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SHADOW

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Garry Owen - An old Irish song that became the regimental March of the 7th Cavalary regiment (Airmobile)

Charlie - Short for Victor Charlie , the initials VC of the Viet Cong guerrillas who fought along side the North Vietnamese Army in the Vietnam war.

Bell UH1 Iroquios - Nicknamed the 'Huey', a helicopter used for transporting troops into battle.

Broken Arrow - A term used by the military in battle to say that all personnel would be annihilated if help was not forthcoming.

 

It was a glorious summers day and I woke up with the lark Got my wheelchair ready and then headed to the park I noticed a girl out jogging, with her dog down by the lake And felt a chill as they approached me and I did a double take. The dogs tail was wagging and he ran over to me It took my mind back to '65, for what's now a painful memory It was when I lost the use of my legs, and ended up in a wheelchair But I consider myself lucky because I got out of there. I was with the 58th infantry in South Vietnam With a dog scout unit at camp Tau 'Na Cam I trained for three months with a dog called Shadow A German shepherd who'd follow me everywhere I'd go. My posting came through and I was being sent To join the 7th Air Cavalry, Custer's old regiment Ten Huey's were being prepared and ready to go On a search and destroy mission to where I didnt know. I settled in then played baseball with some guys from Tennessee Shadow would run and fetch the ball and bring it back to me Then over the public address system we heard 'Garry Owen' play It was a signal that the mission, would be soon underway. Soldiers were darting here and there; getting ready to go I too got ready and then put a harness on Shadow The Huey's blades were rotating and we all climbed aboard Then ten Huey's lifted off gracefully, and like birds we soared. We were heading north across jungle, just skimming the trees Shadow leaned his head out, he was enjoying the breeze We landed in a clearing and all quickly jumped out Running for cover because we knew 'Charlie ' was about. The Huey's didn't hang around and were soon flying high And soon were specks in the distance, in that bright azure sky The Captain signaled to move forward cautiously Myself and Shadow were at the front, to seek out the enemy. Unknown to us the intelligence, had been totally wrong Up ahead were two North Vietnamese regiments, and Viet Cong Shadow pricked up his ears and started growling Then all hell broke loose as the enemy started firing. We took cover and returned fire but 'Charlie' was all around Odd's were heavily stacked against us so we headed for higher ground The Captain was angry that the intelligence had been so wrong We wouldn't have stood a chance and couldn't have held out for long. He radioed for help and said " broken arrow, We need air support now or we won't see tomorrow" He gave control the coordinates confirming they were right Then carried on firing against the North Vietnamese might. We took casualties but held our ground and kept them at bay Then over the radio came a message, "birds on their way" We made for the clearing and beat a hasty retreat Then I stepped on a mine and was blown off my feet. I was conscious but couldn't feel my legs, then saw a lone 'Charlie' Holding up his rifle, he was getting ready to finish me Then out of nowhere I saw Shadow who went on the attack 'Charlie' fell over bleeding heavily and then I heard a loud crack. Shadow gave a loud whimper and I knew he was dead A sniper had shot him with a bullet to the head Then above me in the sky, I heard an almighty roar And saw five B47's drop their payloads and 'Charlie' was no more. I passed out with the pain and woke up in a hospital bed Then I had the flashbacks and realised Shadow was dead The army medically discharged me, I could no longer walk I was traumatised by my experience and for months couldn't talk. My mind came back to the present day as the girl said "Prince really likes you", as I was stroking his head It was as if Shadow had come back to check up on me And for the first time in years, I went home feeling happy. Written 17th April 2021. YOUR PERSONAL FAVORITE, NO. 2 Poetry Contest. Sponsored By L. Milton Hankins.

