A poem of war for, "The Lost Boyscouts of Vietnam," who surely in combat earned the eagle rank in boyscouting.

Please wait for music, "When I was Young," before scrolling down!

Scout and eagle The Lost Boyscouts Scout question

Flag by Gary Jacobson scout flag
Combat Infantry Badge

For the name of the badge below, put your cursor on the badge...

Sitting in darkened Nam
Not altogether sure of what's going on,
Wondering how long can I hold on,
Hangin', danglin' my feet in a foxhole,
Staring into a Vietnamese jungle without a soul.

Guarding still forms under poncho liners lying
Clustered all around in slumber sleeping,
Fingers of night around them creeping
Still wearing jungle boots in a readiness scene
Soldiers reliving horrors in fitfully tossed dream,
Now at rest from stark horrors this day has seen
Grunts cloistered around the hole in Army green.

Suddenly, I flash back to a time peacefully serene,
Back when I was a kid, a carefree teen...
I was a Boy Scout, camping under the stars
In total innocence of foreign wars.

In men sprawled beside me now, I find
Seem to my beleaguered mind
Boys reminiscent of a different kind
From happier days I recall, lost Boy Scouts,
Sleeping off troubled hue and shouts,
Boy Scout values permeate souls of hardened soldiers
Boy Scouts, become before me strippling warriors...

Aren't we all but products of our upbringing
In living...in serving...in dying
Soldiers must of necessity keep themselves strong
Maintain strength through Nam's day and nights so long
Search for moral strength straight
To see them through dreadful fright.

Lost Boy Scouts truly, become stouthearted men
In far-off Vietnam
Their country more than themselves loving
In the best traditions striving
To at all times their fellow man helping
Truly, in abilities in service shown
Skilled proficiency emerges in fruits of battle's won.

Indeed, is it not honor guiding grunt's hearts
Devotion, above all, duty on a nation's sons imparts
Instilled in youth comes the spirit with which we fight
To do our best defending love of right
For courage and bravery in word and deed
Boy Scouts cultivated in freedom's seed.

For planted in scouting's heritage
Are dedications of a younger age
Harvested now in Vietnam for God and country
Giving the best of all that's in me
Above all else, lost Boy Scouts are thrifty
Trustworthy, a friend in deed, courteous, helpful
Kind, obedient to superiors, ever striving to stay cheerful,
To our trust, brave, clean, reverent, to duty loyal.

Dream now, ye Boy Scouts made men
Cream of our nation's youth in Vietnam
Dream of firefights grimly fighting,
Wrongs of those preoccupied with your death hating
Tossing, sleeping souls searing...
Remembering over hill and dale humping,
For terrible enemies constantly in dreams searching.

Stalking, finding, then killing,
Attendants forlorn to buddies around them dying,
Boys feel so fragile their own blood and death
Death lurking around every corner with bated breath
Grave terrors march beside us in great fearing,
Boys feel intensely the bullet with their name on it
Fingers of death awaiting in this foul forest pit.

Though now they were just boys on a campout,
Full of fun, just playing about
No cares, no worries, no grown-up doubt
Long before affairs of men came
In gentle forest perils of youth, this game.
O how my thoughts go racing to that peaceful past
We never dreamed could never last.

Now in Vietnam's jungles, I'm suddenly yearning,
In imagination's dreaming sent careening,
Lost in thought imagining
Merit badges combat infantrymen
By the fistful must surely be earning.

