No Closer to Home
"So you served your time at Long really had it made"

We've all heard these words before...they cut us like a blade

While true we rarely walked the point along the jungle trails

We all still had a job to do with the things that war entails

We hauled food and ammunition, we wrenched on all the trucks

We built roads, and pads and airstrips in weather meant for ducks

The sick and wounded came to us and many there were healed

Our convoys counted casualties on their trips into the field

We labored long and dusty hours beneath the same hot sun

Out before the dawn had come and in with day long done

With great respect and sorrow, we tended to the dead

We were young and lonely soldiers, we laughed, we cried, we bled

The base was not a frequent target, by wars' standards fairly tame

Yet mortar rounds would often find the way there just the same

There's pride in our service, left in sweat, and blood and tears

Long Binh has been a part of us for many many years

We were O.D. green, lean and mean, no gold or flashy chrome

Just a bunch of G.I.'s doing their duty and just as far from home

To our brothers in the combat roles, who paid the greatest dues

We only ask...remember us as we remember you...

As Americans in deed and apple pie and Mom

As comrades of the legacy...of that place called Vietnam

Randy Richmond

28 Feb. 02

The "Oz" and the "Yank"

We hardly had whiskers when first we met

Halfway round the world, I remember it yet

An unlikely meeting 'tween an Oz and a Yank

It didn't seem odd then as we talked and we drank

Over three million served in the war over there

The odds we'd have contact were much worse than fair

But, in spite of the odds, contact was made

When the Oz ventured out for a bit of a trade

He'd finished his business and for need of a lift

He bribed us with brew, the un-refusable gift

He didn't stay long, a few hours at best

We bid a drunken good-bye to our Aussie guests

As I said before, the chances were slim

For thirty years my mind held a picture of him

Then I joined a small group on an internet site

Who pen poems and stories and share what they write

While visiting one night a member's home page

I happened on a photo of him at a more tender age

It was the down-under sit down before you fall

The gentleman's name...our own Anthony Pahl!

You do the math...

Randy E. Richmond

21 June 2001

All The Way Home

The lightning exaggerates tired, gray eyes

And the thunder muffles occasional cries

Seeking relief from his long haunted dreams

Could the V.A. quiet the late, midnight screams?

Feeling almost ashamed, he drove to that place

His pride was now tested and it showed in his face

This was the first time he'd ever asked for a hand

To deal with the demons from that faraway land

When he arrived, he explained why he'd come and was there

You've helped some of my brothers and I knew you would care

You made us a never forget

And that's why I'm here...You see, I'm a Nam vet

They asked him for proof, to substantiate his claim

Is there anyone to verify this...could you give us a name?

He said, Well there's Shorty and Frank, then Davey and Paul

I can't recall their last names but they're etched in the Wall

You see, I was the only one who survived that firefight

They've been gone these many years, but I see 'em every night

All I have are these memories...Can you help me? he sighed

They told him, We're sorry sir, but our hands are tied

The arbitrary angels then closed and locked the doors

To another forgotten soldier, caught between wars

Thunder exploded again in the clear summer skies

And lightning flashed one last time on the tired gray eyes

Randy E. Richmond

November 04, 2000

Written about and for, and dedicated to, our friends and brothers
struggled to come

All The Way Home

Talk to us, talk to God, but keep swimming... you're almost there


My flag had little meaning, nor this my native land

When I was but a little boy and I was asked to stand

To pledge to it allegiance...I knew not what that meant

I'd see grown men standing quietly and watching its ascent

At ballgames with my father, before they'd even start

We'd stand again to stare at it with hands over our hearts

I never did quite understand the bother or the fuss

I didn't know for what it stood or what it meant to us

I was there at many funerals and watched the loved ones cry

As the flag was folded reverently, I always wondered why

It seemed that everywhere I went a flag was always there

Some would show it great respect while others didn't care

Then, while still a young man, I went off to a war

On returning from that foreign land, I was confused no more

Now I understood exactly the reasons for the tears

The concern and awe shown to our flag in my younger years

Each color has a meaning, the red and white and blue

Combined they hold the story of our country tried and true

They stand for those who gave their lives and those with unknown fates

Each star a shining sibling of the brotherhood of states

So now when I am asked to stand, I do so with great pride

And sometimes I get misty eyed remembering those who died

I think now that the best gift we could give to a young child

Is assurance our colors always wave proud and undefiled!

