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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Posts: 117
(5/10/01 7:16:51 am)
Reply | Edit | Del All Saying It With A Poem
Our friends at the Mobile Riverine Force Association have sent me yet another poem to share.

The Men In The Boats was written by Major Johnnie CORNS (Now LT/GEN, Ret)from the 9th Infantry Division.

Stan Lambert
St. Clair Shores, Michigan



The mist of the morning cools and softens the air
As the last of the soldiers heads down the steel stair.
He crossed the barge tied alongside the ship
And boarded the craft, making sure not to slip.

The assault craft and boats are now well under way
Executing the plan which was briefed yesterday
The boats flow out smoothly, moving into the line
From the air their formation looks dark, serpentine.

Up the brown, muddy river they move with the tide
Some enjoying the scenery on this their first ride.
Others seem not to care, unaware of the beauty
Their thoughts are focused on performing their duty.

These are the veterans who have been here before
Who've lived through the fire fights, not anxious for more.
But should one occur, these brave men are good
Their valor and skill is well understood.

The likes of this force is seldom seen
They fight from the water and are called riverine
Grant used them at Vicksburg in the great Civil War
And the French proved the concept on the Red River shore.

When the power was combined of Army and Navy
The first thoughts generated were just short of cagey.
But these didn't prevail when it came to a fight
Both soldiers and sailors knew what was right.

Soldiers saw water like moats 'round a castle
An unwelcome obstacle when it came to a battle.
But sailors saw water like the Daytona track
A way to get in and a way to get back.

Attacks from the water were new to their foe
Who aimed at the highways where troops usually go.
But for riverine troopers, this was the way
To attack with surprise at the first light of day.

And this was the plan they would follow today
To spring their attack, the riverine way.
Some early doubts for the plan soon arose
When they learned they'd be running right by Snoopy's Nose

An elaborate plan that would probably work well
But for boat crews and platoons it was difficult to tell.
Artillery was firing, of this they'd been told
A battalion in choppers found the first LZ cold..

But what was that pounding on the side of the craft
Shaking the boat from forward to aft.
An antitank rocket had exploded top side
But in spite of hot shrapnel, the platoon has survived.

There's a monitor turning to a stream up ahead
No one at the wheel, the helmsman is dead.
The assault craft turns wildly , rams into the bank
A split-second decision before the craft sank.

The infantry platoon along with the crew
Scramble ashore where the artillery blew.
Their foe is retreating, crawling over a dike
That's getting chewed up by a boat's forty mike

There's plenty of action, new troops have their fill
The artillery's pounding, the jets screaming shrill.
The time is at hand, it's good against evil
Death goes ashore through cordite and diesel.

But the noise of the battle slowly passes away
There are men to be cared for, there's time now to pray.
The enemy is pursued by chopper and boat.
Medics work wonders with lumps in their throats

It seems like forever, but they're back on the ship
Some slightly wounded - broken finger, bruised hip.
But thoughts are of Willy who made them all laugh
And of Jose and Bob who did not make it back.

They laugh at Frank's letter that he got from back home
The candy from his wife has been missent to Nome.
The box will be forwarded, though mangled and tattered
But Frank didn't care, it's the letter that mattered.

They laughed and they joked and played lots of pranks
And made a few jokes about those with some rank.
And every face beamed as the brass just announced
It was a main force enemy that they had just trounced.

That kind of news would be in their letters
But what mattered most was they had fought even better.
There was a deep sense of pride when facing great danger
Of meeting a test, risking life for a stranger.

Most pictured the stranger as a small Asian child.
Who'd suffered so much in such a short while.
And the main thing, of course, that most of them feared
Was continuing to live being homeless and scared.

Many years have passed since the days of these battles
For each old Raider and Rat the memories still rattle.
A few of these warriors have even gone back
In search of something they feel that they lack.

Not to recall the carnage or view the rubble
But to see once again, those they helped when in trouble.
They're warmed by the smiles of kids three or four
But in the old U S A they have even more.

And the main experience that gives them a chill
Is to fly over the land, lush, green and now still.
To feel tears sting their eyes looking down at the moats
And feel their chests swell for the Men in the Boats.

Posts: 225
(5/10/01 12:56:08 pm)
Reply | Edit | Del Re: Saying It With A Poem


That Mobile Riverine Force Assoc. must have some mighty fine poets. Perhaps you
can find out if you can get a few more. - Hope

Posts: 118
(5/10/01 1:14:31 pm)
Reply | Edit | Del Re: Saying It With A Poem
If you want to read the account of the fire fight for which this poem was written, just click on the link below. It begins right after the poem.

Stan Lambert
St. Clair Shores, Michigan

Posts: 539
(5/10/01 2:55:46 pm)
Reply | Edit | Del Re: Saying It With A Poem
Very good Stan and alot really can be said for their performance down in the Delta.
...and two hard boiled eggs.
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