A Grunt's Salute to Wingers
by Don Johnson
(aka Bugle)
Memorial Day, 1999

The Siege began in Khe Sanh Valley 
surrounded by hills filled with haze,
when the fighting and killing ceased 
we had held out for 70 days. 

Our darkest hours had darkened yet more 
and the worst of the battle soon found us;
we dug our trenches and readied ourselves,
the huge enemy force was around us. 

We didn't despair but we soon realized 
we were clinging to hope by our fingers but
we knew we could count on the bombs and supplies 
courtesy of our Marine Corps Wingers. 

As rockets and mortars rained from above 
and many fellow Grunts were dying,
fighter-bombers and choppers en masse 
were already prepped and flying. 

Our forces outnumbered near 4 to 1,
we struggled to keep morale high but
odds were soon evened and our butts saved
by angels who came from the sky. 

Wingers were pilots and crews overhead 
and ground support with duties where 
they tended those birds for hours on end,
making sure they could take to the air. 

Most of us survived the Siege of Khe Sanh 
and, I think, looking back at it all 
I'm living to tell you this tale of the Wing 
and not taking a place on The Wall. 

*     *     *    
The author:
Don Johnson ("Bugle")
USMC 1967-69 
RVN 1967-68
Echo Co./2nd Battalion
26th Marines
Memoir by Bugle:
Tet '68 at Khe Sanh
Marines at Khe Sanh

Click here to view a multimedia retrospective of the siege of
Khe Sanh (courtesy of PBS-TV)
Taxiing Phantom carrying napalm & a long-range fuel tank (center)
Phantom taxiing out of revetment
(ChuLai, RVN, circa 1967),
on call to Grunts in bush