Randy E. Richmond

Written Several Years Ago...
Randy wrote this one especially for the Long Bien Vietnam Veterans Club
A lifelong Iowan residing in Waterloo... home of the Navy's Fighting Sullivan brothers!

Randy married Jan between two tours in Vietnam and have two great kids and three
wonderful Grandchildren
who they are taking pains not to spoil too badly! (heh heh)

His father before he, himself, and his son, have the distinction of being three generations of
vets who signed their
enlistment papers at the tender age of seventeen.

Randy entered the Army in Feb. 1968 and served in Vietnam from Jan. 1969 - Oct. 1970.
He states: "I am not a combat vet (God bless those who were), but worked hard, played hard,
am proud of my
service and was no closer to home."

Recently retired from John Deere where he worked in their foundry for 26 years, Randy is
enjoying, at least for a
time, being able to do whatever he chooses. Sometimes that's writing, sometimes walking fields
or creek banks
looking for artefacts.
An Article of Prose Written by Randy Richmond  for Which He was Awarded the IWVPA "Double Tap Award for War Poetry"
                               Thoughts Between the Lines

Hi Bobby!
Dear Mom,

Just looked at the calendar and it's one month today since we saw you off on the plane.  Seems like
only yesterday.  Remember how chilly it was?

Gosh Mom, you know, it feels like I've already been here for a year.  The days are
never-ending and like you just can't imagine.

I sure hope this finds you doing ok son.  Have you been eating well?

Ham and lima beans again today Mom.  I really miss those Sunday suppers with fried chicken
and mashed potatoes, and what I wouldn't give right now for an ice-cold glass of milk!

I'm sure by now you've met some new friends there and are getting some valuable experience to go
with your mechanical training.

By the way Mom, I'm a rifleman now in an infantry company.  There was evidently more need
here than for working in the motor pools.  Guess that's the army's way.  Haven't made too
many friends yet, the guys just kind of keep to themselves a lot.  Most of them haven't even
asked my name.  Maybe when I've been here awhile longer they'll come around.

Your dad is very tired.  He's been working nine or ten hours this week doing the inventory at the
store.  He eats, reads the paper, and is too worn out to watch TV lately.

We've only been in base camp once since I arrived.  I don't think I've had more than 3 or 4
changes of clothes.  Doesn't make much difference out here anyway, the new ones smell pretty
much the same as the old after humping around out here from dawn to dusk.  And, I'm told
you really don't want to smell new anyway.  "Good" nights are quiet, dark, hot, and lonely.

Your brother is so proud of you!  He tells his friends that after his senior year is finished in June, he
wants to follow in his big brother's footsteps.

Mom, when Skip graduates, please, please try to convince him to go to college for the next 4
years or whatever it takes to keep him from having to come over here...take my word for it
Mom, you don't want him here!

Johnny next door broke his ankle at football practice.  He'll miss the season as he won't get the cast
off for 6 weeks.  Poor child!

I'd never seen dead bodies before Mom, it just makes me sick every time I do and that is way
too often.  First platoon lost 2 guys today.  I didn't know them and I'm glad I didn't...we only
had one guy wounded...he's probably coming home.

We're picking Grandma up for church again Sunday morning.  She said to tell you that she's praying
for you and all the soldiers.  We are too!

I always believed in God Mom...still do, but I'm convinced now that the devil is real too.  I
think wars are his stronghold.  I see his work every can smell his breath everywhere.  
I don't remember ever being this frightened before.

Well Bobby, the doorbell just rang.  I think it's your Aunt and Uncle.  We're going to play cribbage
with them tonight so take care, love you, and will write more later.
Love, Mom

Gotta run Mom...Charlie's knocking and it's getting louder.  They're walking mortars into our
position...we're moving out...Vietnam is way too real's not a game.
Bye and Love ya, Bobby

Randy E. Richmond
August 19, 2002

"Mail call" was a 5-minute ticket out of Vietnam.  Every letter a short respite from the rigors of war
and back hom
e to your living room...still is for those in harm's way.
                          Awarded:  August 24, 2002                           Awarded: November 2002