Friday, July 29, 2011

JCOC 80 Poem by Dr. Harris Pastides

Dedicated to a fantastic group of fellow travelers, the Men and Women of JCOC 80

We all met on a Saturday, an Armed Services adventure,
With very little detail on where we were to venture.

It started on a somber note, the day was 9/11,
We prayed for fallen heroes and raised our heads to heaven.

We left from Andrews Air force base, on a shiny limousine
But never had we seen this kind, our own C 17!

We oohed and aahed and snapped our photos of airmen very fine,
And better than any airport, not one security line!

First stop was San Diego, and the Navy was our host.
We took off on the Freedom, of that we will always boast.

It revved its massive engines, it took off like a jet,
But alas with no drug thugs around, we would not need to get wet.

And then we toured the Vinson, a carrier with much might,
And imagined ourselves landing and screeching out in flight.

Our limo whisked us off again to a cooler destination,
In five hours we had arrived, at Elmendorf Air Station.

We talked to many young officers who shared the Alaskan way,
And then the Air Force and Army shared us for an unforgettable day.

We witnessed aircraft scramble, intercepting was their role,
And we even did our own part, by slidling down the pole!

We sat right in a Blackhawk, as pilots we were faking,
But all we really wanted was to have our photo taken.

The low point of the trip was upon us, and it wasn't the high seas,
It was on the bus when they handed out...those dreaded MRE's!

The Soldiers armed our learned group, and presented us a thriller,
But little did they anticipate, we were all natural born killers!

We donned our armor, blew up doors, and climbed in all those Hummies,
We invaded suspect houses, and took out all the dummies!

It's a good thing that we fired blanks because we Rambo's would not be defeated,
If the M4s had been loaded, we would have returned very much depleted!

We witnessed 19 paratroopers practice making war,
Or were they just reclaiming the HumVee pushed out the door?

At night we were royally treated to dinner, music and wine,
And a beautiful well-trained eagle, who sat there so sublime.

On Tuesday we were dealt a blow by Mother Nature acting on cue,
Who sent the fog to Kodiak, and cancelled our overboard rescue.

No worry for our weary team, who cancelled their alarm from beeping,
By now our greatest passion, was for showering and sleeping!

The day was quickly reclaimed, by morning's early light,
with news from Our Coast Guard leader, the mighty Ryan White.

We got to know the Coast Guard as they told us of their roles,
And later went to Anchorage, to shop and eat and stroll.

On Wednesday we prepared ourselves, when waken from our dreams
For one whole day of dust and guns with the United States Marines

We saw much urban combat, and learned how to react
When bad guys mix with good ones in planning their attack

We fired guns with live ammo but marksmen we were not,
When the dust had cleared we were happy to see that no one had been shot!

And now back at the Pentagon, we prepare for our re-entry
From a journey so rewarding, and from bounties oh so plenty.

We are grateful in a new found way for our beacon Motherland,
And for all our unsung heroes, on sea, and air and land.

There is no way to repay this debt that provides us with our freedom,
We can barely even recognize the heroes' families burden.

So instead we will simply stand and salute those who we will never forget,
Airmen, soldiers, sailors, marines, and the brave Coast Guard cadets.

We leave here as resolved Americans, our commitment much more weighty,
The fifty intrepid travelers now friends from Conference 80.

Harris Pastides
September 11-16, 2010

No comments: