home sweet hole Lunch at the hole for Quang Tri Marines
Marine with incoming shelling, Con Thien Marines at Mutter Ridge

LZ Betty
Photograph of Landing Zone Betty, "Home Sweet Home," courtesy of Jerry Berry, photographer with the 101st Airborne, when the Screaming Eagles inherited the landing zone after the 1st Cavalry established it.

Those Fightin’ Hole Blues
by Gary Jacobson © July 2005
1st Cav patch nampic 1st Cav at war
Pick a spot after a day of humping the boonies
Dig a pit in scorching earth with combat cronies
Sweating as you set up claymores and trips
Chow down on C-ration crackers and dips
Let your grunt brain on your home for the night reflect
Who the hell was this war’s architect?

What am I doing here...
I mean, really ... what the hell am I doing here?
What was he thinking of
That government bureaucrat on high above
Sending me to fight for to dare my soul
Dug to eternity in this fighting hole?

I’m just a young boy, middling far from home
Brought to this killing field to roam.
Lean back on a rock by the hole ... sit awhile,
Scenery’s kind of nice ... for awhile
Normalcy among the abnormal cleansing your essence
Sittin’ here while war fills up your adolescence.

Life in the foxhole is a world surrealistic
The whole world outside you and the jungle nonexistent
Dang 'em...
Love 'em...
Fear of impending doom hovering over them
Death waiting at the edge of the jungle dim.

Camaraderie with brothers of the sword in those quarters
Cramped because of orders
Waxes nonchalant, as you act like boys on a big campout
Just waitin', survivin', imaginin',
For a big silver bird to swoop you back home hopin'
Of the land of the big PX dreamin'.

You can rest your weary bones in mind and spirit
By the hole
Even get a shower in your helmet
By the hole
Shit and shave without being shot at
By the hole
Cheered on by the corporeal fat-cat
Far, far away from the hole...
Jes’ don’t stray too far from your rifle
Jes’ might save your good-for-nothing life, or some such trifle.

Surely know what they‘re doing
Folks back in Washington, this little scuffle in the Nam pursuing
Sending this GI Joe to oversee this primordial spat
This little “police action” gambit?
Surely they wouldn’t put my life on the line for nothin’
Leave me ‘n my brothers in the wind a hangin’?

Grunts’re jus’ pawns sent far from home to hump a li’l bit,
To sweat and die in some verdant jungle armpit
Where you can clean your rifle while you dream of home
Eat C-rats, sleep, stare into the jungle, write letters home
Think of your girl betrothed, your car back home
Who cares whether you live or die ... but folks back home.

Wonder what you’ll do when you catch that silver bird home
Back in the land of the great PX, no more to roam.
Y’gonna miss diggin’ a new hole on patrol every night?
Y’gonna miss life in a sandbag hooch, defending the right?
Hangin’ out front of a foxhole’s camo dome...
Makin’ it easy to zip me up and ship me home!

But chances are you’ll be back in Nam every night
Every night fighting the fight with demonic fright.
Jes’ don’t never stray too far from your rifle
Never can tell when you’re gonna do another Nam two-step shuffle.
Might jes’ need it in the next war’s about-to-come scuffle
This time goin’ home with a flag draped over a body-bag duffle.
on ambush, settin a trip flare across the trail digging the nightly fighting hole

Been 35 Years
by Gary Jacobson © July 2005
Been 35 years since I rode the beast
Where ravishing war upon body and soul did feast
Yet I still can taste its quiet...
Smell the incessant noise I cast a distressed eye at
Still to this day humping, worrying, waiting, watching
Constantly gazing back there with foul intent staring.
We old warriors now are but bystanders at the parade
Past provocateurs, forever lost in war’s amoral charade.

Still I wonder what we’ve learned in this heinous crusade
Venturing out again and again to face a contentious blade
Riding in pious right’s patriotic brigade
Constantly out of place, still stepping out of rhyme
In nonconformity out of step with the time
Wherein does violent America’s character incurably abide
Constantly remembering a trip back to the venal dark side.
Sent to a nation its rights to débride.

Veterans still pose concern for the nation’s politic polity
Patriotism betimes providing thoughts mercenary
Provoking right or left, war and peace deciding
Wrong or right evoking
Perturbing anxieties constantly tapping
War's past memory still brings on fearing
Constant cacophonies in minds always clamoring
Anxiously fretting about what’s happening.

I constantly feel strange at the unease...
Spawned 35 years ago across the seas
Seeds planted long ago mid summer's killing breeze.
Won’t someone this boy’s disquiet appease?
Rest from war's clamors is all I ask, please
Cure me from war's unholy disease.
To stomp terra I think oft
Stop the world, I want to get off.

The Forgotten
by Gary Jacobson © July 2005
It’s a long, long way to the forgetting
That I may never make the journey to erase the hurting
To heal the hating,
To quit myself berating
To console myself with the living
To forget the life inside me dying.

It’s a long, long way to the forgetting
Brothers-in-arms before me parading.
Join again in mending life’s smashed pieces
Scattered asunder by weary war, wherein very life ceases
Hungering, thirsting, yearning for what peace is
O how sweet the releases.

It’s a long way to the forgetting
To put down the revolt borne in famished souls fomenting
To find yourself rotting on our world’s tarnished heap
Long ago, in ancient ages buried, tamped down so deep
I long to quit making that nightly journey back there
Back into the past, into the heart of nothingness I stare.

Find that boy lost back there, his frail innocence in despair
Hope lost in innate futility, virtue mangled despoiling dis-repair
Search where tormented values died, rent to pieces bare.
It’s hard to resurrect feelings, again start to care.
O, I long for the green fields
Those peaceful, serene fields where my mind yields...

All heaven implores you to go to war ... you must do it...
Your humanity depends on it.
For some want us to do it again...and again...and again
Send future childlike souls to the battle to rend
Wake again, ye weary souls from peaceful rest
Renew the hating spread at our bequest.

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