All the team had survived an ambush,
A few minor wounds, nothing serious.
Each and everyone said the same thing:
Mociello had saved them from death.
I did the after-action debrief
Of Sergeant Albert Mosiello.
Back from behind enemy lines,
Back from a dangerous mission.
On the second day of this patrol,
Moving quietly down a trail, he froze:
He gave the signal to take cover -
Moments before an ambush was sprung.
The explosions and gunfire
Went over their heads and prone bodies.
They accurately returned gunfire,
Breaking the ambush, and they broke free.
The extraction was a tough affair,
But we got the team all out of there.
The minor wounds from shrapnel treated,
And a cold beer to each of the team.
"What made you give the ambush signal?"
I once again asked Mosiello.
"Something did not feel right, I sensed them.
I knew they were there. I'm not sure how."
I had just returned from leave,
When the alarm sounded loud.
A plane had been shot down,
And a rescue we must launch.
I grabbed my flight vest.
I grabbed my helmet and gun,
And it was a one hour flight -
To where the plane went down.
Upon arriving over the site,
I talked on the radio -
To the survivor of the crash,
Sergeant Mosiello was O.K.
He said the front-seater died,
He never ejected after the hit.
He said he was surrounded -
By perhaps a regiment.
Their guns were set-up and waiting.
They were waiting for the rescue.
They knew we would want him back.
They knew we had to go in for him.
We started working the air-strikes.
The slow movers were taking hits,
Too many guns shooting at us,
We called upon the fast movers.
They came in from all directions,
Ever closer, we worked the air-strikes.
It looked good, and we were set,
We'll try to pull Mosiello out.
The first chopper in took a hit,
A rocket direct in the nose.
The ship reported it was O.K.,
But we sent it back to base.
We worked more air-strikes,
We worked them closer still.
The napalm discouraged the foe,
But, the fight never let up.
One more rescue chopper inbound,
He's hit, and all lite up:
Burning to ashes in the sky,
Not much left to fall down.
It is now our turn to fly over,
To confirm, there are no survivors.
It's in low and slow we fly,
With all guns blazing at us.
We work the air-strikes still more,
Always hitting the shooting guns below.
And Mosiello keeps talking,
Telling us all he see's from down there.
The gun fire has slacked some.
We'll send a chopper in again.
The pick-up is smooth and quick:
Sergeant Morciello is out of there.
Mosiello's Court Martial
Staff Sergeant Albert Mosiello,
Absent without official leave,
"Convene the Special Court Martial!"
The case will be heard and judgement rendered.
He came back from the war in Viet Nam,
Was given a thirty day leave,
And as he still had money left,
He stayed gone an extra ninety days.
This warrior with ribbons galore
Was in violation of the rules.
The Articles of War applied.
He was still part of the Army.
He claimed he did not know the rules.
He thought he could stay a bit more,
As he'd been gone for many years -
Fighting in the war over there.
The black robed judge sat high up,
To hear the plea of the accused:
"Guilty your honor, I didn't know -
All the rules, back here in the States."
The judge looked upon the court,
Seeing many grizzled veterans,
Who traveled far to bear witness -
To the deeds of Mosiello.
A General spoke, all listened:
This Mosiello knows of battle.
He knows about fighting and killing.
He is a soldier of courage.
A Colonel spoke, all listened:
Mosiello flew in aircraft,
As a Forward Air Controller,
He was shot down over Laos.
To rescue him, brave men rallied,
The price was high, six men did die.
He would have done the same for them.
He deserves consideration.
The judge, when all was said that day,
From the bench imposed his justice,
"You plead guilty, and guilty I find.
Your sentence, an official reprimand."
The Court Martial was now over.
The young black robed judge stood up,
He saluted Mosiello, saying:
"You deserve my salute Sergeant."
"Your courage and service saved you.
These warriors gave witness of your deeds.
To hear these stories is to believe.
To be saluted is your due."
In recognition for my actions in conjunction with Mosiello's Rescue, I was awarded my third Air Medal with "Valor" device.
AWARD OF THE AIR MEDAL FOR HEROISM
For heroism while participating in aerial flight in Southeast Asia: Captain Duffy distinguished himself by heroism on 30 June 1970 while serving as Senior Airborne Controller of a search-and-rescue mission. Directing several low level passes to be made, Captain Duffy quickly determined the condition of the survivor of the downed OV-10 aircraft, and then directed a total of thirty-eight strike aircraft against the enemy positions. During one of five attempts to extract the survivor, one HH53 was shot down. Once again, in the face of highly accurate and aggressive enemy ground fire, Captain Duffy directed low level passes to be made, to determine if there were any survivors of that downed aircraft; none were observed. Captain Duffy's knowledge and capabilities to direct multi-air assets in the best possible configuration, in addition to his sound judgement and calmness in the face of hostile fire, were a key factor in preventing the further loss of life and aircraft in the difficult SAR effort. Captain Duffy's heroic actions were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, Special Forces and the United States Army.