Eagle Looking

Boys arrive in Nam, just SCOUTS without rank,
From there all worldly fortunes immediately sank,
Death could not these "boys next door" outflank
Boys gungho-naïve, Hoping against hope,
Knowing not of war's breadth and scope.
rank of Tenderfoot We lived through the green new guys TENDERFOOT rank,
In Vietnamese jungles dark and dank
With here and there a lifesaving break,
Lucky we didn't die, you wanna be quite frank,
Facing men preoccupied with our dying point blank.
rank of Second Class Soon soldiers passed the SECOND CLASS rank
Seasoned combat warriors lean and lank,
Arriving at the opinion, war horribly stank
But, In God We Trust, and with great gratitude thank!
rank of First Class Earning a FIRST CLASS infantry badge
As war's travails we dodge
Was a piece of cake
Now we're combat veterans, for goodness sake,
rank of Star Looked upon as leaders,
War's short-time elders
We earned a combat warrior award, the STAR
To go far and beyond this cruel little war...
rank of Life Praying to God to preserve sweet life,
Through bloody, muddy, violent strife...
We earned the badge of LIFE rank too,
As survival tips we listened to...

For like Boy Scouts, combat infantrymen
Must learn keen judgment's insightful acumen
Must always “Be Prepared,”
In life and death matters organized,
To this horror by your skill survive
With Boy Scout brothers to stay alive.

The fabric of goodly virtue ever imparts,
Though war from youthful hearts
Or frail innocence will surely tear
Bringing a lifetime's deep despair.

rank of EAGLE Our generation answered the call
In loving service gave their all
To duty heedless,
To danger mindless,
Of protesters that jeered,
With impassioned hatreds leered.

Stout-hearted patriotism held dear.
Not a word did these brave youth hear,
To deter from honor bound,
Not a sound
Could from sworn duty come dissuading
Valiant youth persuading.

Thus, combat's natural star in heaven burns
As our combat hero earns...
Boy Scouting's most noble reward,
Receive the coveted EAGLE Scout award,
Soaring combatants rising battle-scarred
Learning, attaining, working very hard
Win lofty rank of an eagle,now calm,
Men who nevermore will sing the innocent's psalm.
rank of Eagle with Palm Having gone too far above, too far beyond,
In brotherhood's bond
Earning in combat an EAGLE PALM,
To allay tortured misgivings qualm,
Citizenship in the Community merit badge Boy Scouts answered the call to duty with distinction rife,
Engendering stresses to last throughout life
As do these boys around me
Of the combat infantry...
Displaying outstanding Citizenship to their Community
Preserving beloved freedom, for you and me,
Citizen soldiers fulfiling duties valiant accord
Truly earned a Distinguished Service Award
Citizenship in the nation Merit Badge Their merit badge, “Citizenship in the Nation,”
Should earn the love of a country's great elation
Bugles blowing great sounds of tribulation
A solemn oath
Honoring in pride liberties both,
To community and nation.

Boy Scouts do not from duty shirk,
Like some protesting, non-committing jerk...
Biding rancorous in honorable men's craw.
Boy Scouts dream patriots' dreams of right and law
Knowing what needs doing, as good citizens, Boy Scouts saw.
Citizenship in the World Merit Badge As soldiers of the right stood forever willing
Willing their very lives if need be giving,
To for grand principles, their patriots' blood shedding,
To fight for justice
Thus their merit badge is a Divine auspice
For citizens in this world,
That our flag of freedom might wave forever unfurled.
First AidMerit Badge A nation's sons honor our heritage grand,
Instill freedom's precepts in a foreign land.
As minutemen they considered liberty and justice first,
To the field of battle in forthright honor burst.
For courageous beliefs they gave the highest price paid,
Thus earning the Merit Badge for “First Aid.”

