We hope you enjoy our Poems & Stories page, if you have a Poem or Story that you would like to see listed here, send it to The Webmaster.

LTJG Rolly Kidder's write up of his recent trip to VietNam. Lot of familiar names, and memories. Click here to read this fascinating account.

 


Purple Heart? Nah, Purple ASS...
There are various reasons in entering a canal. It's the PATROL OFFICER's prerogative to do so. I can honestly say that the Boat Commanders FROWN on the idea. However, we go whenever and WHEREVER the other boat goes. If it is HELL, then it's into HELL I go...
Read more »


LIGHTS OUT
Submitted by Ned Falconer
Hold me mate, please hold me,
I'm not sure what's going on.
I know that I've been hit mate,
but the pain is almost gone.
Read more »


WHAT MY MEDALS MEAN
Submitted by Ned Falconer
I'd never worn my medals; they were left there in the drawer,
so when I finally took them out, it had been twenty years or more.
My daughter saw me take them out, and asked me what they're for.
I looked at her and calmly said, "They're a reminder of a war".
Read more »


DUTY, HONOR, COUNTRY
Submitted by Larry Dunn
Brownwater Sailors of years gone by have become a dying breed.
But these are the men who carried the flag when their country was in need.
From the width and breadth of this great land they flocked to heed the call
And promised God and country that they would give their all.
Read more »


INTO THE NAM
Submitted by E. Jonathan Holmes
Into the Nam went the 9th Marines,
on a beach at Da Nang they stormed ashore.
Getting used to C-Rats and cold canned beans,
they were ready to die for the honor of the Corps.
Read more »


The Fleet Ballistic Missile Submarine
Submitted by E. A. Hughes, FTCM (SS) USN (Retired)
There was a time when all the children of our Country were aware of "duck and cover".
All were fearful in those times, of radiation, and blast effect, there seemed little chance we would recover.
The bombs we faced, or felt we faced, became more menacing each year.
Many citizens built their fallout shelters, and it mattered not what they said, it was out of fear.
Read more »


Saints Over There
Written by Sue Schneider, submitted by husband Ron Schneider
As read by Sue Scheider as the statue — dedicated to Nurses in Vietnam — passed through Springfield Ill.

She's a fine lady, known as a saint over there
She tended a wounded soldier and gave him constant care
Not ever would she let them see the tears in her eyes,
As she held him in her arms and heard his hurtful cries...

Read more »


River Patrol
Submitted by Ernest Kelly

Night time embraces us
With cold hands of fear.
With cold hands of fear
Night time chases us
And embraces us with fear...

Read more »


The Long Tao Sweepers - MSB’s in Vietnam 1965– 1970 — By Edward B Sinclair
Submitted by Clarence Cooper
The 57’ MSB’s were the backbone of US Navy Vietnam minesweeping forces and maintained Saigon’s vital link with the South China Sea at Vung Tao. Although most sailors referred to this route as the Saigon River, technically a series of rivers, this route was officially named the Long Tao shipping channel...
Read the article »


International War Veterans' Poetry Archives
Submitted by Anthony W. Paul, Webmaster
The International War Veterans' Poetry Archives (IWVPA) website is a living and growing memorial, dedicated to all warriors who paid the supreme sacrifice for their Country during all occasions where, whilst wearing the uniform of their country, they were placed in harm's way.
Visit the site »


Dead To The World
Submitted by JeanneMarie "Brooks" Wagner
Sleep by daylight
Hunt at Night
SUSH!!! or there will be a fight.... more »


He Was A Swab
Submitted by E. A. Hughes, FTCM (SS) USN (Retired)
When I was but a youngster, and knew little of this world, I was sure of this one thing.
This Sailor was the most important person that I had ever seen.
He had sailed the world but said it was the 7 seas.
He talked of Davy Jones, and white caps, and pennants whipping in the breeze.
He also spoke of other things that were very strange to me.
General Quarters, all hands man your battle stations!
And he said " I prayed, and I knew whatever was to be, would be, but I believe He answered me.".... more »


