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Monday, February 7, 2011

Honoring the Retirement of the UH-1 Huey Helicopter: A Poem

 By Michael D. Mullins

This poem was written at the request of J.C. Fischer for the retirement of the
Phenomenal UH-1 Huey helicopter that served us so well in Vietnam
And other soldiers for thirty or more years. We salute it and all it has done.
I could write forever. Images keep flashing. It is now the next afternoon and
The old baby is still in my mind. How do I stop it? I cannot. It was too big, too
Much a part of what we did, too huge part of our life on the ground. I was in an
Air mobile brigade and we lived with the machine…and our dead left with it.
Thank God I did not see more of that than I did. I witnessed a lot of wounded
Carried away in its not so gentle hands, but they were relatively safe there,
Soon to be in gentler hands. One vision stays with me. As we ran to her,
We were bent at the waist like subjects approaching their queen.
That was as it should have been and as it should be now as the queen
Retires to her final resting chamber. It should be something grand.

WompWompWompWompWomp…the sound!

It could be heard faintly in the distance.
It was the same but louder on nearby ground.

The dust filled my eyes, ever unmasked.
I ran to it, I ran from it, maybe I fell down.

When I needed it most my soul danced.
A Silver Bird deserted us in South Vietnam.

It took us home if we made our time.

But that big, ugly Huey was the battle ram.
It rescued us if we bled in the slime.

It pitched and yawed, I swear it even swam.
If there were trees it could even climb.

Old UH-1, in all forms, was OD green, yes.
The men inside had brass ‘nads’ too.

It was required, and they all were the best.
I never saw a crew that would not do.

Crazy men matched the ships, nothing less.
We Grunts on the ground…we knew!

We saw the Cobras, we prayed for fast fliers.
The B-52s made the earth shake below.

Puff made the sky red and our spirits higher.
The Bumble Bees were spotting a show.

“Chinooks” handled big stuff, major suppliers.
Hueys touched us every day down below.

Those old work horses were tough as hell.
Like a Timex they kept on ticking.

They carried ammo, supplies, men and mail.
We went to hot LZs pulses racing.

At times they carried food we even smelled.
In a firefight they heard our crying.

We watched the horizon for their smoking fallen.
If close to them, we would protect them.

Their sixties were voices to us, angels had spoken.
Those with red crosses were from heaven.

Dead or alive, they were there for us, loving iron.
They are the best horse the Army has seen.

It is hard to believe the best are to be retired.
They are like us, I suppose, and history now.

They are tough and can serve, but not desired.
A reliable, tough old Huey is not enough.

I can pull a trigger but I just can’t get there.
Let’s go to the bone yard and sit down.

~The poet is MWSA member, Michael D. "Moon" Mullins, award-winning author. Vietnam in Verse, poetry for beer drinkersis available on line from Amazon, B&N, and B-a-M book stores & available as an audio-book exclusively from the author. Please contact me at this e-mail address; mullins.m.1@ or via land mail at POB 456 Windfall, In. 46076.
Vietnam Veteran, Delta 3/7, 199th Light Infantry, '68-'69.
Vice President of & Ambassador of Obscurity for MWSA. One dollar from either version goes to the Wounded Warrior Project.

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