Wilderness Survival Merit Badge Oh what a good Boy Scouting skill Rifle ShootingMerit Badge
Into us did the army forthrightly drill
Lessons of wilderness survival instill,
How for our country to shoot to kill,
Taught rifle marksmanship,
How to shoot from the hip,
Shotgun Shooting Merit Badge With M-16, machine gun, grenade launcher,
Boy Scouts use whatever weapon fits the bill
Shotgun shooting eradicates Vietcong fighting will.
American CultureMerit Badge To earn an “American Culture” Merit Badge,
Combat grunts live side by side
To earn an “American Heritage” merit badge, American Heritage Merit Badge
Never another to deride
Live with brothers of every racially ethnic pride,
Vietnam's lost Boy Scouts respect cultural differences,
Tolerate national differences,
Americans all ethnic differences in combat abide,
To come out alive on the ponds other side,
Embracing religious differences no matter how wide,
On each other brothers in arms depending
Each others American Heritage appreciating, Protecting,
Guarding each others backs in special brotherhood,
Life, liberty and pursuit of happiness as Americans should.
American Labor Merit Badge To earn an “American Labor” merit badge,
Comrades in arms must depend on one another
For life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, my brother,
Americans should.
Guard each others backs in special brotherhood,
Backpacking Merit Badge Infantrymen hands down
Earn a “Backpacking” merit badge.
An infantryman lives on what he carries on his back, Camping Merit Badge For combat infantry soldiers are forever camping,
Very existence non-stop hiking,
At the end of each day bivouacking.
So naturally earn the “Camping” merit badge!
Hiking Merit Badge Scouts are forever hiking,
While Infantryman are marching
Through the boonies humping
Good scouts forever for Charley go searching,
Till they earn their just reward,
The fifty miler hiking award...
50 mile award
And then they go out and hike it again,
Humping again and again...
And again and again...
Hiking for the infantry seeming never to end,
A long journey to nowhere
Over Vietnam's rugged fare
Terrain soldiers wend,
To where blisters into blisters blend.
Cimbing Merit Badge Whether climbing,
To Montagnyard mountains ascending
The sky touching in copters clambering,
plummeting to earth in death defying repelling,
In double time fast before men hating
With all their being at you shooting.
Orienteering Merit Badge Through the perils of Nam infantrymen go Orienteering
Boy Scout's skills learning
Through rounds of maps following,
Guiding over terrain persevering,
Calling in coordinates for Air bombing,
Ducking while all around come strafing and striking,
Mapping logistics grid for Artillery supporting.
sachel charge

All the while soldiers live every day prepared
For that rock-your-world blast
They know will someday come,
When the whole of existence before your eyes passed.
Astonomy Merit Badge Combat infantrymen look long and longingly
As Boy Scouts peering at the face of the moon,
Marveling at craters that make young girls swoon
Back there in "the worlds" glowing loom,
Hoping lunar magic carries them away from war's tune,
Remembering better times in hope to rejoin soon.
Of a family and girl back home's love,
Soldiers remember feelings distilled from that golden orb above.

Who knows if Charley has a surprize up his black pajama sleeve
That the whole of your senses just can't believe.
In a heartbeat, action can of senses relieve,
Make this "boy next door" see stars,
Blasted from Jupiter to Mars.
Athletics Merit Badge Combat soldiers train hard for war's athletics, Sports Merit Badge
For in this blood sport they need know all combat tricks,
For in the Nam lie life and death stakes.
Where there can be no mistakes.