Racing Danger
Submitted by Kirk Ferguson
Was a Dastardly night,
Reminded me of home,
When the wind played the treetops,
Setting them to moan.... more »


Not This Time
Submitted by E.M. Cooper, USMC
They gathered in the 60s
And Ol’ Glory burned and tore
With all their hollow slogans such as
‘Let’s make love, not war.’... more »


Sea Story
Submitted by Ray F. Longaker Jr.
In the latter part of December 1969 I was assigned to the PBR River Division 511 at Muc Hoa just down from the Cambodian Boarder at Muc Hoa. My primary mission for RIVDIV-511 was to search out and destroy all the NVA/VC fighting positions that I could find which is a whole other story... more »


All Hands magazine story on USS Harnett County
Submitted by William Chris Caldes.
I was on the USS Harnett County in the delta from October of 67 to August of 68. During Operation Giant Slingshot, she earned the Presidential Unit Citation. more »


Thank You Soldier
By Chris Woolnough, Submitted by Phil Poisson.
Have you stopped to thank a Veteran today?
For the price of freedom they had to pay?
Did you gaze into those distant eyes?
Did you see the ghosts he can't deny? ....
more »


Once I Was A Navyman
By E. A. Hughes:
I originally wrote "Once I Was A Navyman" in 1958 while attending Denver University, as an English 102 assignment. This was after my first hitch in the Navy. In less than a year I was back in the Navy and served another 20 years. I felt the need to say something more about my experiences in the Navy for those 20 years, so I updated my original "Once I Was A Navyman" to reflect some of those experiences. This included many of the ships that I, or other Navymen that I had known served on. Along with their ships names I also tried to include the area of the country that this Navyman came from. I have had at least three phone calls or letters from Navymen who felt that I wrote "Once I Was A Navyman" just for them. I was extremely pleased with the response from old Navymen that I had known.

I did not think much about my efforts in writing and revising "Once I Was A Navyman" until I had been retired from the Navy for twenty some years. I went on the internet about 5 years ago and was trying to locate old shipmates because I had found some Navy ship sites, and many of these sites listed crew members. I also found that many of these sites carried my work "Once I Was A Navyman" but the sites would attribute this work to "Author unknown" or "Anonymous. and in many cases names of ships were changed and other wording changed as well. Even the title was changed in a number of instances. The following is a copy of my latest version of "Once I Was A Navyman".
Very Respectfully;
E. A. Hughes,
FTCM (SS) USN (Retired) .... more »


A Short & Savage Ambush
By Ivan Travnicek, Submitted by Richard Cragg.
In the dim light of dawn on 24 May 1967, a two boat Navy patrol was silently drifting down a South Vietnamese river when Vietcong machine-gun fire erupted....
more »


Freedom Is Not Free
By LCDR Kelly Strong, USCG
I watched the flag pass by one day,
It fluttered in the breeze.
A young Service man saluted it,
And then he stood at ease....
more »


"On Memorial Day"
By Cyndi Szurgot (Tom Glickman's daughter)
Fighting off of foreign shores
In countries brave to the core
That is how the time in Southeast Asia began...
more »


The Attack on Song Ong Doc
By Lee Wahler
During 1969/1970, several naval units used the Advance Tactical Support Base at the mouth of the Ong Doc River (Song Ong Doc). By July 1970, RVN River Patrol Group 62 (along with Naval Advisory Group Vietnam advisors), USN River Assault Division 15, a detachment of two HAL-3 Seawolves, a Dufflebag unit, and the NSA base support unit...
more »


Ode to A. Billy Rat; A Great Hero From the Past
Written and Submitted by Gary Marker, Mid-Atlantic Chapter.
NO ORDINARY RAT
Last year I finally met Billy the Rat
a real go getter who was champion bred
This is the story I heard long ago
from a dancing girl in old Can Tho
She told me that PBR Jack
a friend of hers told her that
while she was sipping tea a decade back
more »


When I Found Out I Was Going To Vietnam...
By Leon Tiggeman, River Division 593
You know I don’t remember any Viet Nam protesting before or after I got back from Viet Nam. I know there had to be or I would not have written attached poem 36 years ago. I was probably more concerned about chasing women than getting shot or maybe its God’s way of keeping me from being mad at the world...
more »


