by Tom 'the Toe' Talarico
Opening note:

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 honor......

Frenchy Gibeault
"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
 Planned game

 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 all E.T.S.
  most shortly

  I was assigned to be a Wolfhound "Blood and Guts"
 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
 Foreign land.

 We fortified our positions and
 Kept with our traditions,
 This little squad of seven
 Infantry man.

 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
 Broken Loose
 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 from Hell
 Chuck will be sorry of his folly in the morn."

 Firing LAWs, grenades, and B.A.R.s, small arms and claymore mines
 We repelled in full force and we were very much the worse,
 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 Cong
 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
 till Deros,
 Satisfaction in us all.

 The only evidence that's left, is remembrance of our best
 Whose names appear
 Upon a Wall.


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