vast Pacific was aflame in 1943
global war was raging round the world.
war lords of the Rising Sun and Hitler roamed the seas.
gallant men were dying to keep freedom's flag "unfurled".
But Nice" was battle scarred from thirty missions "plus",
seems the road to freedom's always paved,
those who challenge all the odds because they know they must,
freedom is to be preserved, Democracy is saved.
Flying Fortress lifted off Port Moresby's jungle field.
carried bombs and ten heroic men.
couldn't know doom lay in wait and that their fates were sealed.
telegrams would notify 9 crewmen's "next of kin".
target was New Britain where Jap fighters lay in wait.
were slaughtered in this realm.
still the Fortress plodded on en-route to meet her fate.
by courageous hands, the pilot at her helm.
over target hostile fire, the Fortress plunged and died,
from the aircraft Holguin would survive.
comrades perished with the plane for they were trapped inside.
captured by the Japanese was wounded but alive.
prison camp was Holguin's home until the peace was signed.
every day he made a solemn vow.
he'd return for comrades he was forced to leave behind.
by one, each mother's son, he'd bring them home somehow.
returned to peace once more on California's coast.
through the years the nagging "memries" came.
all the things he thought about what haunted Holguin most,
comrades who had fought and died aboard that burning plane.
almost forty years had passed to 1981,
jungle growth had camouflaged the scene
Holguin still remembered and his mission wasn't done.
never quit until he'd found his comrades and their "Queen".
Holguin looked, two trips it took, determination paid.
time reversed, the clock had "stopped" for Joe.
resting neath the forests in a quiet jungle glade,
wreckage of that gallant bird he'd left so long ago.
the jungle site he searched, how many would he find?
promise that he'd made them took "command".
couldn't leave a stone unturned or leave a friend behind.
done his best and now the rest was in the Maker's hands.
fate still held the winning hand as Holguin searched the site.
wouldn't find his comrades at the scene.
friends he'd known so long ago upon that fateful flight,
rested on Hawaiian soil for fate had intervened.
sergeants H. Garcia, Robert Griebel and Pace Payne.
Francis Peattie made it four.
fifth Lt. Herman Knott, all perished with their plane.
by side each one had died as they guarded freedom's "door".
five warriors then were disinterred as Holguin reminisced.
he recalled his friends in silent thought.
as he pondered in his mind years faded like a mist.
pay the cost of war but that's how freedom's bought!
Joe would escort each one home and bid a last good bye.
as he saw each comrade laid to rest,
bowed his head and listened to the bugle's haunting cry.
like his comrades Holguin knew he'd done his very best.
Holguin sensed a Presence and he felt an unseen Hand.
that Silent Presence echo'd in his mind.
whispered "Joe our mission is proceeding as I've planned",
you and I who watched them die don't leave our friends behind".
third trip was a fruitless one, where do the others sleep"
Holguin knows his mission must proceed.
four remain a secret that the Maker wants to keep?
one more time will hands Divine guide Holguin to succeed?
answer rests in God's own hands, Joe Holguin is the tool.
bonded to a vow made long ago.
in a world where wickedness and hatred often rules,
lessons of eternal love are taught by guys like Joe!
L. FAIL (C) 1987. From "The Poet's Salute To Valor"