Please welcome my friend, Gary Jacobson – renown poet and published author of two Vietnam War books.  I found this poem “special” and want to share it with everyone.  Enjoy!




HILL 875

by Gary Jacobson

Dak To, Vietnam…1967

hill875Winged Airborne heart During the fierce battle for a hill called 875
Elite Airborne Infantry struggled just to stay alive.
These leather tough men,
These hard fighting men,
Were the best of men,
And they were the worst of men,
But they were men…
They were our brothers.
They were our fathers.
They were our favored sons.
They were the handsome “Boy Next Door,”
That all young girls adore.
Winged Airborne heart Fighting soldiers from the sky,
Fearless men who jump knowing they might die,
The flowers of American youth,
Defending freedoms from tyrants uncouth,
Inspired by honor distilled from heavens above,
More than self their country love.

helicopter_dropsWinged Airborne heart Airborne sky troopers patrolling an unnamed hill
Came under intense recoilless rifle fire.
A withering blanket Of VC rifle grenades
made the situation dire.
Fearing their lives might soon expire,
The 173rd Airborne
Fighting all bloody morn,
Withstood wave after wave of attacks,
Displaying bravery in a hundred single,
Gallant acts,
Struggling in close quarters hand-to-hand,
Determined at all costs to make a stand.
Winged Airborne heart 173rd Airborne elite, pressed to evict
The North Vietnamese Army by combat edict,
To give Charley the boot,
From his dug-in fortress route,
From hilltop enclave entrenched,
Like a honeycombed beehive
On a hill with no name, just numbered 875.

Winged Airborne heart Airborne infantry assaulted the ridgeline,
Facing NVA regulars, top of the line,
Dug in Heavily mid 875 hilltop mists,
Fighting mad like hornets around a nest pissed,
Repelling Airborne infantry attacks
Launched on their lofty summit sublime,
Time after time after time.
Winged Airborne heart Up the bloody hill
Filled with faith and hope still,
The “Boys next door” advance
Gambling heavily on chance,
To the NVA’s perimeter trench.
They crawled within 25 yards
Of bunkers a lofty summit guards,
Through withering fire of artillery barrage,
Encircling them in smoking camouflage.

Winged Airborne heart Mid ear shattering din thundering
Mid devastating fire blistering,
Mid air support close in
Exploding the hill in smoke again,
And yet again,
Feeling heat of Charley’s mortars Incoming,
Mid annihilations deadly ring of fire raging,
Astride a burning, exploding, funeral pyre.
Winged Airborne heart With coming dawn,
Charley unleashed a blistering attack,
To prove of fighting will they had no lack,
Bent on driving yankee usurpers back.
Charley would not soon give or flinch,
Quite comfy in elaborate tunnels and trench.
Charley had not dee dee’d and fled
Bunkers with thick dirt roofs overhead.
In fact,
Charley would be fortified there still,
If not for American will.
Winged Airborne heart Sky troopers encircled the Cong’s position,
In the face of intense demolition.
Moving through an inferno still burning,
A hill still smoldering,
With American blood and ash blackened.
Up the hill by grim battle charred,
Airborne infantry relentlessly charged,
Through a gauntlet threatening destruction,
Through shadow of death’s imminent obliteration.
Brave men could not this battle undone leave,
Though NVA loomed so close,
You could hear them breathe.

xrayKIAWinged Airborne heart Airborne talked prideful talk,
Now it was time to walk the walk.
Through the very pits of hell,
hearing Charley’s cursing yell.
Amid carnage darkening dim,
Brimstone raining down on them,
Pungent fear in throats lumping,
Foul hatreds around them smelling,
Men from the land of the brave
All around them crying,
Men from the home of the free
All around them dieing,
Machine guns pumping
God awful fearing,
Gut-shot brothers around them groaning,
Hearts and beings churning,
In primal screaming,
Nostrils pure hate breathing,
Dreams of death souls torturing,
Breathlessly through acrid smoke running
Lungs burning,
Countless dramas unfolding,
Of heroic soldiers rescuing,
Being rescued,
Being shot at,
Grenades throwing,
Ducking grenades down on them rolling,
Hoping, praying, cursing the Vietcong,
Hiding from the Vietcong,
Hiding from themselves.
Winged Airborne heart With fixed bayonets on rifles M-16,
Cascading rivulets of sweat down foreheads careen,
On charred infantrymen faces sheen,
Hot swelter on brows shining,
Down camouflaged faces coursing,
Down faces caked with chalk and mud,
Unsure the rivers weren’t life blo

Winged Airborne heart Soldiers from both sides,
See eye-to-eye the surging tides,
See faces of others fearing death,
See the last vestiges of humanity bereft,
See face-to-face incarnate foes,
Brother shadows,
All their beings absorbed with hating,
Each consumed with Killing,
Each preoccupied with the others dying.
Firebase RipcordWinged Airborne heart Tremendous fears flutter in their head,
These soldiers fighting and dieing,
In the abode of the dead.  War is an unholy estate,
A malingering Devil’s hate,
Where condemned soldier’s time
After time after time after time,
In horrible combat rhyme,
Deliver pure souls  To war’s most Satanic roles.
Forced to kill or be killed,
War causes a strained separation from God…
Tumbling from the precepts of the iron Rod.
Yet strangely, in war,
Soldiers are never nearer to God!

Winged Airborne heart Who will this fray win,
By the rockets red glare,
In horrors deepning pit of despair,
Mid bombs bursting in air?
Each man wagers a meager immortality
That he will not be a fatality,
In battles basic futility.
The summit of Hill 875
Goes to he standing last, still alive.
Winged Airborne heart These leather tough men,
These hard fighting men,
Were the best of men,
And they were the worst of men,
But they were men…
They were our brothers.
They were our fathers.
They were our favored sons.
They were the handsome “Boy Next Door,”
That all young girls adore.




If you enjoyed this poem by Gary Jacobson and want to read more, then visit his website:    Gary has published numerous poems and two books about the Vietnam Experience – you can find them all on his website.

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