Captain Butler's Flag"
(Silver Star Medal)
It was going to be tough.
Six teams in blocking positions.
Six teams of twelve men each,
To stop an enemy of thousands.
This was an in-country task.
We were to be inserted.
The choppers would fly low,
And we would go in heavy.
The A'Shau valley was bad.
It was known as NVA country.
They had even built a road -
We called it, the Expresssway.
The team was briefed by staff:
"Lam Son 719" was going into Laos,
And we were tasked to screen,
To block and interdict the NVA.
This was a very large operation.
The Commander wished us luck,
And each team went off to prepare;
Extra ammo, water and weapons.
The insertion went as planned,
And we secured and dug-in,
Preparing for the fight to come:
Waiting for the NVA to attack.
They came down the valley,
A regiment two thousand strong,
And we targeted the enemy;
Dropping mortar rounds in their ranks.
They directed forces to attack us.
They came up the hill in waves.
Our machine guns blasted at them,
We discharged our claymores.
The original attack faltered.
They left behind one hundred dead.
We had suffered but a few wounds,
None serious, but night was coming.
We prepared for another attack.
We uncased and prepared mortar rounds.
We went back out and set-up claymores.
We bandaged wounds, and dug in deeper.
The attack came as we had thought,
This time, creeping up upon us.
But we knew, they were there,
And we blasted them as before.
Once again, we had beat them back.
We could hear the cries of the wounded,
And this time, we had one dead,
And more wounds to bandage.
The next day, they streamed past,
Staying well away from our hillock.
But we blasted them with mortar fire.
We called air support in on the kill.
After noon, they came at us once again.
This time, they used artillery and mortars,
Explosions of steel, to keep us down,
Before they attacked right up the hill.
We came back up, wounded and bloody.
We blasted them, our guns burning hot.
It was smoke and dust, and cordite:
It was our place and time to die.
But once again, we stopped the enemy.
Our ammunition low, exhausted,
We knew our end was soon to come,
But none among us showed his fear.
On the radio, I had listened:
As the other teams fought their last.
Five teams gone, all their men dead.
Only my team still survived; surrounded.
I took out my American flag.
I attached it to a long antenna,
And I flew it from our hillock of death.
If I was to die, I would do it, my way.
We grimly awaited the final attack,
When a Forward Air Controller called:
"Captain Butler, I have extraction ships,
You are ordered to exfiltrate."
And the helicopters came from high,
Circling down rapidly to land.
The wounded and dead were loaded.
I climbed aboard and we lifted off.
We broke away low and flying fast,
Enemy fire ripping the ship.
When I counted, one man short,
One man not on the helicopter.
It must be so, back we must go.
As we circled, we saw our man,
Who had been blown off the hillock,
Back up and waving the American flag.
In we went to pick him up.
He was bloodied and wounded,
But smiling, as he jumped aboard,
And once more, we were out of there.
Note: Of the six Recon Teams inserted to block the NVA regiments from transiting the A'Shau Valley to attack Hue, the old imperial capitol of Viet Nam, Captain Butler's Team was the only one to return to base.
Bennie Adkin's War
(Medal Of Honor)
Two defectors came into camp.
I did the debriefing of them.
The enemy was going to attack
As soon as the weather turned bad.
I prepared my mortar pit:
We uncanned our deadly rounds
And reinforced with sandbags,
Brought in extra water and rations.
The attack came five days later.
The fog was thick and visibility low.
The enemy fired mortar rounds.
It was midnight and the fight began.
We fired back with our mortars.
The enemy probed our perimeter.
They were in the minefields.
They were cutting through the wire.
We had preplanned targets.
I called for artillery support.
I fired our mortar rounds in the dark.
I waited for the enemy to appear.
Through the wire, they cut a hole.
A head popped up in the dark.
I shot him with a three round burst
And now I was in a shooting gallery.
The fog and night twirled together,
But heads keep popping up in the dark.
I lock, load and fire,
Killing one hundred that long foggy night.
When dawn arrived, a quiet settled,
With only the cries of the wounded heard.
We bandaged wounds we had suffered
And fetched more water and ammo.
The aircraft were high above.
On the radio, I talked to them.
The enemy was danger close
And the fog was pea soup thick.
Surrounding the camp were enemy guns,
Waiting for the American airplanes.
And when they rolled in to attack,
The enemy guns blasted away at them.
The battle raged throughout the day
And the casualties mounted each hour.
