, Ellen Jane.

In two thousand and one, they shared their ‘last dance’,
and for Joe it ended his fairy tale romance.
Over half this man’s life… fifty-nine years of bliss,
and her gentle smile faded – after a good night kiss.

The year is now two thousand and two,
and Joe asked God… “What shall I do?”
God told Joe… “It’s not yet your time!”
“You’ll not go till I’VE SAID end of the line!”

“Pull yourself out of that tailspin, Mister!”
“Straighten up and fly right!”
“I’m the Lord, your God… I’m with you in your plight!”

Now this is the ‘new age’ – the ‘Computer Generation’,
and the ‘World Wide Web’ has complete domination.
And just as Joe decides that this century isn’t for him,
he answers an email – on the ‘spur of a whim’.

It’s from a young man aged thirty and three,
and he asked ‘old Joe how it used to be.
He said he feels as if life ‘passed him by’,
and Joe told him, “There’s a reason why!”

Joe said, “God always knows best!”
and he said, “To this, my life can attest!”
He said, “Don’t ever doubt who you’re supposed to be,
God has his designs for you and for me.”

Joe told it straight and made the young man see,
I’m telling the truth… that young man is me!
He helps me understand the way things go;
He still has purpose… my friend Joe.

I still feel saddened that we never met,
when he was still young – and I wasn’t here yet.
But I know him right now and that’s good enough,
He’s far better than any ‘new age’ stuff!

I sometimes used to wish to give tomorrow away,
just to have a chance at one more yesterday.
But not any more brother… it’s ‘forward ho’,
going forward in life with My Friend Joe.

When Joe leaves me for far better places,
and gets re-acquainted with those old, familiar faces.
I’ll not stop, he wouldn’t want me to.
I’ll continue on as God said I should do.

Like he did for me and others before him,
I’ll offer guidance for others, when their outlook is grim.
What better way, a message to send,
than to attribute your work to the honor of a friend?

I know one day that all things come to pass,
and that we’ll all move on to much greener grass.
I am prepared when it’s my time to go,
‘cause I’ll get to see My Old Friend Joe.

And I’ll bet our wives will the best of friends,
in this ‘Land of Eternity’ – where time never ends.
And we’ll all share a new lease on life,
better than before, there’s no pain of strife!

And Joe will have told his old friends about me,
and I just know they’ll be curious to figure out me.
But one thing’s for sure – when it’s ‘the end of the line’,
we’ll have nothing but happiness, fellowship… and time.

Author’s Note: I wrote this for Major Joe DelMarmol Jr. (ret’d) who served as a Bombardier in the 8th AF, 2nd Bomb Wing, 381st BG (H), 533rd Sq., flying 36 Combat Missions ‘44-’45 whilst based at Station 167 Ridgewell, (East Anglia) Essex, UK