A DIFFERENT CHRISTMAS POEM
By Larry Darland
The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light, I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest, My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.
Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white, Transforming the yard to a winter delight....
more »


VN Historical Issue Resolved
By Sam Eaton
I've been down in the delta on the Cambodian border with a TF-116 shipmate doing research for his next book. We found the answer to a question of interest probably only to Navy Riverine Forces, a few seals, a few USN EOD, some Navy Helicopter people, some US Army 9th infantry, and a few Army SF personnel ...
more »


History of the Challenge Coin
By Jim Dickson
During World War 1, American volunteers from all parts of the country filled the newly formed flying squadrons. Some were wealthy scions attending colleges such as Yale and Harvard who quit in mid-term to join the war...
more »


Vietnam Combat Photo Surfaces After 37 Years
By Rick Townsend
Retired U.S. Navy deep water diver, HTC (DV), Steve Olson of Lynn Haven Florida never realized he was in possession of a photograph that held much importance to the crew of a patrol boat in Vietnam in 1968...
more »


The Greatest Generation
By John Lang
Since some surgery two years ago that took most of my vision, I've lived in an Assisted Living Retirement Community. At 55 I barely qualify for living here and I'm the youngest resident. I would have been a Vietnam vet or otherwise, but health problems made the military turn me down. I went around for years with my 4F Draft Card in my wallet while many others were burning theirs and the Flag...
more »


Forever Green
By Russ Vaughn
Jane Fonda seeks exoneration,
Forgiveness from her traitored nation.
What say you warriors fought that war?
Is forgiveness due that wartime whore?
So rich, so smart, she thought she knew
Much more than us, we bloodied few.
So smug, self-serving, seeking fame,
The rich bitch played her seditious game.
more »


Aboard the USS Tortuga
By Mike Wilson
I served aboard the USS Tortuga LSD-26 for 4 years. We were assigned to TF 116, PBR section 512 and detachment 29 of helicopter support squadron one. These pictures were taken August 1966 on station off the Basac River in the delta of Viet Nam...
more »


Wounds From an Old War
By Sam Eaton
I've been exchanging E Mails with a fellow Viet Nam War vet from my old unit. Back in America, he still bears the wounds and sorrows of that "lost " war. But he is wrong. We won the War...
more »


A Proud Day
By Dan Hickey
After I left Nam and after a couple of schools, I was stationed at Naval Damage Control Training Center in Philadelphia, the home of the Army Navy game...
more »


A Tribute to Veterans (Song)
By Jerry Calow

To Whom It Would Be of Interest; I wrote this song to pay tribute to All Veterans and would be honored if they were to use it on Veterans Day. I thank you and God Bless! more »


Seawolf Down
By Mike Worthington

The SEAWOLVES from Det.4 were "SCRAMBLED" for support of the River Boats and Vietnamese Army that were doing a sweep near the Parrot's Beak near the Cambodian border and ran into a bit of trouble. more »


First Confirm
By Mike Worthington

Not long after my arrival at Binh Thuy, R.V.N., home base of the Navy HA(L)3-SEAWOLVES, I started flying SEALORD's; running mail, parts, supplies to the various gunship detachments throughout the Mekong Delta, from 8/70 to 12/70. During this time I was also involved in SEAL insertions and extractions. more »


In Flanders Fields
By Rob Ruggenberg

The poem “In Flanders Fields” by the Canadian army physician John McCrae remains to this day one of the most memorable war poems ever written. It is a lasting legacy of the terrible battle in the Ypres salient in the spring of 1915. more »


The Day It Snowed
Submitted by Jim Schueckler

The usual carols played in the mess hall as the calendar showed December 24, 1969, but it didn't feel much like Christmas Eve. We were tired from a long day of flying missions-picking up infantrymen and recon patrols more »


From the Other Side of the Wall
by Patrick Camunes

At first there was no place for us to go until someone put up that black granite Wall. Now, every day and night, my Brothers and my Sisters wait to see the many people from places afar file in front of this Wall... more »