Thirty-seven aircraft were lost
And the enemy took half the camp.
We organized a counter-attack.
With grenades, we attacked our foe,
And he fought back with his grenades.
We were repulsed by the deadly shrapnel.
Many times wounded and bloodied.
We fought on throughout the day
Until the order was given:
"Abandon A-Shau Firebase!"
The lift ships came in fast.
We loaded the wounded.
We started evacuating our soldiers.
The enemy never slackened his fire.
One wounded American is missing.
Back we must go to carry him out.
In the confusion of battle,
The last helicopter left the camp.
Into the jungle we carried our comrade.
Into the night we fled the enemy.
The enemy pursued us, intent on our death
And we thought the end was near.
We heard the roar of a jungle beast.
In the night, a tiger tracked us.
The enemy pursuit stopped,
With the roar of a tiger in the night.
Our wounded comrade died that night.
With the dawn, we were able to signal,
A helicopter came to our rescue.
We escaped death that night in the jungle.
The Mexican Sergeant
It was in the Viet Nam war.
I was a Platoon Sergeant.
I told my platoon early on:
"I am the Mexican Sergeant."
My troopers liked "Sergeant Mexican",
They thought I was lucky for them.
It was many a firefight we fought
Without the casualties others had.
One day, the platoon was ambushed.
Of the twenty-eight men, most were down.
Six men followed me out of the ambush
And each of them had also been hit.
I had been hit three times,
But we had men who couldn't get out.
I rallied my bloody six, gathered some more
And it was back we went once again.
All were killed and I was hit six more times,
But we killed all of the enemy
That had killed all of us, but me:
Wounded and bloody; no longer lucky.
The Purple Heart
He stood in the enemies path.
He showed not his fear,
And fought the battle through.
His blood was the price of victory.
This is the man - all men honor.
He is the true hero in combat,
Be he a Private or a General,
He stood where others did not.
Let all others honor this man.
His wounds speak louder than words.
His disabilities are his badge of courage.
His feats are this nations "Glory".
Whispers From Beyond
The battle was ferocious.
I fought my very best.
I stood and I did not run,
My buddies stood beside me.
The enemy was determined.
The cost he paid was high,
But, he attacked and attacked,
Until we fought hand to hand.
The soldier that killed me,
He was young and he was strong.
I thought I could take him,
But, this time, I was wrong.
I hope they have a ceremony:
With casket and a draped flag,
To present after the salute volley.
Be proud of me as I did my best.
Paratrooper Swan Song
Oh! I'm a fearless paratrooper.
I jump from planes while in flight.
I jump in the day or at night.
I jump with a smile on my face.
What is there to be frightened of?
I'm not at all afraid of heights.
I'm not at all afraid of flight.
I'm not at all afraid of jumping.
Oh! I'm a fearless paratrooper.
On my uniform, I wear jump wings.
On my feet, I wear shiney jump boots.
On my head, I wear my red beret.
It is great to be a paratrooper.
All the men, they stand in awe.
All the parents, they are so proud.
All the girls, they love a paratrooper.
One day, my parachute didn't open,
All the way down I plummeted,
With a smile upon my face,
A fearless paratrooper until the end.
Alpha Male Warrior
The machine takes you in,
And shears the hair you had.
Next, they uniform you,
And give you a title.
It's Private this or that,
But do it now, don't ask!
Salute and say:"Yes Sir",
You are a team player.
Grind you down, day and night,
Low crawl with barbed wire above,
And machine guns firing:
Keep low, and you're O.K.
Not much sleep, always tired,
Wear you down, each day hard.
You automate, no thoughts,
Do what you are told, now!
In time, it really ends.
You are proud to have passed.
Now, you're a Marine,
Standing tall, in dress blues.
You are a trained fighter,
Prepared to execute,
Each command you receive.
You're a killing machine.
"Semper Fi" Marine
Marines joined as brothers,
That is the essence of loyalty.
To bound together as a team,
Where the mission is the imperative.
This the creed of every Marine.
This is the creed of the fighting man.
To accomplish the assigned task,
Even when life and limb are imperilled.
This the man you can depend upon.
This the man you would risk life for.
This the man you can trust to execute.
This man is your fellow warrior.
From the first shipboard Marine,
To the modern day fighter pilot,
These men work as a brotherhood
Where sacrifice is always the model.
A Marine is prepared for combat.
He is prepared to face his foe and kill.
He is prepared to sacrifice if need be.
A Marine is a hero waiting to execute.
Pause For An Emperor
In the year 363 A.D.,
The Emperor Julian invaded,
The land between the rivers:
Mesopotamia, as the Greeks spoke.
With more than one hundred thousand
Of his best Legionaries,
He advanced into the heartland,
Of the old Persian Empire.
