A Year to Go
By Lyle Van Hove
D Company 4th of the 3rd
Into Bien Hoa, to Da Nang, Chu Lai then Duc Pho.
Off the chopper in ĎNam with a year to go.
Standing there waiting with all my new gear.
Just look in their eyes and see the fear.
Over 500,000 men in ĎNam and there stands one I know.
We are far out in the mountains, but here no snow.
Off I go with Orv, itís my first patrol
Within hours heís wounded, the NVA want control.
First day in the bush, I see you need a lot of luck,
Got to pay attention and know when to duck.
Out in the field we wear no rank.
Old timers are in charge, new guys walk the flank.
Started walking Slack, then Point and Drag.
Finished carrying radio, no jobs here to brag.
The old guys say to be careful and do your job right.
Always stay alert and be ready to fight.
Learning about war with all these young men.
Hoping to turn nineteen and go back home again.
Packages and letters from home is how we get by.
Tried to protect one another so no one would die.
Saw and did things I will remember for life.
We just wanted to get home to family, girlfriends or wife.
Doc was killed in an ambush and lost Shorty to a mine.
Our numbers are down but replacements they will find.
Went to Da Nang after Christmas to see Bob Hope.
My year is half over, only a few months to cope.
Made lots of friends, but lost a few.
War has a cost and they paid our dues.
Ten months in the bush, then a rear job in Chu Lai.
Great to be out of the field, but hard to say good-bye.
Got a job at Division so can keep track of our men.
When they go on stand-down I hope to see them again.
My tour of duty is over, just one last good-bye.
Iíll never forget ĎNam and the young men that die.