174th Assault
Helicopter Company



By: Mel Lutgring

I awaken to the merry chirping of birds at sunrise,
Slowly seeking the warmth of coals from the evening fire.
Perched atop a sandstone boulder surveying my present domain,
I cherish yesterday’s memories, savoring a cup of hot tea.
The morning’s warming rays chase the receding dusk
Through the sleepy valley below, a new day blooming at my feet.
In the stillness of the peaceful Kisatchie Hills,
I can almost hear the wind songs of dancing boughs
Of the Longleaf Pines from the majestic night before.
It’s brilliant moon etched the beauty of silent shadows
Of stark tree limbs in my wandering mind.
I close my eyes and see the blue and gold flames
Flickering above embers of red-orange coals in the crackling campfire.
And in the vastness of the heavens, countless stars,
Shining like diamonds on a black velvet sea.
The serenity of the morning comforted by the soft gurgling creek,
As cold clear water tumbles down a sandstone fall:
Nature commanding a reverence as religious as any Church.
I remember the faces of friendships strengthened by the bond
Of sharing this treasured hallowed ground.
The laughter in their voices, sparkle in their eyes,
The love in their hearts, and the goodness in their souls;
Truly a priceless gift----only experienced in this Wilderness.

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