(Written January 9, 1998
You have been home for thirty years,
You wake, you sleep. you feel old fears.
It still seems just like yesterday,
Your wife will ask, "Are you OK?"
You try to rest, the sleep escapes,
You're tired of seeing those same old tapes.
Your mind still sees those moments past,
You pray this will go by fast.
If I could just go back in time,
I'd save your life or give up mine.
It was just moments of death and fear,
Yet I've relived it thirty years.
Shot down April 14, 1969. YK-5 crashed and burned.
Four crew members died:
lstLt. Michael Nickerson, pilot; Sgt. Robert M. Gendron, gunner; John E. Banister,
combat photographer; William l. Sperb, U.S. Navy, Corpman.
(Written April 14, 1998)
A wounded lieutenant was ready
to be lifted,
My chopper was steady and little had she drifted.
The hoist was down below tree
tops, he'd soon be flown to safety,
A "Purple Fox" was here he knew, to guarantee his safety.
My gunners were ready, their
eyes upon the jungle,
Their thumbs upon their butter-flys, intense above the rumble.
I heard my wounded chopper moan
as fifty's ripped through her,
I saw my wounded gunner fall and die, still trying to defend her.
Hot oils on me and fuel from
Confetti thrown at us from holes made by their fifty's,
Small arms chatter, fifty's thundered louder than our engines.
Noise of tearing, noise
of ripping, fire eating at my bird,
I lay there bleeding, I lay there hurting,
Please God help my friends inside, they are burning!
The jungle has cooled and I feel
The deed was done and their suffering ended.
Another "Purple Fox" appears
to mourn four dead,
And lift it's three wounded to a restful bed.
ARIZONA TERRITORY (NORTH)
(Written December 2, 1998)
It's that time of year again,
They'll visit my dreams again and again.
I've often asked them, "Why are you here?"
They smile and tell me, "We like being near."
They still look so young, so fit and trim,
I'm afraid to stare long, they'll look at me grim.
They tell me they're sad, they don't have a life,
They tell me to smile, I still have my wife.
Bob Gendron my gunner of many years back,
Still won't say a word, he just turns his back.
There's nothing to tell you to change the story around,
Those guys were waiting patiently to shoot our chopper down.
I'm still not sure why God chose me to crawl from YK-5
I know it would be easier, if not four had died but five.
THINGS FROM THE WALL
(Written March 4, 1999)
A little note, a piece of candy,
His dad still sees him, his name was Andy.
A pair of boots, a dog tag on
Once they were polished, now there's mud on them.
A mother's gift, a plastic rosary,
But she still misses his smile so friendly.
We was so young, I'm angry damnit,
His name adorns now, this wall of granite.
He had a girlfriend, her name
He carved her name on a pretty oak tree.
The time has gone by, no one
He had no children, but I still remember.
His mother is crying, his sister
What were his last thoughts as he was dying?
Some pictures taken of hippie
"All of my buddies" he claimed, were dying.
It's now the in thing to be a
You make up stories and talk of Tet.
But watching mothers and fathers
That doesn't give you the right for stalking.
These men had honor, they loved
And they trained hard for their tour "in country".
So now they wait for a gift from
a loved one,
You know they'll share it, with a friend who didn't get none.
A piece of candy, a toy or a
They rest in peace now, God's hand is upon all.
Cpl. Ernesto "Gooie" Gomez's History Index
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