Thurman P. Woodfork


IWVPA Double Tap Award for War Poetry: October 17, 2006
Awarded: October 17, 2006
Our war there ended long ago,
Though memories linger still
Of bloody battles bitterly fought
Over once-important hills.

The craters have slowly healed
In the red, bomb-blasted earth,
While Agent Orange still remains,
Corrupting and sullying births.

Trams climb placid slopes
On brooding Nui Ba Den
But I recall the Viet Cong
Who lurked there, deep within.

There are no Hueys in the skies,
Dragonships have ceased their roars;
No River Rats make perilous trips
Along grim and hostile shores.

Yes, peace has come to Vietnam,
But the years haven’t been as kind
To the souls who still go on patrol
Through the jungles in their minds.

Thurman P. Woodfork: PeaceAuthor’s Note: The farmer gathering lotus plants near Nha Trang in today’s Vietnam gave rise to this poem. Undoubtedly, the lotuses were still gathered in the middle of the war despite the fighting, but the picture looked so peaceful to me.

The below photographs of Nui Ba Den (©Copyright 1966-67 by James H. Smith) were taken sometime in 66-67, 2/18th Inf, We spent a lot of time walking around the base of the mountain, never went up the mountain too many VC. Had a Doctor here until he retired who was the Doc who was the Doc who went to the top of Nui Ba Den on his tour. He was going back over there most every year or so for a visit. He says it doesn’t look anything like it did during the war. Haven’t talked to Dr, Walter Emori for about five years so don’t know if he is still going back. I always sort of liked the mountain, guess it’s because we could always find ourselves on a map when we could see the mountain, sure would have been nice to of had a GPS out there in the woods. (James H. Smith)

Nui Ba Den: ©Copyright 1966-67 by James H. SmithNui Ba Den: ©Copyright 1966-67 by James H. Smith