by Cpl. Louis A. (Tony) Gilman
As you scrambled off the bus
And raced toward the yellow footprints
The Drill Instructors yelled at you to reach,
You began to change.
You suffered intense pain, physical & mental anguish
For the next 12 weeks and took it all, because you wanted to be
One of the best. You must have run hundreds of miles with those
Crazy men in Smokey Bear hats yelling at you to move your ass,
Pick up the pace, you maggot!
80 of you at the beginning, learning to work as a team,
to overcome, to adapt, to win.
Now you are at the rifle range, learning how to shoot,
To kill the enemy, to march 20 miles or more with full pack,
Learning hand-to-hand combat in case your weapon jams.
Now there are 60 of you.
You are polishing your close order drill, your rifle a part of you,
And you take the orders from your Platoon Commander as he yells
Right shoulder arms, left shoulder arms, and the platoon now acts as a unit,
A well oiled machine. You are fit, strong, a bad SOB now, and
Graduation is not far off now. You learn you are going to Vietnam,
And you are ready, willing, and able to fight for your country.
Graduation is here, and the 50 odd men of your platoon are excited to leave.
The Platoon Commander yells Platoon 2104, Dismissed!
You say one sir, two sir, aye aye sir! And turn around, throwing you hat in the air.
You are FREE ! You are now a MARINE ! You grab some of your buddies and scream
URRRAAHH ! The three men who made you the man you are today are crying,
With joy and sadness, for it has been a long 12 weeks!
Now you are in Vietnam, as many of us were sent, bullets and motor rounds all around you,
You deploy your men, make sure they have effective fields of fire, and fire back at the enemy.
Someone yelling Medic, I’m hit! Pvt. Martinez, who you never liked, but he is a Marine,
So you make your way over to him and apply first aid. Suck it up, Martinez!
Help is on the way.
You serve two tours in Nam, are wounded twice, and receive two PURPLE HEARTS.
You come home, try to raise a family, your duty to God and Country done.
As you get older, you are no longer that young wild-man, that life taker and heart breaker.
But you stay true to your word, and are a man of Honor.
Now you are in your 60’s and your health is getting worse,
But you keep your raunchy sense of humor, your kindness, your smile.
You never turn away a friend in need or a stranger down on his luck.
The word on the street is if you need a place to crash or something to eat
Go see Doug, he is always willing to help someone.
Now you are having trouble getting up the stairs, and are as weak as a kitten,
But you still have that laugh, that sense of humor, that kindness, that Doug smile.
Then the day comes when The Lord visits you and takes you into His loving arms,
And God Says:
“Come Home with Me Marine, you have served your time in hell.”
Dedicated to my Good Friend
Robert “Doug” Apshire
B. Aug 12, 1944 D. Feb 12, 2007
Sgt. United States Marine Corps
SEMPER FI DOUG !