For breathes there a man with soul so dead
Who cannot see around him Boy Scouts in Nam's campout bed See influences of Scouting in the fight for freedom led.
Boys just dreaming of incorporated sports
Basketball, football, baseball...
Throwing grenades for pinpoint accuracy,
Dependable consistency,
Dream of track's dashing and jumping,
While combat assaulting,
Shooting for a distant goal,
Or digging that foxhole
Lifesaving Meritorious Award America's combat infantryman
Deserve a meritorious life saving award,
Putting lives on the line to communism retard,
Standing up to virulent vietcong foes,
These All-American heroes.
Using resourceful skill in ways extraordiniary
With honor bearing risk to themselves exemplary
Deservedly laudable,
Deservedly admirable...
Communications Merit Badge Using skills of communication Crime Prevention Merit Badge
In action bearing principles of freedom's transmission.
Combat Infantrymen display a high degree of crime prevention skill
Boy Scouts truly bringing to pass freedom and justice Nam to fill
Fighting for the rule of law in Vietnam's beleaguered society,
With all might and moral propriety
Sharing their nation's goodness
With a Boy Scouts zeal of right-mindedness.
Indian Lore Merit Badge Now I know this may be stretching,
But boys next door spent a year closely studying
Indigenous habits of VC native lore,
Through Nam's lingering and dreary war.
That a young nation suffer not freedoms from them tore,
Americans with honor bore,
A necessary, fatalistic, deadly, combat chore.
Radio Merit Badge And talking of fit...wanna be the platoon RTO,
Hump that heavy, cumbersome radio...
It has its perks,
You'd always know where the Vietcong lurks,
You'd always be in on the know,
First in your squad to hear where you will go,
If you just had a place extra gear to stow.
Personal fitness Merit Badge Combat infantrymen HAD to be fit...
Their life, and those of brothers, depend on it,
So to achieve personal fittness.
They walked 10 clicks...maybe 30, in combat readiness.
Assaulting with intensity during battle's heated fray,
Sprinting for cover when into an ambush did stray,
Dodging the Congman's vicious hit,
Dancing with the bullet with his name on it,
Chopping through the thick bamboo shi---uh, er, overgrowth.

Weather Merit Badge Combat grunts are real experts on the weather.
Through up-close-and-personal information they gather,
Weathermen finding two kinds of weather...
Either hot and humid,
Or frog strangling wet and humid.
Aviation Merit Badge Airmobile infantry are born with that whop-whop-whop sound.
Spend as much time on helicopters as on the ground.
Forever ingrained in their brains
Lost Boy Scouts of Nam retains
As a lingering part of them still
The sound of napalm and bombs from air cover shrill,
Setting the soul on fire
With a horror that over lifetimes transpire,
To in young men's hearts forever enmire.

Cooking Merit Badge Remember tasty C-rations cooked on C-4
That from Claymore mines GI's gluttonously tore
To make living in this inhuman war
A little more palatable
Restore human amenities respectable.
Emergency Preparedness Merit Badge Boy Scouts and infantrymen
Always prepared for any emergency Environmental Science Merit Badge
Scouting awards live combat infantry's motto,
Deep in Nam's jungle ghetto
Act as if your very life depended on it, kid...
Which it certainly did!
For here we're not playing ticktacktoe!
Just trying not to be a dead hero.

Boy scouts lives here are most seriously endangered,
Just trying to conserve our very species threatened,
manipulating the environment,
Using it between vietcong and us
Scientific symbiosis.
Fire safety Merit Badge Following fire safety rules, Family Life Merit Badge
through modern chemistry miracles,
Which meant fire on them before they fire on us.
War's assuredly altered Charley's habitat,
With bullet diplomacy imposed in dogmatic diktat!
Destroying his family life to further ours,
Where have gone all the flowers?
Only an ominous sound asks the question,
With a lamenting suggestion.

Forestry Merit Badge Always with a mindful eye on wars dangers, Public Health Merit Badge
Aware of situations combat infantrymen angers,
Knowing full well the major causes of death's thin mortality
Young Boy Scouts patrol mid dark and dank Nam's forestry,
Where life depends on knowing every branch of every tree you see,
A war defoliating
Vietnam's vast forestry,
Excersizes in "Public Health" Checking
While with fevered intensity the VC's health wrecking.
All disease bearing bacteria analyzing,
Fungus, like the cong, we're monitoring,
Like our lives depended on it...which of course, it does!
Medicine Merit Badge Embracing the use of medicine in concert with nature, Nature Merit Badge
To better safety insure,
SafetyMerit Badge
Ever watching,
Ever guarding,
Ever mindful of health and hygiene needing,
Trying to hold down the jungle rot
In war's incivility fraught.

Watching every insect and twig that moved
Men who wanted to see their families again behooved.
GI's knew of Hippocrates...
Had hypocrites not sent them to this war to win.
To learn real good the wages of sin...
Come on, give me a break...
I'm joking for goodness sake.
We know about Hippocrates, the father of medicine,
The next most important thing to the gun...
To cure your ills
When your soul with lead fills.

