Fly Boys
by Cpl. Robert Lin Cook
Jan 1942–Sep 1945

​It’s hard to keep your cool
when at 15,000 feet
and your guns are
not as they should be,
when the enemy
has a bead and
you have a need
to get the hell
out of the sky.

You can twist and turn,
do all you’ve learned
and the bastard
seems to never
let you fly
but you got one
up your sleeve,
one that you need
if your guns will
just reply.

It has a German name
and a lot of fame
and it stood well
for the guys
who flew a
Spad or two
back in days of yore.

So you pull the stick back,
head for the stars and
your engine is doing its best
when you reach the top 
of your climb,
do a wing over
on a dime
and you’re ready
for your dive 
upon the foe.

The boys on the ground
are looking all around
and cheering
what they see
for the F4U
is a part of what they do,
when it comes to duty
they are bound.

Fly boys are a different set
and you can even bet
they got much moxie
in their brain for
every nut and bolt
from every book 
that’s wrote
they’ve read and
had the stuff explained.

For every man that flies
there are a dozen guys
who are checking
every nut and bolt,
if something goes amiss
they’re subject to remiss
and given much to do.

So raise high your glass
in a salute to the sky
and the Marines 
who kept them flying.


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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