In the worst hell hole of the Yellow Sea
are the men who God forgot,
we fight against the fever, the plague,
the lice and the Chinese rot.

Living amidst disease-ridden Chinks
in quarters that no one will own on
the scum-soaked edge of the Yellow Sea.

Eight thousand miles from home,
varmints on our pillows at night
and ills that no doctor can cure.
Hell no, we’re not exiled convicts—
just Marines on a foreign tour.

Nobody knows we’re living
and nobody gives a damn,
back home we’ve been forgotten,
we, the Marines of Uncle Sam.

We’re civilization’s outcasts
living life at its very worst,
have pity on the man who sent us
may his soul be forever cursed.

Sometimes we have a mail run,
just certain guys get it all,
the rest just stand and wonder—
who in Hell’s not on the ball?

When payday comes to old Tsingtao,
we squander our meager pay,
raise merry hell for an evening
and are broke the next sorry day.

Haunted with thoughts at evening
we lay on our sacks and dream,
killing ourselves with vodka
to dam up memory’s stream.

Here where a man’s soul rots away
there is one thing we all know well,
we shall meet again in heaven
for we’ve done our hitch in Hell! 

*     *     *
The author: LT Alvin Hayman served in Japan and China with the 4th Marines, 6th MarDiv.

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China Duty
Marine LT Alvin Hayman sent this poem with a letter to his parents, dated 16 June 1946. It has wording that is now considered inflammatory, but not at that time. Alvin Hayman died in July 2004. In his closet, his daughter, Cathy Burchett, found a stack of letters he’d written from basic, OCS, Japan and China. One of the letters includes this poem, written in 1946. Its author is unknown. Ms. Burchett: "All dad wrote was that it pretty much explained the feeling of the Marines in China at that time." LT Hayman shipped to Tsingtao, China, from Yokosuka, Japan, where he did MP duty with RgtWpnsCo, 4th Marines, 6th MarDiv, as early as 28 Sept. 1945—soon after Japan surrendered.