A Just and Noble Cause
Submitted by Nolan Nelson

We picked up the burden from generations before.
We grew up, went to school and then to war.
Some volunteered, But mostly we obeyed in our turn.
We said tough luck, no sweat, or freedom had to be earned.
We knew Communism or Fascism was all the same
Warping of Darwin for personal gain
Of control over another,
And not national freedom
And Christian love of your brother... more »


The First Time
Submitted by Wayne D. Paterson

The feeling that it gave me as I made that final turn,

The power of that granite, a force I'd yet to learn.

It took fourteen years to get here, it took all my strength to do,

But thanks to friends and comrades, I would finally make it through... more »


The PBRs
Submitted by Wayne D. Paterson

The name of our boat they call PBR,
The places we travel are many and far.
Our main objective the Vietnam coast,
Where few are our friends and the VC our host... more »


1979 Newsletter
Submitted by Joseph B. Vitale, River Section/Division 532

View a copy of a 1979 Newsletter... more »


Drums Along the Mekong
Submitted by Bill Rutledge

Not since the wars with the Indians on the American plains have Americans heard war-drums at night... more »


Yachting Magazine article
Submitted by Larry Bissonnette

on how the private industry helped to develop the River Patrol Boat. more »


SEAWOLVES Det.4, Phu Loi
Submitted by Mike Worthington

I was a crew/chief door-gunner with the U.S. Navy HA(L)3-SEAWOLVES. Ben Luc was the home of Det.4. Our AO-area operation-was the Plain of Reeds, Parrots Beak,Cambodia. We were known as the Slingshot Raiders and Delta Gypsies. Sometime in 1971 we were given the task of covering the river boats...more »


From the Gamewardens Archive
Submitted by Larry Bissonnette

View a copy of a news clip from one of our first reunions! more »


River Patrol Boat Formidable Weapon
Submitted for publication by Bill Rutledge

River Patrol Boat formidable weapon against Viet Cong...[a reprint of an article from the Jackson Daily News, November 25th, 1968] more »


"My Heart's At Sea Forever"
Author Unkown. Submitted for publication by Tom Anderson

Long ago, I was a Sailor.
I sailed the ocean blue.
I knew the bars in Singapore.....
The coastline of Peru. more »


V.C. Open Fire on the USS White River
This story was contributed by William Geraghty.

The L.S.M.R. came to an abrupt stop; hitting a sandbar 25 kilometers up the Go Song Gia River. The officer in charge gave orders to the engine room to back down port engine one third and forward one third on the starboard engine. The Viet Cong watched with intent waiting for the moment to strike. The crew was at General Quarters...."SW00SH" the sound of a rocket coming right at the boat. more »


The USS White River (LSMR 536): A Christmas Story!!
This story was contributed by William Geraghty.

It had been a long and hot day patrol for the 536, we were heading into Camh Rahn Bay for a 72 hour cease fire. The 536 had left the pier at Market Time Beach in the morning at 0600. It was now close to midnight as they were approaching Camh Rahn. more »


What is a Veteran?
This story was written by: Father Denis Edward O'Brien USMC

Some veterans bear visible signs of their service: a missing limb, a jagged scar, a certain look in the eye. Others may carry the evidence inside them: a pin holding a bone together, a piece of shrapnel in the leg—or perhaps another sort of inner steel: the soul's ally forged in the refinery of adversity... more »


Lady Liberty Stands Tall

Dear Friends, September 11, 2001 is a day we will, as a nation, remember. Like during Pearl Harbor, the Apollo deaths, the Challenger explosion, we will remember where we were. Tuesday I was at Liberty Island. I watched in horror as the first plane dove into the WTC buildings...more »


Bury Me With Sailors
This story was contributed by: Al Lambinus

I've played a lot of roles in life
'I've met a lot of men. I've done some things I'd like to think I wouldn't do again. And though I'm young, I'm old enough to know some day I'll die, and to think about what lies beyond, Beside whom I would lie. Perhaps it doesn't matter much; Still if I had my choice, I'd want a grave, amongst sailors when at last death quells my voice. I'm sick of the hypocrisy of lectures of the wise...more »


