Time In Hell
by Walt Towers
The mud thick, red and slippery, the air an acrid haze,
we clawed and cursed, we fought and fell, as in some hellish maze.
Sent to relieve our brother grunts and kick the enemy’s butt,
the monsoons and the NVA conspired, to take away our strut.
We moved up hill, then slid back down, fighting through the ooze,
mortars! grenades! the LT was hit, rifle fire! men fell, how many would we lose?
We pressed ahead, drive on! drive on! ‘16’s on “rock and roll,”
the world moved as in slow motion, the combat taking its toll.
Things were going badly, we were stuck in enemy hell,
sent to relieve a pinned down force, now we were trapped as well.
The Captain pulled the company back, to a clearing near the hill,
a sorry looking group of grunts, moving only on shear will.
We saw our world through red rimmed eyes, our bodies sore and cold,
we moved as in a distorted dream, feeling very tired and very old.
Some guys wanted to lay down and sleep, to hell with the friggin’war,
others fought with fears and doubts, would they die in this land so far?
We formed up our perimeter, digging in as best we could,
the enemy rifles never stopped, at least it seemed they never would.
No dust-offs could get through that day, to take our wounded out,
and relief supplied from another unit, seemed very much in doubt.
The C.O. called a fire mission; battalion sent TACAIR,
to live to fight another day, meant driving the enemy from his lair.
Images of another time, another life, another place,
and in our minds thoughts still linger, of the things we had to face.
We can’t forget those days in hell, and brothers no longer here,
we will remember those left behind, and those still over there.
We’re just a gritty band of brothers, moving up the hill,
we’ve been through too much to give up now, we’re not ready to be still.