Litter bearers burst unexpectedly
in with a casualty. Sergeant Lindsey
grabs one pole end, then BOOM!, the roof and rear
end of our frail little hooch disappear.
A swirl of black, smokey blue sky I see.
He lays prone a sprawl the deck, red bubbly
blood oozes out his neck. His wild wide eyes
flit frantically then fade and fast he dies.
He was the best of us. But our stunned grief,
"He has a wife and daughter!" is cut brief;
interrupted by a noisy dust-off
while it 'whop-whops' one more furtive drop off:
seven men who reek of blood and battle.
Twenty Howitzers BOOM! out their rattle.
They make it hard to tell whose BOOMS! are whose.
I'm still here; to worry's of little use.
We improvise; our hooch still sort of stands.
I pause to take stock and steady my hands;
steel myself: act indifferent, yet kind.
Tears could cloud my eyes, let alone my mind.
'B Med' - Company B (Medical): army medical unit in the 173rd Support Battalion at LZ English, 'Landing Zone English,' an US army base with airstrip in Viet Nam named for a dead soldier.
Hooch - Building of stacked, dirt-filled, wood ammunition boxes; sand bags and corrugated tin roof
Lindsey, Dennis Paul - born 4/18/46, KIA 11/11/69; from Milford, MIchigan
'Dust-off' - slang term for medical evacuation helicopter; also, commonly called a 'Medivac.'