Godspeed to Frank

We lined the platoon up on the airfield at dusk
Turned on the four-ways on all the trucks
And when the time came, I said ‘move out’.
Nobody talked. The radio was silent

We drove down the taxiway onto the road
Ten miles per hour is as fast as we went
Towards the helipad near headquarters
Where I could see a crowd gathering

It seemed to take forever to get there
But we dreaded our arrival, as if
Somehow if we didn’t reach our destination
None of this would be real

But it was very real and we arrived
As we knew we would, where a detail
Had formed, and the crowd stood by
As we came to a halt and dropped-ramp

And as ceremoniously as we could muster
For being sweaty and still dirty from the day
We carried the litter from the belly of the truck
Those long fifty paces to the helicopter.

There had to be sixty people there, but
I don’t remember hearing a sound
And we slid the litter into the bird
The body bag of our fallen friend.

The crew chief unwrapped a flag
And we helped drape it over the litter
As the troopers lined up single file.
“Take care of him” I said; the chief nodded

We said our goodbyes and I touched
What I figured was his leg, but all
I felt was the cold, stiff green plastic
And walking away, whispered ‘Godspeed’.

About anotherwarriorpoet

Mathew Bocian served as a Captain in the United States Army with the Stryker Brigade and was deployed to Mosul and Tal'Afar in 2004 - 2005, and to Baghdad for The Surge in 2007 - 2008. He left the Army in 2012 and now uses his poetry as a way to heal from the traumas of war, while attempting to express to readers the realities of war. He is the recipient of the Bronze Star and Purple Heart, and holds a master's from the Graduate School for Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh.
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3 Responses to Godspeed to Frank

  1. J says:

    The truly early goodbye…Throughout our history of war, many men and women, from all walks of life, have answered the call of duty and haven’t returned home the way they departed.
    For those who said, “Godspeed,” from the field, I can only imagine the emotions you hid inside as you continued on with your mission. There is no leave from trenches, from ships, from tanks, from the depths of the jungle, or from the jungle during war. Only deployers understand…


  2. Damn, Mat… There is serious power in these words, and it wasn’t easy to read or receive them.

    Having said that, thank you for sharing it. You have honored both this man and many others by the telling of this fallen warrior.


  3. Wow, this one made me cry… So powerful.


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