Stories/Poems Collection for Nick Fondo

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A HILL FARAWAY

Nick Fondo

nickfondo(Nick pictured shortly after his tour in the Nam)

As I close my eyes to sleep, A HILL FARAWAY, oh so steep, into my mind begins to creep. Sleep eludes me on this night.
Once again I hear the bugles blow, and again the jungle, begins to grow.
I see their faces, one and all, I hear their cries, and feel the pain, of men engaged in mortal combat. Of hearing the clashing of bayonets unsheathed, of the machine guns deadly chatter.
Once again I see the blood and gore all around me. I feel my buddy as he grabs me and I see his eyes as they plead, “Please! Help me do not Let me bleed!” There was nothing I could do, I held him and tears I did shed, for he was one of the many dead.
I held him for what seemed eternity. Giap had given the word, “Wipe them out to the last man!” But! Men like Pearson, Hackworth and Willis too, he did not know, they would not let his Army go.
Led by men like Perkins, Morningstar and Carpenter too, these were men Airborne! Through and through!
Days and nights, rain and cold. Where did they find men so bold!
When Giap gave his order to encircle tight, He had no idea of the eagles might. He gave the order to attack and the O’deuce did reply, “Bring it on, ours is to do or die!”

With the napalms deadly burst Giap did reverse but to his dismay, The Abu met him on his way. So with our Tigers you want to play? Giap you will now pay! So the 24th NVA died that fateful Day! But oh what a price We did pay on that battlefield on A HILL FARAWAY!

tigersTiger Force troopers prepare for battle just prior to Dak Tan Kan Valley fight
(Photo courtesy of Ivan Worrell)

 Dedicated to all the men and support that fought at Dak-to June of 1966. Especially to men like Sgt. A Morningstar, who Died while committing a frontal attack on an enemy machine gun. To SSGT. Ira H. Perkins for extremely heroic actions on June 7th, 1966. To the Tiger Force that fought and died so gallantly at Tiger Fields and to all the brave men that fought at Dak-to for I was there and my heart swells with pride to know that I had the opportunity to serve with such truly gallant Airborne Men and Officers.
Nick was a machinegunner with A (Abu) Company, 3rd platoon, 1/327th Infantry, 1st Brigade (Separate), 101st Airborne Division.

24
FOR HE KNEW THE THINGS I WOULD SEE…

By Paratrooper Nick Fondo

I remember the day so long ago
I had come to say good-bye.
I had never before, seen a tear in his eye.
Before you go he said to me,
“Remember to keep your head down
And stay close to the ground!”
I never before had seen a tear in my brother’s eye.
Now so many years later I know why,
FOR HE KNEW THE THINGS I WOULD SEE…

stare(Photo courtesy of Ivan Worrell)

Of how different upon my return I would be,
So much like he.
I now, too, have a faraway stare.
At times when darkness is near,
I feel the jungle and the fear,
I sense the danger lurking near.
As a youngster I did not know,
That the roll of thunder and lightning’s flash
Could transport me back,
To places long past.
And at times, I would wonder why
He would stand and silently cry.
And at times I would wonder
Why we both came back and did not die.
“He suffers from battle fatigue”, they said.
And I PTSD, a new term for a condition of soldiers
Battle weary and torn, sleepless nights, and days too.
I now know why he said, “Good-bye”,
With a tear in his eye…

24
A SOLDIER’S LIFE

A poem by Nick Fondo

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As I awaken each day,
I hope and pray…
That the ones I love,
Will not have to live this way…
A SOLDIER’S LIFE, in combat tough,
And carry on he must, a tear is shed…
For those around,
Whose blood has spilled upon the ground…
Just eighteen years of age,
Filled with hate and rage…
They are old before their time,
Worn faces now, only… memories of a happier time…
Their eyes have seen the gore on battlefields faraway,
And silently they pray…
For an end to this war,
Of the blood and gore…
Thirty years have passed on by, and yet each night I cry,
For as I close my eyes to sleep, my mind drifts back to that war…
I see the bodies, smell the jungle,
And sense the heat of battle once more…
I wake with chills and sweat,
Crying out for those that are no more…
And at work, I try to forget,
When a voice from the past will cry out…
“Move out! You are needed up front!”
For a split second I have returned…
To a place so far away, to fight another battle on this day,
And yet, as I look around, I realize I am home on friendly ground…
I was told to forget and move on,
I have tried and yet each day…
I live and see those friends,
That were so dear to me…

I have no thoughts before the Nam,
My memory fails me…
Don’t you see?
NOW they tell me, I suffer from PTSD…

 24
WHAT MEMORIAL DAY MEANS TO ME

By Paratrooper Nick Fondo

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When I hear the words Memorial Day, I think of friends I once knew. Friends and comrades I last saw on a foreign shore. They came from all walks of life, some were rich, some were poor. We were just Americans fighting side by side.
I think of the pain I see in my older brother’s eye when on that rare occassion, he will speak of another war on a different foreign shore. My brother also will speak of men he once knew, as we walk through the graveyard. He will stop, I notice as he gazes upon a gravestone, a tear starts to glisten in his eye. Speaking to no-one in particular, he tells of a friend he once , the friend that now sleeps.
I think of my Father-in-Law and of the pain that is reflected in his eyes, of the things that he has seen. Like my brother and I, he also fought on a foreign shore.
I think of all the servicemen and women that have given all they could. Of Bunker Hill, Little Big Horn, the Alamo, Gettysburg, San Juan Hill, Belleau Wood, Manila Bay, Guadalcanal, Pork Chop Hill, Dak-To. And I watch as OLD GLORY is carried on by, I feel a tear forming in my eye.
I Thank all the men and women, who have fought and died, to give me this freedom, that, I.., all, take for granted. May God bless YOU, ONE and ALL