Greetings! I'm Gary Jacobson, of B Co. 2/7 First Air Cavalry. The song playing is, "Johnny Gone For A Soldier." Please don't scroll down until you hear it.
I have my fighting gear on, humping the radio for our Platoon Leader. I'm just about ready for our patrol out into the killing zone. Wanna come along? I know someone's waiting to kill me out there...maybe today...maybe 100 yards away...maybe tonight, but I can't think about it. A soldier thinking too much about what can happen will break down totally. You can't afford to lose your edge. They say when you become a man you must put away childish things. Well, to become a soldier, you have to put away the boyish thinking you had back in "The World," that's for sure. You can never completely quell the fears all around you every minute, every day...but you can hide them way down deep where they don't stare you in the face.
Here I am out in "the park," (L to R)Isenbardt, Oertel, and me...just boys really, but war is a tough, man's business. You have to grow up quick or you're not going to survive one firefight. Still having fun?
Look at my draft photo below...I look so young. Only months separate the pictures above and below. Look at that "deer in the headlights" stare below. I had no idea...no idea at all what was going to happen...the horrors those eyes would see. Come to think of it, maybe not knowing was a good idea. This was the end of my boyhood...
Once upon a time we were young.
Life and laughter dripped like honey from our tongue.
Secure once. in youthful purity’s essence,
We held Child-like pride in wrong’s abhorrence.
Once to our beloved land we pledged allegiance.
Once we were innocent;
Once immature to life’s traumatic roils adolescent,
Once heirs to the good life from parents beneficent,
Who looked on the world through brave eyes altruistic.
Once our eyes shone brightly with youth's fresh hope.
Once we lacked sophistication’s perceptive scope.
Once to our government we gave complete trust.
Once we reveled in adoration of a country just.
Once our young hearts flew on eagles Wings
With fair freedom's breath a boyish soul Sings.
Once boyish spirits flew high in the Sky,
Once enraptured, once Blessed,
God's light shining in our eye.
Once we were an unsuspicious generation,
Holding shining promise, future’s hope for a nation.
Once we in innocent virtue credulously,
In sanctified bosoms of our families Resided Safely.
Once Flowers of boyish youth gullibly,
Without maturity's analytical insight, simply
Went where we were called,
Without question or pause.
Once we stood wide-eyed in naïveté's awe;
Once incredulous at horrors we saw;
Once dismayed at death in bloody jungles raw;
Once forced to kill,
Broke heaven and man's irrevocably-decreed law.
Once we knew not the meaning of hate,
Before we offered our nation our fate.
Once we decried destruction of moral values;
Once cried frustrated with war-damning principles.
Once we were princes, due this land to inherit,
Our inheritance sold to line a king’s politik
Filthy Lucre of Corporate Benefit,
Which sent us to a forested snake's den pit.
We had no say in any of it.
Ours but to fight and die in Vietnam’s bullsh..,
uh, er, dirty little war!
Once upon a time
Life and fortunes lay abundantly before us.
Providential blessings in glory surrounded us.
Once we were just boys ingenuous, lacking worldliness,
Sent packing to “Man’s inhumanity to Man” Mess.
Boys, once gung-ho naïve,
Looked their mark on the world in glory to leave.
Now I wish I could wash fearsome memories away,
Cool my fevered brow in Nam's South China Sea Spray.
Once a nation's bravest boys went to moldering grave
Which Flowers of Youth planted by war's hatreds deprave.
Once bright hopes war did forever corrupt
With untimely killing, that killed so abrupt.
Now war has caused good men from the world to withdraw.
Cruel war forevermore will stick in men’s craw,
Who've seen A series of wars-to-end-all-wars flaw,
The abolition of the Masters first, greatest law.
Now men Who’ve been to hell and back,
Men, once boys before that immoral attack,
Just lads fighting, dying,
Soldier boys trying one another to kill.
Once how this cruel war my belly did fill.
Now this war has come and long-gone,
But dwells in my heart from that moment, forever on...
Now I'm free from war’s moral dearth,
Now grown old, warriors seeking peace on earth,
A universal consciousness rebirth,
Of mankind’s love for all mankind’s worth.
Click the Combat Infantry Badge
to Visit my Vietnam Poems index,
each poem with more action
graphics and Pictures
CLICK TO VISIT... Through pictures and poetry take a walk in "the park" with the 1st Air Cavalry on combat patrol. Experience the chilling reality that will give you the taste of "the Nam" on your tongue, leave the pungent smell of "the Nam" in your nostrils, and imbed textures of "the Nam" in your brain as though you were walking beside me in combat.
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and my dogsled adventure