STRAIT PATH

 

 PREFACE

Get Down!

       The sergeant yelled, “Get down”. Jimmy dropped to the soggy mud and crawled. With his elbows down and his weapon laid in the vee of his arms up and out of the mud, he crawled. The bobbed wire inches from his helmet, the machine gun bullets flew just above the bobbed wire and the tracers lit the night sky above the bullets.

Jimmy crawled up and glued himself to a wall of sandbags, just as a loud explosion rang into his ears. Water splashed over and his brain screamed, what the heck is going on? In the darkness he couldn’t see where he was going, but knew he had to keep going. Reaching the firing line where the machine guns were firing and staring into the face of the drill sergeant, He motioned for Jimmy to get up and move behind him.

Army basic training at Ft. Polk Louisiana is very realistic. Training at Tiger land, the infamous place where the Army infantry trained for jungle warfare for

Vietnam. Although not in the infantry, Jimmy still had to go through some infantry training.

Jimmy volunteered for Vietnam, not anticipating what he would endure. From the start his missions would not only be challenging and scary, they would be very interesting. His physical and emotional limits were pushed to the max; yet he kept focused on his job as a combat helicopter crew chief, supply specialist, company scrounger and other collateral duties. He tells it like it was, from the beginning of his enlistment until the end.

 

Specialist 5 (Sp-5) Jimmy L. Strait

U.S. Army 1968-1971

Army Military Occupation Specialty (MOS) 67N20

UH-1D (Huey) Helicopter Crew Chief/Door gunner

187th Assault Helicopter Company

Tay Ninh Vietnam 1969-70

 

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Jimmy L. Strait

WE RISKED OUR NAMES BEING ON THE WALL

WE RISKED OUR NAMES BEING ON THE WALL

 

 

The black granite wall in Washington has the names of our fallen brothers,

Inscribed within are the son’s names of forever grieving and loving mothers.

We who made it home on the other hand, risked our names being on the wall,

We were there in that hellish place, beside our brothers when they would fall.

Our number wasn’t up some say, or we were just plain lucky, I don’t know,

We all knew we had to serve our country and for that reason we had to go.

With bullets flashing by, rockets and mortars exploding so close all around,

Don’t know how many times during those attacks, we had to hit the ground.

Helicopters getting shot down and crashing and burning with the hot flame,

Friendly fire sometimes hitting our positions and not sure just who to blame.

Caught in a cross fire in the jungle with limited protection we hit the dirt,

The enemy elusive in his tactics would hit us and most would wind up hurt.

We were the fortunate ones coming home with only battle scars of the war,

With our purple hearts and medals on our chest from the battle away so far.

Emotional pains we each had deep down within, we had to bear all of our life,

Through-out our adult years living with all the mental horrors, fears and strife.

Sometimes as we reminisce we will hear the faint cries of our brothers last call,

They say, “We are glad you risked your name, but we are glad it’s not on the wall.”

 

Jimmy L. Strait

Huey-Crew chief/door gunner

Tay Ninh, Vietnam 69-70

U.S. Army

Note: The wall I am referring to is the Black Granite Vietnam Veteran Memorial Wall in Washington D.C.

 

 

 

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