View Full Version : For My Brothers and Sisters who stood the watch in the "RICE PADDIES"

01-30-05, 04:25 PM


The "DUKE"(John Wayne) in "THE FLYING LEATHERNECKS" said it best when he found out that one of his buddies had "brought the farm" (KIA- killed in action),"Yeah- I knew him".

Yeah--I knew him. I knew of his dreams, his loves, his
wish to be in the arms of his family. To be working on his hot rod, instead of beng a "tunnel rat". To be at the ballpark cheering on the Dodgers or whoever, instead of doing a "body count" in some jungle.

Yeah--I knew him. To be on the beach enjoying the sun, surf, the girls and having a few cold ones, not waiting in a damn rice paddy on an ambush. To be home at Christmas time singing carols in the snow, instead on a LRRP or on a search and destory mission.

Yeah--I knew him. Holding his newborn child in his arms and looking at his wife in love and wonderment. Not screaming out in terror in the middle of the night because of some nightmare that happened today or a dozen years ago.

Yeah--I knew him. Late at night, in the bunker drinking hot beer, talking about things and girls. Maybe the women we loved, going steady with, married to or just got a "Dear John" from. Remembering her pretty eyes, the way she made love, the way she kisses, maybe how she could make us feel to beside her or away from her.

Yeah--I knew him. knocking the grand slam at the softball game, selling that new car to the newlywed couple, planting the last seed on the north 40, instead of holding on to his closest buddy, making his last moments in this hellhole the best, sharing his last smoke because's no way to save him.

Yeah--I knew him. Everytime I light a square, because he left his "Zippo" to me, the one he brought at the PX and engraved "Joe Ragman- Nam, II Corps, War Zone C". My mind flashes back to those days.

Yeah--I knew him. As I knock on his parent's, wife's or girl-
friend's door, to pay my last respects. Telling how we were friends, how he felt about the war, how much he wanted to be back home. As I gave them his last letter, which he had not mailed. I saw their eyes fill with anger, hurt, tears and then the questions. Damn ?'s

Yeah--I knew him. As I stared into his face that's lost
forever in the never-never land of the V.A. Hospital and drugs. He never came home as Joe Ragman, but as a zombie. Lost forever somewhere in that last firefight, dancing the "Thorazine shuffle".

Yeah--I knew him. As the friend who lives under the bridge
or deep in the woods. Scraping an existence off Mother
Nature or out of the dumpster of Burger King or grocery stores. Hiding out to escape the stares, the haterd, and
the ugliness of the war. Staying loaded to kill the pain,
the loneliness, the desperation of life.

Yeah--I knew him. As I walked among the rows of white headstones in the "Garden of Stones" looking at all of the names, dates and places. I look at "The Wall" finding and touching your name. I remember the good and bad times, the hopes, the dreams. I cry, not in sadness, but in hope that "This Wall" shall be the last memorial to those who fought in a war. In a war where all sides, the Victor and the Vanquish, lost. There are no winners in a war.

Yeah--I knew him. Here's to you, Buddy, to your memory, to honor you, to remember you and love you. "Sleep in peace, comrade dear, God is nigh"*

Respectfully Submitted

Ben E. Weihrich, Jr.

* From Col. Butterfield's "TAPS"

It took years to write this hear little diddy, but in '92 it was placed in the "VETERAN'S VOICE" , a mag for hospitilizied veterans(almost 2yrs in and out of nuts wards, but things are strait now). Then in '94 it was placed with the following for the program at the PERMIAN BASIN VIETNAM VETERANS MEMORIAL 11/11/94.



Long ago, in the Age of Aquarius, there was a war. A war
which divided father against son, brother against brother,
friend against friend. A war which left mothers, wives, sweethearts in tears and questions in their hearts. Some of those brothers, friends fathers and sons came home whole, others missing limbs, and those who came home in a gray coffin, and still others who are still missing.

Time has passed, as time does, and the wounds from that
war has slowly healed not completely though. The people still remember the hurt, the anger, the grief, and the terror of that war. The nation had tried to forget the war because that war was never won and the nation was disgraced by that war. The warriors who came home faced and felted empathy, ridicule, hopelessness, nightmares, fear and terror.

These dishearten warriors tried to distanced themselves
from that war, but they could not. The war drew them like a moth to a flame. So with courage and faith these grunts, flyers, radiomen, medic's, docs, nurses, cap't's, swabjocks, jarheads, doggies, chopper jocks, all kinds of rank and file, hippies, dissenters, draftdodgers, went to the people of that nation seeking to heal those wounds caused by the war.

Without the capital of the capitol, but with clout of the
powers to be behind the seats of government, these warriors made their dream and the nation's come true in the fall of '82. Together with courage and compromise, the "WALL" is a reality today.

The fathers, mothers, sweethearts, brothers, sisters,
friends, foes, strangers came to see, touch, cry, rejoice
when they saw or did not see a name on the the "WALL". Friends were made and reunited wounds healed, goodbyes
were said, unspoken words were spoken, and things of love were left.

The hippies and hawks became one, the glorifiers and the
demeanors are silenced by the "Blackness Of The Wall".

No Shame No Glory

Just a celebration of heroes

Respectfully Submitted

Ben Weihrich, Jr.

Toby Keith is looking hard @ this poem for a song or a movie

* written in '92 when the BLACK WALL was opened to the public.
i still have all of the original notes, too


Semper fi

01-30-05, 04:55 PM
very nice. very nice indeed

01-30-05, 05:05 PM
Those really pull at the gut!

You have an unusual talent that blends the warmth of the heart with the cry of the soul.

