|No Closer to Home|
|"So you served your time at Long Binh...you 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 spirit...as apple pie and Mom
As comrades of the legacy...of that place called Vietnam
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 soldier...now 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 promise...to 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 who've
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|
|RICHMOND: RANDY E.|
|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
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 hot...hot 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 day...you 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.
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 Mom...it'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 home to your living room...still is for those in harm's way.
|* * * * *|
|Awarded: August 24, 2002 Awarded: November 2002|