by Cpl. Robert Lin Cook
Jan 1942–Sep 1945

 The day was hot
the sun shown down
my dungarees were soaken,
we were pinned down
upon the ground and
most of us were shaken.

We were on patrol
upon this knoll
when taken by surprise.
The enemy was waiting there,
his presence not denied.
We fell to ground
we took some rounds
that left a man aching.
We marshaled all we had
and fired at point-blank range
the moment was for taking.

The BAR was chunkin’ shots
that made them hug the earth,
rifles were reachin’ out
from every man’s perch.
We kept a rapid fire and soon
the return fire slacken’d off.
We raised our head
counted up our dead and
made ready to resume.

We left them there
beside the trail
wrapped in ponchos:
Many for
those of us
that walked away.
I am here and now
confessing that
there is no fear greater
than being under fire.
You won’t forget it
till it’s your last hour.

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

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