174th Assault
Helicopter Company



By: Mel Lutgring

Thanks for the memories,
Of gut-wrenching uncertainty.
Young boys scared, but true,
Answering to the Red, White, and Blue.

Quickly clothed in olive green,
Trained to fight to the death, it seems.
We all ask, "Why me?"
Sent to a foreign land across the sea.

Itís all for God and Country we are told,
By the Drill Sergeant that owns our souls.
To fight in the name of Freedom,
For all the Wise men, unable to come.

Oh, the War! Itís all Politics and Policy.
The land, itís beauty, really something to see!
Rice patties and waterways abound,
Up North, check it out, mountains all around.

Youíve got music on Armed Forces Radio,
And "Round-eyed" Donut Dollies from the USO.
In Da Nang you can "R&R" at China Beach,
Or stay in Saigon, itís really a peach.

But for now the "Bush" is our home,
And all over South Vietnam we will roam.
From Cam Ran Bay to the "DMZ",
We chased the elusive "VC".

Our ranks were thinned one at a time,
By snipers, punji sticks, and homemade mines.
Air strikes and out-going "Arty", music to our ears.
While the gunships flying cover, eased our fears.

Endless days and nights of forever,
Wondering who would get that letter?
Saying she had found someone better,
And going home, might as well be never!

"Medic! Medic! Over here!"
Caused chills, shakes, and sometimes tears.
He labored over many a wounded young man,
Being a Mother or Sweetheart, holding their hand.

Popping blades and swirling rotor wash,
Gave hope to the rest of us.
"Dust Off" choppers with crosses of red on squares of white,
Landed unwavering, even in green tracer filled nights!

Good olíboys, who did what they were told,
All too soon, in body bags, cold.
Young men fortunate to grow old,
Realized you had sold our souls!

Thanks for the memories,
Of all the senseless misery.
All night "Firefights" and "Hot Lzís",
Incoming mortars and missing buddies!

Thanks for the memories,
Of being branded drug users and losers,
Killers of mothers, children, and little babies!
All on color TV , for the entire World to see!

Thanks for the memories,
Of nightmares we canít forget.
Labeled like a plague with no cure yet!
Who cares about the feelings of a Vietnam Vet?

"Platoon", "Full Metal Jacket", and "Missing in Action II",
Some of the movies to name a few.
Typical of the "Pepsi Generation" it seems,
When "Nam" like "Coke" was the "Real Thing"!

If only you could remember,
All those brave boys six feet under,
Before your next Political, Military blunder.
Who will go.... we often wonder?

If only you could remember,
We were more than just numbers.
We are brothers, friends, and neighbors you know,
Who fought for our Country when it was unpopular to do so!

In memory of several names on the "Wall",
And many who arenít on any list at all.
In hope, that in the future, History will state,
We were only young boys blamed for othersí mistakes.

By: Mel Lutgring
174th Assault Helicopter Company
Chu Lai, Vietnam, 1971