SOUTH CHINA SEA (June 13, 2015) Lightning strikes the water as San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS Anchorage (LPD 23) navigates between storms. The Essex Amphibious Ready Group is currently operating in the 7th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Liam Kennedy/Released)

Smoke ‘Em If You Got ‘Em

by Patrick Walsh

There I was, a young man getting ready to jump,
Sprawled on the tarmac, hand on my reserve, paint-daubed
And smelling like ass from having to hump
An 80-pound ruck two weeks in the field;
Just wishing I could get me a piece

Of that prop-blast, a cool comb through the hair
Of the median grass. And standing up there
Is this seasoned NCO, a regular Falstaff in fatigues,
Easy and loose with a joke and a laugh.
What I had before me was an ancient form

Come down from hoplites and legionnaires.
The C-130 turned, taxied, and flew. It all got quiet again.
That’s when he let slip that old sage warhorse:
“Smoke ’em if you got ’em, men.”