Old Sailors
This story was contributed by: Don Fallon, Authored by Larry Dunn

Old sailors sit and chew the fat
'bout how things used to be
of the things they've seen
and places they've been
When they ventured out to sea...more »


The Naming of the USS James E. Williams
This story was contributed by: Lee Wahler

Navy names destroyer after war hero
Remarks by MCPON(SS/SW/AW) James L. Herdt at the USS James E. Williams Naming announcement ceremony, Darlington, S.C., May 26, 2001....more »


The Battle of the Flag
This story was contributed by: Paul Cagle

It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who has given us the freedom to demonstrate...more »


Tribute to James Elliott Williams
This story was contributed by: James Ward

Navy names destroyer after war hero
This Article appeared in a local newspaper of Palm Coast, Florida....more »


The things they Carried....
Author Unknown—Remember them this Memorial Day

They carried P-38 can openers and heat tabs, watches and dog tags, insect repellent, gum, cigarettes, Zippo lighters, salt tablets, compress bandages, ponchos, Kool-Aid, two or three canteens of water, iodine tablets, sterno,LRRP- rations, and C-rations stuffed in socks...more »


Spotlight

Ben Keo - NSA River Supply Outpost A Graphic image of the August 12th, 1970 article from the Jackstaff News. more »


The Men In The Boats
This story was written by: Lt/General Johnnie Corns US Army (Ret.) Operations Officer 2nd/de 1967-68

The mist of the morning cools and softens the air
The last of the soldiers have gone down the steel stairs
He crossed the barge that lay along side the big ship
And boarded the craft making sure he did not slip... more »


Seawolf And River Rats, Burning Man In The Water
This story was written by: Bill Rutledge, Seawolf Gunner

In the early afternoon on March 6 th 1971, Airman Norm Stayton was the left Door Gunner on the lead Seawolf Gunship staging out of the Rach Gia short strip. The Fire Team was assigned to fly cover for a convoy of Army Mike boats and US PBRs transporting munitions and fuel to outposts on the Can Gao canal. These missions were very long and boring... more »


The Great Seawolf Airshow
This story was written by: Bill Rutledge, Seawolf Gunner

COME ONE, COME ALL, FOR YOU MUST SEE THE GREAT SEAWOLF AIRSHOW FROM DETS ONE, TWO AND THREE NO SLEIGHT OF HAND FROM DETS FOUR, FIVE AND SIX, BUT WITH OUR WEAPONS ,WE DO LOTS OF TRICKS. GUNNERS ON ROCKET PODS LIKE TRAPEZE ARTISTS SO FINE, YOU CAN SEE THIS ALL AT DETS SEVEN, EIGHT AND NINE... more »


River Rats and the Big Indian
This story was contributed by: Bill Rutledge, Seawolf Door Gunner

A few fond and scary memories of the River Rats. I don't recall which Riv Div it was but I was a Door Gunner with HA(L) 3 , Seawolves, Det 8 staging off the Hunderton County, Rach Gia, along with a Seal Team and the Riv. Div in early 1970. The ships crew were squared away sailors, but our crews, the rats and Seals wore anything, did anything and were crazy, wild and the bravest of the brave... more »


Mom and Dad, The War is Done
This story was contributed by: Ray Walker, River Division 532

Ray's entire crew was lost in an ambush on February 8, 1969 just North of Tra Cu. Ray was seriously wounded and his boat went up on the bank about 100 feet. The after gunner was on his first patrol. KIA were Hoopaugh, Luckett, and Belford. Shortly after the attack, Larry Bissonnette of River Division 593 was aboard the boat coordinating the efforts of all units to get the beached boat back in the water with all weapons intact... more »


The Story Behind "Taps"
This story was contributed by: Chuck Metzler

We have all heard the haunting song, "Taps." It's the song that gives us that lump in our throats and usually creates tears in our eyes. But, do you know the story behind the song? more »


