Monday, October 13, 2003

GyG'sMailbag: All Hands/Ship's Cook: An American Soldier In Iraq, by Mike Tank...

For: All Hands and the Ship's Cook.

Subject: An American Soldier in Iraq, a new poem by Mike Tank.

Say what you will about Mike Tank, he is most timely in his poem writing. That is what is reflected in his recent poem An American Soldier in Iraq. And don't say that Mike doesn't have friends in high places, as witnessed by the following exchange.

Jack Wing, a retired Marine Warrant Officer sent my last poem to a friend of his in Iraq, Col. Joe Dunford. Col. Dunford was the CO for the Fighting Fifth Marines and is now Chief of Staff of the 1st Marine Div. I wanted to forward his comments so that all of you will know how these young Marines feel about us old guys. I also took the liberty to wish him well from all of us.



My good friend Jack Wing sent me a copy of 'An American Soldier in Iraq.'
It was a great read. Thanks for sharing it with me.

Those of us here in Iraq have been mindful of how fortunate we are to follow
in the footsteps of Marines like Mike Tank and Jack Wing. Thanks again for
thinking of us. More importantly, thanks for taking care of business on
your watch.

Semper Fidelis
Joe Dunford

Mike wrote back to Colonel Dunford:


Thank you for taking the time to reply from what surely must be a busy schedule. It was kind of Jack to forward my poem to you. Besides belonging to a great bunch of Marines known as the FOOOMP's, I also belong to a group of Vietnam Veteran's from 1st Battalion, 1st Marines. Know that you are all in our hearts and prayers. On their behalf, I will thank you for your service to our Country and wish you all God's speed in the completion of your duties. Please come home safely.

Semper Fi,

Now, other than Mike's referring to us "Old Guys," which I'll take up separately with him to see who he was referring to, I consider that the foregoing exchange is important to note as the continuing thread that makes all of us who wore or wear the "EGA" simply the continuation of those who went before us. At least in my opinion, those of us who have seen the elephant, have fought and if necessary died, not for mother and apple pie, and not even for the flag itself. We fought for each other, and we take care of our own, or die trying. My proof? Just read a few citations for medals. Most were awarded when the Marine/Corpsman, often at the price of his own life, was covering for "his" Marines/Corpsmen. When I was so fortunate as to command an infantry battalion in Viet Nam, and would watch my Marines move toward a target under fire, I was reminded of the old saying that "We fight on the shoulders of those wearers of the "EGA" who went before us. We are not now going to do less than they did so that they would be as proud of us as we of them." >From reading Colonel Dunsford's note it is apparent that the Marines of today are as cognizant of the foregoing as we were.

Other than the fact that I'm jealous of who Colonel Dunsford, who was the CO of the 5th Marines, a position I always coveted but didn't achieve, I'm sure that we all send the same kind regards to him and the Marines around him who are carrying on where we left off. Let's see, what did we say in the 'Nam? Oh, yeah. "Get some!!!"

To find Mike's newest contribution to the site, go, as usual, to my web site at, click on "Menu," "Writers and Stories," "Mike Tank," and finally The American Soldier in Vietnam.

If you enjoy reading Mike's latest effort, why not tell him so at"

"Keep Warm," "Maintain a ten pace interval," "Stay off the !@#$% skyline," and Semper Fidelis, Sully

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By R.W. "Dick" Gaines
GySgt USMC (Ret.)