by Cpl. Robert Lin Cook
Jan 1942-Sep 1945

Most of you
have fought a war
in jungle dank
with growth galore
and had to go
on patrol
where naught was 
seen before your nose
but tangled brush
and more and more.
"O’Brian, take the point!"

Now, O’B was a guy like us,
he was sometimes an ornery cuss,
he generally did as he was told
he did not act brave and bold,
a proper Marine
as good a gold.
"O’Brian, take the point!"

I do know,
and you'll agree,
the point ain’t 
no place to be
when prowling through
the wilderness
in search of folks
opposed to us
who mean them
 grievous harm.
"O’Brian take the point!"

We had made few good miles,
there was even a few smiles
for we were not yet put at bay
as O’B had the point that day
and we trusted him to be
 our eyes and ears:
O’Brian had the point.

It was quiet on the trail,
no dogtag gave a clink,
the LT kept his eyes ahead
'twas all that he could think
for O’B was sneakin’ along,
his eyes ahead of him
when suddenly he gave shout
and then all hell broke out
as on the deck
we all did sprawl 
firing at anything at all.
O’Brian was still on point.

It came to our attention:
no fire was ever returned,
we were firing blindly
at every crook and turn.
The LT called a 'Cease fire!'
from which we did retire.
There was no enemy in sight
much to our extreme delight.
"Miller, take the point!"

Amen!

*     *     *
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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O'Brian, Take the Point