I thought you might like to post this to our poems section. It was
occasion by a Vet group trip to the traveling 'Wall'. Tom was not
quite ready for it so he hung back and watched form a distance. Later
that night he went to the computer and wrote this poem, his first
attempt.....as a bard.
Tom was a 27th Regiment 'Wolfhound' and a MATS team advisor 67-68 with
a Medic MOS, as well as damn good grunt. Out of 65 men on his small
ARVN compound just off Highway 1, five survived the night of February
3, 1968, all wounded. On February 5th they decided that help was not
forthcoming and decided to try make a insanely hazardous dash for the
'Black Dog Inn' at Cu
Chi city. They drove west down Highway 1 right through the middle of
the 13 day Ap Cho Battle that started on February 5th.
'Rat Pack' was
scrambled to help the men of 2/12th on a TAC-E on this day). The men of
the 2/12th, heavily engaged with the entrenched enemy, stared in
amazement as a jeep with five men in it, and four flat tires, drove
between the enemy and them in 1st gear. When the jeep finally
arrived at the 'Black Dog' in Cu Chi city they told the men they had
counted 67 bullet holes in it, but miraculously yet none already
wounded men were hit. These were the HEROES we served, what an
"Rat Pack" Door Gunner
by Tom 'the Toe' Talarico
The Army put us on a boat so huge,
We doubted it could float;
And sent us to a place called Vietnam
When we hit our port of call
We were ready one and all;
But rule one was to get your gear and
Jump on trucks
They took us to Long Binh and
In barracks we were crammed.
To wait until the sergeant called our
Our thinking was pure bliss
We had been afraid of this?
But that was not Uncle Sam's
Talarico, Jones, and Gleason,
You're going to the 25th Division;
Far away at a base camp called Cu Chi
Your AO's were called the Iron Triangle,
Parrot's Beak and Ann Margaret
We thought we were cool but, the
Lifers were not fooled
They knew that we'd soon all be targets
At Cu Chi we were welcomed like hero's one and all;
But soon were pulling bunker guard, filling sandbags,
and pulling KP in the mess hall
After several days of toil and outright insanity
We were assigned respective units where
The Grunts were glad to see us, cause soon they would
I was assigned to be a Wolfhound "Blood and
27th Regiment Infantry
Two days later I'm on ambush with the rest
of my squad seeing Viet Cong behind every tree
We set up, sat out the night,
And boredom soon washed away our fright,
But that was just a lucky night to be.
On the early morning after and 3 hours of
Fitful sleep, we all picked up our rucksacks
And took a 4-Klick stroll called a sweep.
After weeks of VC contact we
Soon learned what was combat
Instead of Big-Screen movie fare,
We'd rather had a peep.
I left to join a MATS team
With better odds it seemed
But that's when Chuck showed us his true side.
After weeks and months of skirmishes
And no support but what we had on hand,
We realized that "Charlie" ruled this
We fortified our positions and
Kept with our traditions,
This little squad of seven
Any time that we encountered 'Chuck'
With pride, guts, and little luck,
We gave him all he wanted and,
Just a little more.
After being mauled and battered
In all the action we encountered
He respected our resolve and tossed his hand.
He had learned to fear and respect us
And he knew when to disengage us
For mightier were we, than them.
Then came the TET of '68 and Hell was
Chuck had us in his sight on the ready to annihilate us
and he created quite a ruse.
First our Kit Carson left, then
Trung Wi Ba and 14 others
Presumably to celebrate,
With their fathers and their mothers.
From 79 to 65 the numbers did decrease,
All within 24 hours prior to the cease.
It was dry and dark in '68 on that very night
Till the RPGs began to fall and 51's did sing their song
We were instantly confronted with many Viet Cong
Who came ready and full of fight.
It was 1:15 in the morning
And the explosives were a-storming
With Charlie in the driver's seat
Revealing all his might.
We sucked up all our fear to every man
Then came Captain Adams' call to arms
For everyone to hear
"We're gonna dig in and repel these sneaks who come
Chuck will be sorry of his folly in the morn."
Firing LAWs, grenades, and B.A.R.s, small arms and
We repelled in full force and we were very much the
for Chuck had exacted an awesome toll.
When the smoke had cleared the air,
We viewed the dead lain there
Not one could dance or sing a tune
For Hoc Mon had started there
They had used us for a scare,
And destroyed a place called Xuan Touy Toung
The battle stopped for us but moved to Ap Cho,
Where the infantry, the cavalry, and slicks
That's where Victor Charlie got his licks
And the tide was turned
The 25th, 187th, triple deuce commenced bloodletting,
scorched, and burned.
You can bet your last 5 Dong
That "Chuck" sang a different song
Because he was now "chopped liver", not Viet
He was demoralized and crushed,
By the will and firepower of our troops.
In the news they said we lost the war
As we still mourned our ghosts
Our morale forever shaken by this lie.
We fought until Deros,
But Charlie never did get close,
To whipping us or handing us defeat.
The damage had been done
Because Walter Cronkite declared they'd won,
Ho and Giap ran to Paris full of Glee.
But for I and all our heros who did their job
Satisfaction in us all.
The only evidence that's left, is remembrance of our
Whose names appear
Upon a Wall.