by Cpl. Robert Lin Cook
Jan 1942-Sep 1945

Slowly moving thru the night,
sailing silent, with no lights,
men and gear stowed far below,
where they're shipped they do not know.

Below decks in crowded holds
muggy . . . hot . . . dimly lit
men are waiting out their time
playing cards and cracking wit.

The days are slow and so routine,
they've not been told what the journey means.
Where will they be put ashore?
What snow-white beach
or what black sand?
Will they dig in and take a stand?

They go about the ship's routine:
sweeping quarters, keeping clean,
exercising on deck,
loading ammo by the peck.

Mess call is one long line,
not so bad if the weather's fine
but when sea is rough
hanging on is tough.

Of the men that I have seen
some turn pale and some green,
when the sea is at a gale
you'll find 'em on the rail.

If you've been there
you know the call:
"Sweepers! Man your brooms!"
They keep a mighty tidy ship
from bridge to locker room.

I can't say I enjoyed the trip 
from Diego to 'Canal,
they took us in
they brought us out,
that's what it was all about.

They said to us,
"Well done, Marines!"
And that, young man,
is what it means.

*     *     *
The author: Robert Lin Cook served with Reg. Weapons Co. (2d-2d) from 1942-44, at Guadalcanal and Tarawa during a 33-month overseas tour.

>>>  Poetry Page
>>>  Memoir Page
Troop Ships  
Transports and cargo ships stand offshore (Guadalcanal)
as vitally needed supplies for the 1st Marine Division are
manhandled by members of the Shore Party.