Scrapbook Two Hundred Forty Seven…

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December, 2019

 

Wherever the Bugle Blows

On the 24th of August, 1968, I was shot down in south Vietnam. One-hundred and nineteen days later, I was shot down again, that time in the jungle of Laos.

Thirty minutes after I ejected from my crippled fighter, it was dark. There could be no rescue attempt at night. No one knew where I was.

But the next morning, at first light, a recovery plan was in operation. A C-130, full of search and rescue experts, was circling high, directing my rescue. A forward air controller (FAC) spotter plane had found me and pinpointed my position on the ground. It was Lt. James Swisher.

Four Sandy airplanes whose duty it was to strafe all around my position to keep enemy heads down, were doing their job. Four F-100 fighters, flying low and fast, and pulling Gs, were ready to roll in on any enemy position the FAC could find. Several other fighters, including a Misty, were close by, sauntering just out of the way, and ready to come in if needed.

A Jolly Green Giant helicopter (the Candy Ann) came in low and dropped 240 feet of cable with a heavy jungle penetrator attached. Airman Bob Sully, and M/Sgt. Lee Maples, were watching from the chopper. When they saw me unfold the penetrator’s legs and strap on, they activated the hoist that reeled me 175 feet up through the tangle of trees and an additional 65 feet above that canopy to the relative safety of the helicopter.

Meanwhile, a spare Jolly Green circled 1000’ above my position and was ready to assist if the Candy Ann started taking battle damage.

Looking back at that incident, which occurred almost exactly fifty-one years ago, I am still humbled, and proud. And honored that all of that effort was expended in harm’s way just to save my life. I wish I could express myself more eloquently.

I wanted to say those things now, at a time when our military seems to be taking heat from every radial. Are we ready to handle a homeland assault from a foreign power, especially one who possess gigantic weapons? We were not on December 7, 1941 when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Could that happen again? We must keep our military strong.

Forrest’s collage painting

This old flag flies to warn anyone who sees her weak. Long after they have gone, she will wave, still at her peak, daring all of those who call her out to test her wrath and act as foes. Her strong stripes still proudly there, her resolve still strong, her teeth still bare, ready to charge again…wherever the bugle blows. f

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scrapbook One Hundred Sixty Four…

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JANUARY 2017

When Forrest sent me this poem I was put a little aback, Here is what I sent him:

“I don’t know how long you worked on that poem but it is pretty delicious, gut-wrenching and personal…
It’s very cool Forrest…
I think it reveals a lot about your feelings about war…
and loss…
But it conceals a great deal as well and that will be what folks will discuss…

I noted a couple of typos…or maybe they are intentionals…

Imagination is more fun than knowledge 
Did you mean to spell knowledge correctly…?
You have a reputation for your unique spelling of knowlege..

where on some Flanders Field my favoured companions fought.
Did you intend to use the Brit spelling of favored?…probably so…it works very well…

This mysterious vestige of a sailing past, shappend by myriad winds and waves, 
Did you mean shappend or shaped?

And here is what Forrest replied:
“Leave everything alone.”

Below is Forrest’s poem and original note:


Imagination is more fun than knowledge

A wanderer chanced upon this driftwood art, shipwrecked and lonely on a sandy shore. At least to me it plays that part; an olden sailing ship,
and nothing more.
Or maybe it’s a desperate soul, a sentimental sort, standing on a sodden knoll, searching for his Candy Ann, who, absent from her role, lately departed from a distant port.
And no one was there to pay her toll.
Or is it not his throbbing Ann, wrapped in shroud against the breezing cold, yelling with all she can, a screaming voice so loud, and nothing there is told.
Is she below the saline door forever reaching back no more?

But is it all for naught, wild upon my imaginations fraught; dreaming of wild journeys too late sought, or of cold battles where on some Flanders Field my favoured companions fought.
Let it stop now, and be no more.

This mysterious vestige of a sailing past, shappend by myriad winds and waves, occupies my hand at last, subject to whatever whim my mind, in its wanderings, craves.
And that will henceforth, forever be her lore.


A treasure searcher, a pleasant stranger, posted me this wonderful wooden hand-size object along with words that bare, wonderful enough to covet, yet too personal to share.

This paragon of expression stands straight and bold. Its blackened keel, harden by fire, hints of battles fought and won. A single jib yet unfurled, still serves testament to this vessels willingness to bare its gun.

Surprisingly the forces of oceanic turbulence combined to pare this ready boat. I’ve told you what I think, but what else does it know?

Thank you for the favor, Mister Poe. f