An Ode to a Friend
Rick Castellucci U.S.M.C. Retired
You’ve never heard a story like this, I’ll wager.
Of a young Marine, who we called the “Major”.
He was a simple Black Man, the only one to hate.
Strangely, only one did, “Me”, in Platoon 28.
He was five-foot, six, a hundred and none.
Could hit like a bullet fired from a gun.
We would fight each day, it was hard to stop.
I’d call him the N-Word, he’d call me a Whop.
Until one day when things got bad.
The whole platoon, at me, was mad.
When this simple Black Man let out a shout.
“Get on your feet”, he began to state. “We’ll take on anybody in Platoon 28.
We went to the bus stop on our day of graduation.
Cause we were both in the same situation.
We had no home, no family at all.
We’d go to New York and have a ball.
One red-bearded, burly man shouted at us.
“Hey Black Boy, sit in the back of the bus.”
The “Major” looked at me and I look at him.
We both stood up, “What’s your problem Jim?”
The man threw a punch, it was a windy blow.
I hit him high, the “Major” hit him low.
The bully hit the deck, he’d just learned his fate.
You don’t mess with anybody of Platoon 28.
Then, the day came when it was the worst.
In war we fought, the Regiment, the First.
From frozen Chosin, Marines would suffer.
Our men to the hills, to give us a buffer.
Chesty sent me out to find, “The Major’s Platoon”.
I would seek out my friend, we’d be together soon.
Snow was falling, the ground was white.
There was, “The Major”, it was total delight.
We laughed and hugged, mostly in glee.
We hadn’t seen each other since Toko-ri.
The enemy came down in a massive attack.
We took to our positions and threw them back.
Out of the blue, a grenade was thrown.
“The Major” dived and then he was gone.
We had no vehicles, no trucks or jeeps.
We buried our dead, taps gave us the creeps.
Some of us softly cried, the tears we wiped away.
To every man’s thoughts, we would bring them back some day.
“The Major” taught me to take each man at his best.
Until his actions, what he did, failed the test.
My friend had died; he saved my life.
Remembering each time, I look at my kids and my wife.
I know a great man went through that Marine-only gate.
Together, with many others of platoon 28.
Rick Castellucci, Humble & Grateful