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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.

Copyright © | Year Posted 2021




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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
Date: 4/21/2021 9:44:00 AM
Boy! You write these stories so well...it's like food...Congratulations Tom Cunningham on POTD.
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 4/21/2021 10:16:00 AM
Thank you very much Arturo, im happy that you enjoyed it. I hope you are keeping well. Tom
Date: 4/21/2021 6:37:00 AM
I have goosebumps after reading this story, Tom, you are a master story teller:) loved it completely:) congratulations on your POTD:)
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 4/21/2021 7:46:00 AM
Thank you very much Jo, im happy that you enjoyed it. It was inspired by a true story that I read years ago. Tom
Date: 4/20/2021 2:43:00 PM
Cool poem; I love the story -JT
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 4/20/2021 3:00:00 PM
Thank you very much JT, im pleased you liked it. Tom
Date: 4/20/2021 2:26:00 PM
You are a great storyteller Tom..I can see why this was POTD... congratulations
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 4/20/2021 3:01:00 PM
Thank you very much SO, im glad you enjoyed it. Tom
Date: 4/20/2021 1:48:00 PM
So wonderfully told. So well told! Applause! Plausible that this could end up as potd!
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 4/20/2021 2:59:00 PM
Thank you very much Kim, yes it was, It was a true story that inspired me to write it. Tom
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Kim Rodrigues
Date: 4/20/2021 1:49:00 PM
And then I see someone already noted that this is a POTD.
Date: 4/19/2021 8:11:00 AM
Tom - I am still speechless, except to say you have recorded a fine documentary and to say Thank You. I am so glad it was recognized and presented to the wider audience. - Ken DOB 10-14-49
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 4/19/2021 9:43:00 AM
Thank you very much Ken, im happy that you enjoyed it. Tom
Date: 4/19/2021 8:01:00 AM
Congratulations on POTD! A Masterpiece of a poem and a Fave for me. Such incredible detail and emotion written into this poem. Congratulations again. Love Chantelle hugs
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 4/19/2021 9:33:00 AM
Thank you very much Chantelle, im pleased that you enjoyed it. Thanks too for the fave. Hope you're well. Tom
Date: 4/19/2021 6:43:00 AM
I like the story told in poetic form plus the rhythm, rhyme and flow to the poem is very good. I know this isn't what happened to you for you have your picture and you are standing on your two legs so you did a good job of telling someone else's story. Your visit to my page was encouraging. Sara
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 4/19/2021 9:32:00 AM
Thank you very much Sara, although a fictional write I was inspired by a story I read some years ago. Tom
Date: 4/18/2021 11:22:00 PM
Wow Tom! You outdid yourself on this extremely emotional poem! I was in tears by the end. I know this is fictional from your comments but situations like this happened to so many that fought in Vietnam. You are a most wonderful storyteller and this is a masterpiece my friend. It is a Fave for me. Congratulations on your much deserved POTD honor! Blessings xxoo
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 4/19/2021 1:28:00 AM
Thank you very much Connie, this was inspired by a true story of a dog handler in Vietnam. Your right, there were many cases like it where dogs saved the lives of soldiers from ambushes. Thanks too for the fav. Hope you had a lovely weekend. Tom
Date: 4/18/2021 7:17:00 PM
Great write, Tom, heartbreaking. Congratulations on POTD well deserved pick. Hugs Eve
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 4/19/2021 1:25:00 AM
Thank you very much Eve, im happy that you enjoyed it. Hope your weekend went well. Tom
Date: 4/18/2021 6:23:00 PM
Masterfully written sir!! Awesome story Tom. Congratulations on your potd!!
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 4/19/2021 1:25:00 AM
Thank you very much Mark. Im glad that you enjoyed it. Hope you're well. Tom
Date: 4/18/2021 5:52:00 PM
Oh my ! Shadow saved his life. "It was as if Shadow had come back to check up on me" Seems that way. Your thoughts caress gently around me and my heart. This is tender and emotional, all at the same time. Congratulations Tom, on Poem of the Day. ~ Brandy
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 4/19/2021 1:24:00 AM
Thank you very much Brandy, Im pleased that you liked it. Hope you're keeping well. Tom
Date: 4/18/2021 4:23:00 PM
Moving, heartfelt and very sad Tom. The master storyteller is on full display with your lyric lines and poignant story wonderfully penned. Congratulations on your POTD! Hope you have a great week. Over Fork Over!
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 4/19/2021 1:18:00 AM
Thank you very much Sam, im pleased that you enjoyed it. Hope you had a lovely weekend. Tom
Date: 4/18/2021 3:24:00 PM
Hi Tom, This is an amazing poem. You had me thinking, "Oh my gosh! Did this happen to Tom?" You were that convincing! Glad to see in your conversation with the other poets that it was fictional. You do have a super ability to put yourself in others' shoes and become them in poems. Congrats on POTD!
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 4/18/2021 3:37:00 PM
Thank you very much Jennifer, Im pleased that you liked it. After researching the subject im writing about I run scenarios in my mind and put myself there in the middle of it. I hope you're having a lovely weekend. Tom
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