And I Served With Pride

I left a boy, I'll return a man,
The day I landed in Vietnam.
There's a stench in the air- smells like death,
A smell I'll have with every breath.

The heat is oppressive, hot as hell,
A breeze blows across, Oh, God! Here's that smell,
"Get on the truck," the Sergeant did shout,
"Grab a duffle bag, soldier, and move out",

Wide-eyed and scared, full of fear,
I'll write home to Mom and tell her I'm here,
And hope she'll say a daily prayer,
I pray to God that he'll be fair.

And let me go home when my tour is through,
I turn to my buddy and ask, "How about you?"
"One year from today, we'll catch that freedom bird,"
A sigh of relief is almost heard.

"Get off the truck, with bag in hand,
Welcome, troops, you're now in Vietnam."
If I live to be one hundred and two,
I'll remember this day, how about you?

Oh, God! I'm scared, scared as hell,
Here comes that dreaded, awful smell.

I get to my unit, and I'm issued my gear.
I pray to God, "Let me survive this year."
Tomorrow's the day, I'm going to the field,
I ask myself, "Is this for real?"

The Sergeant says, "Saddle up! Grab your ruck sack,
Take your bag and baggage, put it on your back,
We're going to meet the little man,
Remember, you are now in Vietnam."

We slog through the mud, the jungle and such,
But always within the radio's touch.
Ahead, I hear a rifle crack,
The point man says, "I've made contact."

We deploy, spread out, on a scrimmage line,
"Oh God! I hope it's not my time."
We're taking fire, we're under attack,
The bullets whiz, the rifles crack.

"It's an ambush!" An ambush - a grunt's real dread,
Only thoughts of surviving race through my head.
Did I chamber a round? Did I lock and load?
Oh, God! I wish I wasn't here on this road.

I hit the ground, roll off to the side,
My heart is thumping, I'm churning inside,
I slip my arms from the straps on the pack,
Gotta lighten this load upon my back.

From the "Vill", the little man is bringing smoke,
He's kicking our tails, radio silence is broke,
The Captain calls for extraction, or some relief,
Through the cussing and praying, the gnashing of teeth.

Cries of agony and pain permeate the place,
There's a look of despair on every face,
"Where the hells is all the fire coming from?"
"There's the smoke! I see that scum!"

At that, we redirect our fire,
We dump everything, and we vent our ire.
The artillery setting back over the hill,
Is given the command to level the "Vill".

The artillery acknowledges the last command,
Replies back, "Men, put your faces in the sand."
Through the smoke and the dust, the big shells rain,
In the back of my mind, I'm haunted again.

Oh, God! I'm scared, scared as hell,
Here comes that dreaded, awful smell.

The firefight is over, a strange mood about,
The silence is broken by the Sergeant's shout,
"Gotta get me a nose count, Now regroup.
Hey, Wake up soldier. Come here, troop."

The count is taken, the point man is dead,
Of his courage and bravery, much could be said.
He was a fine young man, left a baby and a wife.
Too bad he had to give his life.

My tour goes on, always the same,
The only change is the place and the name.
Dong Tam, Tay Ninh, Trang Bang, Ane Ke,
Dong Tam, Phu Bih, Chu Ci, Song Be.

As time goes on, as it did begin,
I can see my tour come to an end.
I've seen many die while in combat,
I know the meaning of life, I know where it's at.

I have had this thought, many times absurd,
Tomorrow I'll catch that freedom bird.
To fly home to the "world" to Mom and Dad.
How many times this dream I've had?

Oh God! I'm scared, scared as hell,
Here comes that dreaded, awful smell.

Well, they gave me some medals, some "I've been theres,"
But as I go to the "world", I wonder who cares.
'Bout all I gave, when I got my call,
'Bout all I gave, damn near gave my all.

With gravel in my gut, a tear in my eye,
I bid my buddies a fond, last goodbye.
With duffle bag in hand, I turn on my heel,
God, it's hard to describe the things I feel.

The highs and lows, the joy and fears,
The bravery, the sadness, the laughter and tears.
I jump in the jeep, with not even a word,
Mom's daily prayers were surely heard.

I went to do what I had to do.
Carry the torch of freedom of red, white and blue.
I ask nothing from any man,
But accept me now, here, shake my hand.

Once and for all, put me to rest,
I gave my country my very best,
Help me heal these wounds, festering deep inside,
I've served my time, and I served with pride.

Oh, God! I'm scared, still scared as hell,
Can I now forget that awful smell?

George H. Meyers