'Destroyer Zulu' was my callsign at Battalion FDC, 1st Bn, 5th Artillery,
1st Infantry Division; Dau Tieng, RVN. 1969-70.


DESTROYER ZULU...GO AHEAD... ____________________________

Ask me why I write 'em, ask me why I dream; Ask what's on TV tonight, hold me if I scream. Ask about the poems with the lyrics strung along; Ask me what I've done and seen, and where I've been so long. Ask about the taxes, so many years unpaid; Ask me if they'll take the house, and what the taxman said. What about the attic, the history waiting there? The life I've started over, the closets all stripped bare. Where's the place I fit now, since the war's all done? Strange, the way that things turned out... I've wondered if we won. ............................. Do I still remember the shrapnel, smoke, and blast? And how it feels when screaming steel roars and hisses past. The Crunch-Bang sound of Shell-HE; The airburst bloom of Fuze-VT. Flares that open with a popping sound; The desolation left by the BeeHive round. The Bang-Hissss flight of 'on the way,' The marking rounds at the close of day. "Movement, Movement !!.." "Gooks in the wire !!.." flipping from Semi- to Auto- fire. "Contact ! Fire Mission !!" "Shell-HE," "Battery One," "Fuze-VT !!" "Destroyer Alpha," "Clear to Fire !" "Direct-Fire, BeeHive.." "Gooks in the wire !" "Destroyer Bravo! Where Are You !?..." KIA, gunshot wounds, Oh God! thru and thru. ............................. Jump awake from fitful sleep, tossing in the tangled bed, "What's that, Love?" her sleepy voice, "Destroyer Zulu...Go Ahead..." ____________________________

Copyright © 1996 James M. Hopkins
Image: "Illum" 1996 J.M.Hopkins