A poem by veteran Rob Caudill

There on the flight line a slumbering beast awaits

It is nothing more than nuts and bolts and everything held in-between to some

To the few that served with the CH-46 a.k.a. Phrog know that it has a soul of its own

Or perhaps it is the souls of all those it has carried one last time.

When it is time for a break no Marine complains worse than a Phrog

Demanding countless maintenance hours into the cold night

Or working in 130 degrees or more under the sweltering sun

Once this slumbering beast is awake the demand for perfection is played with

High stakes.

From extinguishing fires and rescuing stranded civilians when

Mother Nature is at her worse.

Most importantly when the war drums are playing the call is the greatest

Sometimes it is with guns blazing killing any enemy in sight

Or slipping quietly through the night inserting the deadly cargo into the darkness

Perhaps the most convenient group is the causality evacuation crew that mans the


From the jungles of Vietnam to the sand storms of Iraq the sounds of the rotor blades chopping through the air meant your chances of survival have just increased.

From the men and women that sit in the cockpit

flying a helicopter the size of a school bus into conditions

that most people run away from in fear.

The Crew Chief with his knowledge of the aircraft

matched only by his skills with the machine guns.

And the devotion of the Aerial Observer ready to step in at a moment’s notice

finally the Combat Corpsman that share a sacred blood oath with their brothers in arms;

risking their life and limb to save the fallen from death’s grip.

Just like every great warrior there must come a time to leave the battle field behind.

Some of the Phrogs have earned a warriors death in combat along with the crew

while others have transitioned to the civilian world taking up jobs where ever they can fly.

A few are retired as memorials reminding us of our past;

the rest of them fly one last mission to the aircraft boneyard

where they will be stripped down but never forgotten.

All too often you may hear the veteran’s stories that are told to friends and family.

As we allow the Phrog to fly one more time through the sky

during the greatest time of our lives.


Copyright Rob Caudill 2016. All Rights Reserved.