I Don't Want To Be A Sailor
This story was contributed by: Larry L. Dunn

A little boy sat all alone, consumed by childish dreams A baseball glove lay by his side, unraveling at its seams. The final game had just been played, the score was 10 to 2 His little league team had lost again but that was nothing new... more »


Duty, Honor, Country
This story was contributed by: Larry Dunn—Vietnam Veteran

Brownwater Sailors of years gone by have become a dying breed. But these are the men who carried the flag when their country was in need. From the width and breadth of this great land they flocked to heed the call And promised God and country that they would give their all... more »


Just A Simple Sailor
Written by an unknown sailor on the USS LEXINGTON CV2

He was getting old and paunchy and his hair was falling fast And he sat around with his buddies telling stories of the past, Of a war that he had fought in; and, the deeds that he had done In his exploits with his buddies; they were heroes, every one... more »


The Fatal Attack on PBR 139
This story was contributed by: Paul W. Cagle.

PBR 139 of River Division 532 was hit from the west bank of the Vam Co Dong River with automatic weapons fire, 2 RPGs, and one Recoilless Rifle round. This was about 8-9 klicks north of Tra Cu going towards the Sugar Mill. It was approximately 2300 when all hell broke loose... more »


Once I Was A Navyman...
This story was contributed by: Albert.

I like the Navy. I like standing on deck on a long voyage with the sea in my face and ocean winds whipping in from everywhere—the feel of the giant steel ship beneath me, it's engine driving against the sea.... more »


Brass Monkey
This story was contributed by: Cecil Martin

Navy Lore explained! Every sailing ship had to have cannon for protection. Cannon of the times required round iron cannonballs. The master wanted to store the cannonballs such that they could be of instant use when needed, yet not roll around the gun deck...
more »


The People at Home
This story was contributed by: Jim Dickson

Rise in the morning, silence at taps—this is the way our lives elapse. We're doing our best and we know it's good But the people at home don't think we should... more »


Thoughts of Vietnam
This story was contributed by: Paul W. Cagle

Many years have passed since most of us have been in the place called "nam". Yet a lot of us still find ourselves trapped in the sights, smells and sheer horror... more »


Loose Lips Sink Ships
This story was contributed by: Arthur G Carter

A matter of priorities. It was a dark, moonless night. The watch on the bridge strained their eyes through binoculars to focus on a dim light that appeared sporadically between rain squalls up ahead. The giant ship was steaming full speed into the inky blackness... more »


Night Before Christmas
This poem was written by a Marine stationed in Okinawa Japan.
Contributed by: Rich Wilson Rahway, NJ

Twas the night before Christmas,
He lived all alone,
in a one bedroom house made of plaster and stone.

I had come down the chimney with presents to give,
And to see just who in this home did live...
more »


All Is Calm
This story was contributed by: David Ajax

For me, Christmas will always be in the music.
From those early days of grade school innocence, when nuns began the crusade to drill the words of every carol in Christendom into my brain until now, the joy of the Christmas message remains a constant prayer... more »


Outsmarted Smartalex
This story was contributed by: Al Ocanas and Arthur Carter

Pitching a Temp A soldier was asked to report to headquarters for assignment. The sergeant said: "We have a critical shortage of typists. I'll give you a little test. Type this," he ordered, giving him a pamphlet to copy and a sheet of paper, and pointing to a desk across the room that held a typewriter and an adding machine. The man, quite reluctant to become a clerk typist, made a point of typing very slowly, and saw to it that his work contained as many errors as possible... more »


Remember When...
This story was contributed by: Paul Cagle and Al Lambinus

Let's go back...
Close your eyes...And go back...Before the Internet or the MAC, Before semi automatics and crack, Before chronic and indo, Before SEGA or Super Nintendo
more »



  Mail A Friend
Instructions: Change the email address "someone@example.com to the appropriate address to send this link. You may, of course, send to as many people as you would like (use the semi-colon between addresses) and add your own comments.



Want more?

Many more stories and poems are available at war-stories.com with submissions from men & women from all branches who served in Vietnam.