Copyright © | Year Posted 2021




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Date: 4/13/2022 3:23:00 PM
noticing this one, a personal fave of yours and also top poem of your best list. Wonderful story and so sad!
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 4/13/2022 3:45:00 PM
Thank you very much for your return visit Andrea, I read a lot and it was a story I read about Vietnam that inspired it. Haven't been on much been renovating our garden. Hope you're keeping well. Tom
Date: 12/17/2021 11:48:00 AM
Beatiful story for a sad, grisly war. They are very brave animals those dogs. So courageous. Did you do a tour of duty in the Vietnam War? My father did, first Australian regiment into Vietnam. And then 2 more. So I have great respect for military men and women who serve to protect their countries, and other wars which many people think they shouldn't. War is a dreadful thing, however, to be a pacifist is commendable over those who politically erupt war.
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 12/17/2021 2:14:00 PM
Thank you very much Leanne, I'm happy that you enjoyed it. It was a work of fiction but inspired by a true story I had read about war dogs. The Vietnam war was a brutal war and like any war creates more problems than it solves. But sometimes they are necessary from a humanitarian point of view like the war on ISIS in the middle east. I enjoyed reading the link you attached about war dogs in Vietnam, sad that many were left behind and classed as equipment, Glad to see that the rules have changed and they are now brought home after a conflict. I live in the UK so never served in Vietnam. Hope you have a happy Christmas and a happy and healthy New year. Tom
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Lady Labyrinth
Date: 12/17/2021 12:13:00 PM
https://www.vvmf.org/topics/Dogs-of-the-Vietnam-War/
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Lady Labyrinth
Date: 12/17/2021 11:49:00 AM
Later my father came back from Vietnam and transferred from Army into R.A.A.F. where he was based at Amberley Airforce base and then he transferred us to an Airforce Base on the Great Dividing Range, Queensland. He was a Flt Lietenant in the Airforce and on that base he was also the Adjutant. Part of his ovesee was the R.A.A.F. kennels. I remember him taking my 2 younger sisters and I to see the dogs, all German Shepherds. They are very courageous animals. Fearless, loyal to a fault and highly protective. On another note, my father's initials are V.C. and I remember him being pulled up for a speeding ticket by police and telling them his name was Victor Charlie Bravo. lol...I think he might have had a bit of Christmas cheer. lol. I'll trust and take a dog or cat as loyal companion over human any day. Love this poem about the dogs best - but most of the others I have read are stellar Tom.
Date: 12/8/2021 5:08:00 PM
Hello Tom, I am relatively new to PS. I read about what a powerful poet you are. This is deeply moving & profound. I am the niece of a double amputee from the Viet Nam war. I always thank vets I meet. My mother wrote a book about my Uncle, titled Outrageous Hero. I am so glad to have found you and your writing. It's wonderful and moving. I look forward to reading more.
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 12/8/2021 11:30:00 PM
Thank you very much Marikate, although it was a fictional write it was a true story that inspired it. I'm happy that you enjoyed it. Tom
Date: 11/3/2021 2:49:00 PM
A True story of what it was like in Vietnam during the war. Excellent discription and imagery. The story flowed and the rhyme was great. Thanks for sharing your story in "Shadow" with us Tom. Bill Baker
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 11/3/2021 2:54:00 PM
Thank you very much Bill, it was inspired by a true story of a dog handler that served in the Vietnam War. Im happy that you enjoyed it. Tom
Date: 10/20/2021 11:12:00 PM
A beautifully long narration and a great story. Congratulations!
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 10/20/2021 11:16:00 PM
Thank you very much Christuraj, I'm happy that you enjoyed it. Hope you're keeping well. Tom
Date: 10/20/2021 10:10:00 AM
so good to see this on the winner's list tom, Many congrats:-) hugs Jan xx
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 10/20/2021 10:13:00 AM
Thank you very much for your return visit and congrats Jan, Infections on the rise here, hope you're faring better than us. Tom
Date: 10/19/2021 11:24:00 AM
WOW!!! Congratulations on your win. What a story/write and picture. Thanks for the note at the top. The great storyteller did another amazing job. Have a blessed autumn day with your wonderful win................
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 10/19/2021 11:58:00 AM
Thank you Paula for your congratulations and return visit. Hope you too have a lovely day. Tom
Date: 10/19/2021 11:09:00 AM
Hi Tom! Congratulations on yet another win for this wonderfully written story poem that just brings tears to my ears and lump in my throat! You are the master storyteller poet! What a gift! Take care. Over Fork Over!
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 10/19/2021 11:59:00 AM
Thank you very much for your return visit and congrats Sam. I hope you are keeping well. Over Fork Over. Tom
Date: 10/19/2021 7:02:00 AM
Story + Rhyme + History = 5 Stars. A sad yet delightful read Tom. Congratulations. Cheers - Gary
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 10/19/2021 7:07:00 AM
Thank you very much Gary, I'm happy you enjoyed it. Hope you're keeping well. Tom
Date: 10/19/2021 4:25:00 AM
Fantastic storytelling Tom, nice controlled pace throughout, Vietnam was indeed a terrible war for all sides involved, but you take it a step further with the heroics and loyalty of shadow, great ending too, fully enjoyed this read, congratulations on the win, cheers David
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 10/19/2021 7:06:00 AM
Thank you very much David, I'm pleased that you liked it. I was inspired by a story I read about a dog who saved an entire platoon from being massacred in the jungles of Vietnam. Sadly the dog paid with his life. Tom
Date: 10/18/2021 7:55:00 PM
