Lt. Col. USA, Ret., Author and Publisher.
The Flavor of Combat

This is a poem written in Vietnam by my squadmate, PFC Roland D. O'Brien of Fairfield, Maine. "OB-san" O'Brien was the old man of the squad. He was Twenty Three. This poem reflects a firefight that occurred at Que Son in April 1966. Our company was nicknamed "Medevac Mike" due to the losses we incurred between August 1965 and May 1966. Mike Poppa Six was the radio call sign of our company commander. Willie Peter is White Phosphorous.

They Put All the Good Grunts in Body Bags

By PFC Roland D. O'Brien, Mike Company, 3rd Btn, 9th Marines


Lord, the rounds were cracking

Like Demon's bullwhips;

The grunts are needing help,

Send in the gunships.

The choppers came swooping,

fire-spitting dragonflies,

And every time they wink

Another man dies.

Willy Peter's blooming all over the hills,

The jungle's looking thirsty

As the grunts' blood spills.

Mike Poppa Six is down fifty men.

Med Evac Mike can't fit them all in.

Triage is cruel, but that's our lot.

Lord, why is every landing zone hot?

The kiss of the shrapnel, 

Singing thru the air, 

Ain't nothing standing tall,

'cept the grunts' neck hair.