I really like them!

Thanks for shareing!

Semper fi

01-30-05, 05:24 PM
Oh Man Book

Those are some touching words and they are right on target. Thanks for sharing them Ben maybe they will help those that came after Nam to understand what we do. Such talent.

Semper Fi

02-01-05, 06:56 AM
Just a little diddy for your thoughts:



For those who did a tour or two in the service, remember
our days in the "BOOT". That first dark, early morning
running off the bus, standing on "yellow footprints"
shining in the dawn's chill. Once in a while, there's a
flashback of cusswords and "I can't hear EWE(as in female
sheep)". You are called a female sheep from "THE COVER".

In the darkness of the morning we could not see the face
of "THE COVER". We heard the "VOICE", the orders, the
curses, and the sharpness of the brim of "THE COVER"
in our faces and in the back of our head. The 1st two
weeks was a whirlwind of orders, clothes, shots, drills,
exams of ears, nose and mind. "THE COVER" finally
showed their faces. No John Wayne, or Clark Gable, maybe
a Chucky or a Freddy.

No easy days, hard workouts or P.T.(physical torture,
haha), aching sore feet and ears from the running and
the yelled curses of "THE COVER", General orders, one
step charlie, gas masks, crawling under barded wire with
live fire overhead, and "THE COVER" running besides you
cursing you with encouraging or despairing words.

has for 225 years trained and instilled GOD, Country,
Honor, Tradition and Discipline in our forefathers, in
ourselves, and in our sons and daugthers of the future.

From the first cussword to the last "PLATOON DISMISSED"
at graduation, these covers are the most unsung heroes of
the military. These "COVERS" taught us what it was like on
the front lines and who went for "the 2nd or the final tour.
They were our mentors, teachers and as they yelled after
getting off the bus, "I will be your mother and father for
the next 13 weeks".

So on this Veteran's Day I salute the unsung heroes of the

Gunny E. Davis, I salute you, SIR!**


U.S.M.C. '69-'75

Midland Reporter-Telegram

Gy Davis was my SDI in '69 and he was the 1 who gave me the name "BOOKS". We met up in Saigon in early '73 and he was killed in Aprl of '74, escorted his body to hometown, and in '94 a big box was delievered to my Mother's house and she was told to call me to call get it. Well to from long to short story: it was his "SMOKEY BEAR" and I retired it when the Moving Wall came
to Midland 2 yrs ago. with the original of this poem inside.


02-01-05, 07:28 AM

02-06-05, 09:21 PM


I stopped by our War Memorial one early morning to give the "Morning Report". I do this whenever I can to update my friends(225 names are engraved on the Memorial wall) in the "Barracks in the Sky" and to hear their report.

Usually there is no one there at zero dark thirty, but one fall day I noticed another car there and I hung back to give a little respect. As the man departed He gave me a "Hand salute" and I returned it and I was took back. I guess He knew why I was there as I knew why He was there.

This went on for 4 or 5 months. I would come early or He would. I finally worked up the courage to ask Him why he came every morning. He said, "Son, I have doing this for some years and I hope I to find a replacement to take over when I have to report upstairs. I think I found that person. What is your name, Son". I reported as ordered, not in detail, but in a gentle tone as it was asked. He told me his name and I was awe stricken.

He told me that he had fought in every WAR since DAY 1(when that was I have no idea). He has seen every weapon, knew all of the generals, sgt's., and held every dying pvt. in his arms. Heard all of the prayers, requests, and those that were unspoked. I asked how that was and He said, "I have ears that is tuned to hear the lowest or the highest question, request or prayer. It always from the solider, but alot from their families, from a major or 1st sgt. I hear 'em all." I asked if He granted any. He said, "I granted all that is requested of me."

I asked Him if I was one of those that He heard a prayer from me in 'em old days of the "WAR". He told me, "Son, I have heard you give "The REPORT" every morning. I heard all of the names of your friends that have gone "To Report" during, after and now. I will see you, My Son, soon". I saluted Him as He departed. I felt like a great weight was lifted from my heavy loaded shoulders. I bid goodbye to my friends and walked away feeling like I lit by a little ray of "SON SHINE".

Respectfully Submitted

Ben Weihrich

* Sitution Report

Semper Fi


02-06-05, 11:12 PM
Semper Fidelis, I can't find any words more worthy.
There seem to be some mist in my eyes.
Remembering some that are now forgotten,
Times, I still hear their voices on a beach in Hawaii.
We try to remember the good in them, for no man is perfect.
My dear wife, tells me at times, that all I think about is death.
But in thinking about their death in Vietnam, we will always keep them alive in our memories.

Semper Fidelis/Semper Fi

02-13-05, 08:49 PM

of escorting 3 Fallen MARINES from Dover, MD to the MARINE'S Final Duty station. This was beside knockng on the doors of the family to tell that their son was KIA, WIA, POW-MIA. This is a long read and I did not want to post in 2 parts. Hear's goes and have hankies nearby, ok:


Pls save and read on MEMORIAL DAY, VETERAN'S DAY or anytime...



02-14-05, 08:31 PM

by posting this post. But next month I will be making a trip to the home of my SDI whose casket I brought back from the "rice paddies" in '74. We had not see each other since "DA BOOT" in 69. We met at Da Nang in '73, and as I was cking in I heard, "BOOKS, REPORT FRONT AND CENTER, NOW. I dropped the B-4 and snap to and reported. Got a little tipsy that nite. He was KIA 3 days before my 25th bday in Mar of '74. It is getting to me, his wife is not too well and I will making another trip to say goodbye. Sorry folks

:( :(