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Vietnam Wall
Photo Courtesy: Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall Site

"Lone Slick"
T. Nesbitt

At first a dark speck in the clear blue sky,
The Huey descends from it's safety on high.
The pilot now spots his small L/Z ahead,
A hole in the jungle evokes feelings of dread.

A one ship insertion with no gunships along,
Is never safe, lots of things could go wrong.
He drops to low level a mile from the spot,
Skimming the treetops, he's done this a lot.

The lower and faster he flys near the ground,
Increases the odds he will take fewer rounds.
A scan of the instruments says all there is well,
On short final approach to a hover in hell.

A quick glance around and the L/Z looks cold,
But one never knows in a tight hover hole.
Instinct tells him that it's time for his flare,
A last look around cause there's no room to error.

The slick rares up, like a part of his body,
Stand on it's tail, it's no time to be shoddy.
The hole in the jungle will hold only one ship,
As the nose slowly falls into place with a dip.

The rotor blades chop off a palm tree branch,
Insuring an exit without taking more chance.
The gunners are scanning the treelines around,
Be sure that ole Charlie was not to be found.

The intercom squawks with a "clear right and left Sir,"
A sigh of relief from the crew as the winds stir.
The slick settles in to a high six foot hover,
The sawgrass so thick is blown back to uncover,

The brilliant white flash neath the pilots chin bubble,
Plexiglass flying, they all know they're in trouble.
White hot shrapnel cuts deep in his legs,
As four grunts jump off and four more renege.

A booby trap bomb had just ruined a nice day,
Beneath the sawgrass it was hidden away.
His training had taught him to be wary of this,
One hole in the jungle held deaths deadly kiss.

Sudden reflex result in a pulling of power,
To a thirty foot hover as things start going sour.
This giving the pilot a quick look around,
Back down he goes to put more grunts aground.

But two have been hit, leaving two to insert,
Get out of here now and check on the hurt.
The instrument panel is flashing it's lights,
Saying "out of here now, come back later to fight."

The wide Mekong river is directly behind,
A quick pedal turn with an engine that whines.
He follows the river back toward safety and home,
The slicks making noises in it's guts like a groan.

Warning lights, buzzers will drive you insane,
Getting bent out of shape will mess up your brain.
The airfields in sight now but low RPM,
At one hundred knots he low levels on in.

A long running landing seems logical now,
As the skids slide along, the engine goes POW!
He slides fifty yards and slowly drags to a stop,
Then dreams of cold beer, fifteen cents a pop.


"Hover & Take-Off"
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