The invention of gunpowder...they knew about it!
Leeuwenhoek, Florence Nightingale, and Louis Pasteur,
They knew about it.
Walter Reed they didn't know,
But too many got up close and personal with his hospital.
Radiologic technologists,
Physical therapists,
Occupational therapists,
Respiratory therapists,
Physicians and Psychologists,
Grunts knew all about them...
Too often would combat infantryman need them...
Too often would combat infantryman bleed for them.
Skating Merit Badge Above all, the skating merit badge bestow
disseminate its glory on combat infantrymen sow
Because for over a year we've been skating on thin ice,
You know, throwing fate's fatal dice
Keeping our balance cool,
Abiding by every golden combat rule,
Using every combat tool
Just to stay alive
T So across the pond, and right down main street,
Could ex-infantrymen their GTO proudly drive,
Standing hickory straight and tall,
Our heads held high above them all.
We as Americans had answered our countries call,
While those about us ran and hid,
Or nothing did.
Theater Merit Badge All the while we acted like we knew what we were doing,
Playing the role with distinction performing
Our chores with honor executing
Using war's props with dramatic,
Heroic flare maintaining.
American freedoms through one more war preserving,
One more war till the next war persevering...
Eagle Medallion Most assuredly by now we've won the Eagle Rank,
In combat's jungle games dark and dank,
Where lost boyscouts lay sweating,
All around us friends dying
In the heat and the mud,
Fighting for our country in gore and blood.

I was recently asked to write a poem for a Boy Scout convention...

How Boyscouts can Build a Citizen
Flag by Gary Jacobson scout flag
To build a good citizen,
Start with love, thought, and blessed reason.
For Uncle Sam depends on you... just you...
Scouting principles to support in all you say and do.

How do you, a young boy, support a country,
Instill precepts of liberty in democracy,
Mold yourself into the man you want one day to be?
Well, don’t dawdle and delay! Start today!

Here's one way a Scout can help America
It’s as easy as saying "Abracadabra!"
Make America beautiful... pick up unsightly trash!
Turn aluminum cans littering highways into cash.

Always remember, duty starts at home
To help America, you really don't have far to roam.
Help busy parents working for military or government,
please. Help clean up your house; others' lives ease,
It’s a breeze!

On every possible occasion, for whatever reason
It matters not time, holiday, nor season,
Send "God Bless You" and "Thank You" cards to the troops
Fill lonely spirits that far from home droops.

Scouts, you can God's Kingdom on earth create!
In all things you say and do, the Son of God emulate!
Adopt in your lives the idea of eternal progression.
Make love in service your greatest possession.

Our national motto is "In God We Trust."
God wants us to our fellow man be just.
Through Scouting programs achieve your greater destiny
A generation of brave leaders in the land of the free.

Above all, O Scouts, pray for peace,
That nightmares of horrible war in our nation will cease.
Diligently study history to learn how government works.
Don’t lie around the house like do-nothing jerks!

Learning is important...for history indeed repeats itself!
The best way to help America, is to help yourself;
For someday YOU will help run our country,
Keeping worldly wolves out of the USA pantry.

Write letters to lawmakers, noble right to discern.
Question appointed and elected officials at every turn.
For all good things learned in your mind should burn,
For knowledge of all great things you must start to yearn!

Love for God and country on each Scout's heart imbue,
For good works in good conscience sue...
Remember, there's so very much to do,
"Do Your Best" before each day is through.

So Scouts, with all of your getting...get going!
Tomorrow's future indeed lies in young hands so willing
Scouts, His gardeners, in Christ's vineyard are seeds sowing.
Fragrant bouquets planting, flowers of youth abundantly growing!

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VIETNAM PICTURE TOUR from the lens of a combat infantryman
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.