Victory and success came early,
But the deeper he advanced,
The more oppressive the heat
And the stronger the resistance.
On a June day in that year,
His columns were attacked:
First in the rear, then in the front,
And finally in the center.
The Emperor rushed to and fro,
Until a spear thrust into his liver.
Felled from his horse with a mortal wound,
He died that night, between the rivers.
After The Parades
A soldier fights our wars,
He goes where he is told to go.
Our enemy is his enemy.
Our interest is his to execute.
The wars are fast and brutal,
Or they can drag on far too long.
The soldier is not asked his view,
His is to do or die trying.
When he is killed in combat,
We honor him and we mourn him.
Should he be wounded or injured,
We tell him we'll take care of him.
When the war comes to an end,
And the veterans return home -
The hospitals become crowded,
The doctors become over burdened.
It is sad to see soldiers waiting.
It is sad to see their frustration,
As the hospitals and the staff
Do their very best to treat them.
But, when the danger has passed,
The parades and medals done with,
The soldier is no longer needed.
Too soon, the soldier is forgotten.
Peter Francisco, Giant of the Revolution
In 1776, at sixteen years of age,
He enlisted with the Continentials:
George Washington's Army of Revolution,
To fight for American independence.
He was a giant in his time,
Standing tall at six feet six,
And his strenght was legend,
As were his swarthy good looks.
He fought at the Battle of Brandywine,
In September of 1777.
While stemming the tide of retreat,
He was hit in the leg by a musket ball.
His wound quickly healed,
And he next fought in October,
At the Battle of Germantown.
He once again fought a rear guard action.
Peter Francisco wintered at Valley Forge,
Enduring hunger, cold, and depravation.
He was ill for two months in hospital,
Where he toughened, and hardened.
At the Battle of Mommouth Courthouse,
George Washington rallied his troops,
And fought the British to a stand-off.
Peter was again wounded by a musket ball.
On July 15, 1779, close to midnight,
Peter Francisco was one of twenty,
Members of a "forlorn hope" assault,
Selected to retake Stony Point Fort.
The surprise attack succeeded.
Peter killed three opponents,
In close bayonet fighting,
Suffering a belly slash in turn.
Though wounded, he perservered,
The first man to reach the flagstaff.
He hauled the British flag down -
And resistance soon ended.
Once again, after a lenghty recovery,
He joined up with a newly formed militia,
And they skirmished at Camden,
On August 15, 1780 in South Carolina.
The militia broke and were routed.
Peter tried to rally his compatriots,
But, the fear and panic were too much -
Even the officers fled in panic.
Seeing a Redcoat taking aim at his Colonel,
He bayoneted him before he could fire.
Another cavalryman charged the two;
Francisco stood his ground, bayoneting his foe.
Peter took the dead troopers horse,
Mounted him, and went to rejoin his Colonel,
Who had been captured by a Red coat.
He cut the soldier down, and freed his Colonel.
Alighting from the captured steed,
He urged his Colonel to mount and ride off.
He then spotted an abandoned field piece,
And rallied men to turn it on the British.
Another cavalryman burst from the woods,
Reared his horse and demanded Peter's surrender.
He once again bayoneted the trooper,
Grabbed the horse and escaped.
George Washington, hearing of the deeds,
Ordered a special five foot sword for him.
It was delivered on March 13, 1781,
Just before the Battle of Guilford Court.
At the battle, the British were attacking.
When the bugler sounded the charge,
And with Peter Francisco mounted,
He led a fearless charge into the Redcoats.
He rode roughshod over their ranks,
Swinging his great broadsword.
He personallly killed eleven enemy,
Before a bayonet pierced his leg.
Francisco cleaved the grenadiers head apart
With his broadsword, and unpinned his leg.
He then charged a British square,
And suffered another bayonet wound.
Francisco wheeled out of the action,
Rode a short distance before tumbling down.
Wounded twice and bleeding he lay,
Until found by a Quaker after the battle.
He was slowly nursed back to health,
And in time rejoined his Regiment.
General Washington offered him a commission,
But Peter turned it down as he could not read.
He was given a position as scout,
Operating independently, seeking intelligence.
He was captured by nine Redcoat cavalrymen,
While operating behind enemy lines.
They left him in charge of one trooper.
He killed the trooper, suffering another wound.
Peter captured all the mounts plus one Redcoat,
And the remainder fled for their lives.
George Washington spoke of Peter Francisco:
He called him, his one man Army.
He said: he is the "Giant of Virginia",
And our "Hercules of the Revolution".
At the surrender of the British,
On October 19, 1781 at Yorktown,
He stood among the heroes of the revolution,
He stood taller and braver than all.