68th Assault Helicopter  Stories



A Poem by  G. R. Webster - 68th Pilot



Over windless fields

stink filled clouds of earlier peace

rise unseen.


Under the hot, glaring, cloudless sky

in the sprawling dry-wet waste of long abandoned fields,

slumped over with weapons and rations,

resembling their fathers

in earlier times

in other wars

in other places

the young, green, government issued soldiers



Their uncluttered minds

distracted by self whispered thoughts

direct constantly shifting wild eyed glances.

Their baggy, camouflaged outlines,

buffering their nervous random movements,

advance toward the distant, unknown

unseen objective.


Across the openness

hidden in a village of forgotten dwellings

and devastated memories

three small, lean, black clad men lie quietly

deep and alone,

clustered, alter-like, over

a well used mortar tube.

Their six polished marble eyes

follow the slow splashing progress of the approaching enemy

toward an invisible registration point

and the next battle.

With  quick smooth movements

they slide round after round into the tube

as a pop-whoosh sounds breaks the total calm

sending barely visible objects on a long arching trajectory

to its ignorant target

then flatten themselves to the ground


Abruptly,  black-orange vapor balls crack the silence

exploding outward, flashing brightly, and disappearing

leaving a bursting mist of man made rain to shower softly

over groups of jerking, bewildered, limbless men,

their young, inquisitive, searching minds,

flash frozen forever in permanent shock.

Their sinking bodies spread great, black-red blood pools

erasing life in widening rings.



In the distance, an awkward, spinning, screaming helicopter

approaches, flares steeply and comes to a nervous hover,

touch-testing its aluminum skids in the red-rippled waters.

Embilically linked plastic masked shapes,

lean out, frantically

but with senseless urgency

searching among the now lifeless, green, polyester bundles

disappearing hesitatingly from the surface.


Unexpectedly, steady ribbons of hot accelerated metal

burp from the old village

attracted to the machines’ bright red cross

highlighted brilliantly inside clean white squares

as pop pings sound randomly

along the hollow, olive drab fuselage sides.


The helicopter, passively accepting

the insult of the dry rape for one long moment,

suddenly is seized epileptically in a violent,

multi-directional, high frequency convulsion

and explodes.

Oddly shaped metal parts spin erratically

slapping the water

beating themselves to death.


Slowly from the tangled, bubbling, metal mass

puddles of flames spread

and hiss-splashes of molten metal alloys

quench in the water

punctuating senseless death.


Faint threads of smoke rise softly

twisting  into long, black, carbon vapor spirals 

silently proclaiming the horror of war

to an uninterested world.


A Poem by

G. R. Webster

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