Well, Tom, you've done it again. Your poem found its way to a fine position in my contest. I loved it. I cried. And, then, I said, this is one of the winners!!! Thanks for submitting it, and, congratulations!
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 10/19/2021 6:40:00 AM
Thank you very much Milton, im happy you enjoyed it second time around, thanks for my placement and of course for holding the contest. Tom
Date: 10/18/2021 7:50:00 PM
Dear Tom, your poignant and potent pen is rich and soulful. This piece is so heartbreaking and so beautifully expressed. I admire your artistry and skillful storytelling, my friend. Love the ending, especially the third line in the last stanza. Congratulations for your excellent win in Milton's contest. Warmest wishes.. ~Susan
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 10/19/2021 6:20:00 AM
Thank you very much for your congrats Susan, im pleased that you enjoyed it. Tom
Date: 8/22/2021 10:10:00 AM
This brought tears to my eyes Tom. Heartbreaking story of the love of a dog for his master Tom. We don't give nearly enough credit to our warrior canines for their faithful unselfish bravery! They ask so little and give so much! Congratulations on your win! Over Fork Over!
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 8/22/2021 1:44:00 PM
Thank you very much Sam, I was inspired by a true story I read a few years ago and created the story of Shadow, that saying a dog is mans best friend is so true. Over Fork Over. Hope you've had a lovely weekend. Tom
Date: 8/13/2021 1:37:00 AM
beautiful and emotional narration. A great and beautiful work.
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 8/13/2021 2:34:00 AM
Thank you very much Christuraj, I'm pleased you enjoyed it, I was inspired by a story I once read about a war dog who saved many lives but unfortunately he was killed. Tom
Date: 5/11/2021 3:17:00 PM
How touching your story is, Tom, and the way you have described it! For some reason, I remembered some paragraphs from Hemingway's Farewel To Arms while reading your poignant poem. Congratulations on POTD. Warm wishes ~ Mala
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 5/12/2021 11:19:00 AM
Thank you very much Malabika, im happy you enjoyed it, I was inspired by a true story I read some years ago. Tom
Date: 4/30/2021 4:30:00 PM
I see this got a POTD. Way to go, Tom!!! Sorry so late to congratulate.
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 5/1/2021 3:23:00 AM
Thank you very much Andrea, thank you for the congrats. Enjoy your weekend. Tom
Date: 4/29/2021 6:01:00 PM
Such a riveting tale, Tom: It was as if you actually lived it. It flowed out of your pen like a stream of consciousness. Great story telling. Once again I am impressed. SuZ
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 4/30/2021 2:08:00 AM
Thank you very much Suzanne, im happy that you enjoyed the story. I haven't seen you for a while, I hope that you are keeping well. Tom
Date: 4/28/2021 5:52:00 PM
This is an absolutely brilliant write that has impressed me so much that I cannot use ordinary words to describe it. This has earned a place among my favorite poems.
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 4/29/2021 4:42:00 AM
Thank you very much Robert, Im pleased that you liked it, although its a fictional write it was a true story that inspired me. Thank you too for the fave. Tom
Date: 4/28/2021 1:46:00 PM
Masterful verse, Tom, that kept me rapt to the end! Hope all goes well at your house. Many thanks for your "timely" comment re Fritz the clock-maker and what a coincidence that your captcha was "cuc"! Take great care - Bob
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 4/28/2021 1:59:00 PM
Thank you very much Bob, im happy that you enjoyed it. All good here apart from a bit of decorating im doing at the moment. Tom
Date: 4/26/2021 1:09:00 PM
Wow what a story Tom and a heart tugging ending to your moving piece. It was awesome and belated Congrats as well !!
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 4/26/2021 1:14:00 PM
Thank you very much Mike, im pleased that you enjoyed it. Thanks too for the congrats. Hope you have a great week. Tom
Date: 4/26/2021 11:14:00 AM
Yes I am keeping well. This one is worth another read. I am also enjoying the comments.
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 4/26/2021 12:46:00 PM
Thank you very much for your return visit Richard. Tom
Date: 4/26/2021 6:50:00 AM
Congratulations on your amazing and very thoughtful story and the POTD, being Army Military Working Dog means responsible for the care, use, and training of those clever Military Working Dogs, specifically during that period of the Vietnam war, Blessings my friend you are a superb writer. I enjoyed reading thanks
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 4/26/2021 6:55:00 AM
Thank you very much Lasaad, im pleased that you enjoyed it. I read a true account of a war dog that was killed in Vietnam but not before he alerted the platoon of an ambush and it was that story that inspired me. Tom
Date: 4/25/2021 6:28:00 PM
Wow Tom .... so poignant, passionate, deep , raw, real, revealing, traumatic, brutal and magical all in one . You have captured me and taken me on a journey in your shirt pocket ! Excellent. Belated congrats on POTD ! All the best , Susan :-)
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 4/26/2021 1:11:00 AM
Thank you very much Susan, im pleased that you liked it. I was inspired by a story I read some years ago and it recently came to mind. Have a lovely week. Tom
Date: 4/24/2021 4:26:00 AM
An excellent and touching narration in rhyme, Tom. I was there with you throughout! ~ Congratulations on p.o.t.d. Regards // paul
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 4/24/2021 5:25:00 AM
Thank you very much Paul, im happy that you enjoyed it. Hope your weekend is going well. Tom
Date: 4/22/2021 12:32:00 PM
A tremendous story Tom. I would have thought you were in the battle yourself! very good! Congrats on POTD!!!
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 4/22/2021 1:19:00 PM
Thank you very much Krish, im pleased that you enjoyed it. Hope you're enjoying the nice weather. Tom
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