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Poetry from the Korean War:

High Flight

Our Prayer

Airman's Campus

Our Ground Crew

Night Intruder Lament

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By John Gillespie Magee, Jr.

Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
and danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed
and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of -
Wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence.
Hovering there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long, delirious burning blue
I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew.
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

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Lord guard and guide the men who fly,
Through the great spaces of the sky.

Be with them as they take to air,
In morning light and sunshine fair.

Eternal Father, strong to save,
Give them courage, make them brave;

Protect them whereso'er they go,
From shell and flak and fire and foe.

Most loved Member of their crew,
Ride with them up in the blue.

Direct their bombs upon the foe,
but shelter those whom Thou dost know.

Keep them together upon their way.
Grant their work success today.

Deliver them from hate and sin,
and bring them safely down again.

O God bless the men who fly,
Through lonely way across the sky,

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by Gill Robb Wilson

The airman's campus is ten miles tall
and the ivy twining its vaulted wall
has root in the breath of the misty strand
and the filtering fingers of land.

Its bounds are a scimitared edge of blue
which the eye may forge from a distant view,
and its walks are traced by the contrail's frost
till the footsteps pass and the track is lost.

Its windows look to the compassed space
where the orbiting worlds are held in place
and made to glow by the beams that run
a trillion miles from the burning sun.

Its field of play is the purple plain
where the ear may catch the sphere's refrain
to the verses sung by the dancing stars -
and the thundering bass of Mars.

The savant day and the long-haired night
hold class for the campus neophyte
with a text fresh writ each dusk and dawn
from the primal code they draw upon.

So come ye here who have heart to tread
in a tall man's pride with the thunderhead
and walk the scimitared edge of space
till the yearn of your heart finds peace.

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Here's to the men with greasy hands -
Who fuel our planes when we come in to land
Who fix the flak damage and stop the leaks
Who change the tires and stop the squeaks
Tend to the controls to make them fly straight
Wait for the planes when the pilots are late

Who smooth the scratches and rivet the panels
Check, "Loud and Clear" on the radio channels
Who read the writeups and make the repairs
Check the lines for chaffing and tears
Who pull the chocks and check the wings
And do a million other things

That make an aircraft safe and ready to fly.
So - Here's a salute to those hard working guys,
From a group of fliers who too seldom ponder
About the men who keep us up in the wild blue yonder.

(Submitted by Tom Shortell from original source Royal Canadian Air Force
Magazine via several other military newsletters.)

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I have a story to tell you
A story of men bold and brave
Who have fought, some have died, for their Country
With a brightly burning plane for their grave.

On an island we called Honshu
With the broad blue Pacific all around
We set up our tents and our shelters
And dug holes for our safety in the ground.

At night when day fighters are sleeping
And we call Hacksaw for a fix
The Heavens are filled with our thunder
And the roar of our Baker-26.

On a cold moonless night in December
The order was read with a sigh
And a happy-go-lucky young pilot
Took his plane and his crew out to die.

They went with a smile all unknowing
'Twas only a Korean patrol
Too bad that their duty included
Their answering GOD's Final Roll.

Moonshine gave them their vector
Surveillance to the Yalu and back.
They say the last words they transmitted
"We wish we were back in our sacks."

One hour stretched out into seven.
It was no time to jest or to grin.
We knew as we waited and listened
Another Night Intruder had augured in.

There was no one to see and report it.
No help from a searching patrol
Just three names written off the Roster
Who will no longer answer the roll.

So lift up your glasses my buddies
In honor of those who fought their fight.
The sleep you enjoy out of danger
Is because of the boys who fly at night.

-- Author Unknown

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