Jungle Trekking

There's a kind of GI the jungle knows,
Perhaps as a disease.  Drinking and bathing in arteries,
Cutting and blasting through fibers,
Gouging out support matix, the earth,
This bug is just a Grunt.

He sends letters to those back home
To help them better understand, but progress is slow.
Halfway, his mother still sends crushed pineapple
While a friend writes to ask,
"Do you meet any nice girls where you are?"

Jungle Trekking, the work of a Grunt,
Has oddly defined parameters
Such as Body Count, Klicks and Fire Fights,
Ambush, Sweat, Thirst, Blood, Grief and Fear;
Days left.

He saddles up and and moves out
While his pack bears down.
Sweat wets, then soaks and drenches him,
Running into his eyes, mouth, sores
To mix with his blood.

The jungle shields the enemy, shades the sun.
A Grunt's pack is both friend and foe.
His rifle protects but may fail in need,
As gunships help, but accidents happen
And a carless buddy may take his life.

A gritty, ground pounding Grunt
Picks his way from one "X"
On the Captain's map to another,
Painfully at times and always wondering.

He files along on his trail or theirs
Knowing the next second may see him die,
Hoping he won't as the prolonged
Discomfort saps his alertness.
"Sure would be nice to take five".

$65/month HFP, mountains, rivers, swamps,
Malaria, monsoon, tropic heat, wait-a-minute vines
Combat load, C's, angry exhaustion, trapped,
Naked, wounded, vulnerable, AK-SKS-RPG
Accident, deprivation, agony, sacrifice, 12 months.

No place, this, to swing on birches.
No one calls Nam "Honalee".
Where all roads did once lead to Rome,
Political freedom is today's focus
And Vietnam is where it's at.

Bob Kon, 02 April 70