by Cpl. Robert Lin Cook
Jan 1942-Sep 1945

I remember back in '42,
I signed my name
and said "I do" and
was admitted to the Corps.

I was young and not too wise,
didn't take long to realize
I'd caught a tiger by the tail.

They sent me to a place called boot
and told me how I was to shoot
and let me fire away, almost at will.

I fired close and I fired far,
they told me I was a star.
Hell—I wasn't even tryin'.

They said for a raw recruit
I really knew how to shoot
and I confessed: 
I'd done it once or twice.

When I was young it all began
when Pappy grabbed me by the hand
and took me out
to get a mess of squirrel.

He showed me how to aim them sights,
to hold that rifle close up tight
and squeeze that trigger
oh sooo very slow.

So when my DI came along
and sang to me that same ol' song
I thought my pappy had
come back from the dead.

Then and there I knelt me down,
squeezed off my first round
and could tell from the sound
I was smack-dab on the ol' target.

I kept it up the whole day long,
it seems that I could do no wrong,
I ended up the best that they'd seen.

You know what they went and did?
They paid me three dollars
more a month.

*     *     *
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.

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