8d1e2241-5e39-4c4b-ae04-93b6b9034d02[1] (1).jpg

British NCOs WW1, Image – A family photo from Padre’s Ramblings

It is Armed Forces Day in the UK.  It is marked annually at the end of June to commemorate the service of men and women of the British Armed Forces.  It is similar to the American Veterans’ Day, though it is more recent, having been created in 2006 (as compared to the US’ celebration which dates to the 1950s).  Although an official event, it is not a public holiday in the UK.


Service isn’t just a thing that you do

I really needs to be part of you

Prepared on behalf of other’s – to enter the fray

Waiting to count the risks “on some other day.”

To serve, to protect, even sacrifice

Is what it is to enter that way of life





Drum On

image: Chattanooga Times Free Press


Rhythmic drumming from beyond the glade

A snare call for those marching to its beat

Rousing courage in those afraid

As battle beckons their marching feet

Drummer boy  –  give cadence to all

For how can you possibly know –

You’ll be the first to fall?




dVerse Quadrille #106: Drum



Still Waters

File:Arleigh Burke DDG-51.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

Public domain

“Still waters run deep.”  What an amazing metaphor.  But out on the big pond, still waters are a godsend.  “The Deep,” has her moments of calm, but Magellan got it wrong when he named the Pacific.  This expanse of deep shows her temper far too often.

Well, that is what the still waters of Petty Officer Mike Sanchez’s mind were pondering as he checked the lifeline on his harness, and made his way from the gun deck of his destroyer.  As he did, the vessel pitched headlong into a trough, and the bow disappeared into a next rising peak.




June 11: Flash Fiction Challenge – Deep Waters



Cruel and Unusual

Soldiers, Military, Usa, Weapons, War, Fight, Defense

Image by Defence-Imagery from Pixabay 

“Second Platoon, reporting as ordered,” Staff Sergeant Romero said in a clear voice.

“Excellent,” responded the civilian efficiency consultant, turning his back momentarily to pick up a large stack of fill in the blanks questionnaires.  “I have a PowerPoint presentation to explain these for you, and then . . . ”

He turned back around to find the marquee tent empty.

“That’s odd,” he mused out loud, “third time this week.”




Marines, Military, Drill, Marine, Usa


When ships were oak,

As were the hearts of men

Every man has his place

And every place its man

Perfect order – shipshape – Bristol fashion

Made for vessels always ready for action

Order is familiar to military men

Practice makes perfect

And then you practice again

When you wake up

When you lay down your head

What you will wear

And when you break bread

Every man has his place

And every place its man

It’s order you rely on

As a military man




dVerse – Poetics: Order, Order!







Hike Drop

Footprints, Steps, Bristol, Coast, Ebb, Mud, Traces


It was the early 1980s and I was at the US Marine Corps Infantry Training School at Camp Geiger, North Carolina.  It had rained for days, and the trails and pathways throughout the wooded training area had become quagmires. This did not of course stop the training.

It was into this environment that we men of “Charlie Company” began a timed hike.  At first I did well, even though the mud in places seemed to make every step feel as if my feet weighed a hundred pounds.  I was quite proud of myself at my professionalism.  In fact, almost Hollywood-like, when I slipped my rifle was instinctively lifted skywards away from the unforgiving mud.

But alas, I started to fall back in the column, and eventually was trailing some ten to fifteen yards behind the others.  As we approached a place where the trail crossed a road, a truck was waiting, and I and other “hike drops” was snagged by a sergeant who ordered us onto the uncovered back of the vehicle.  Cold and wet to the skin we were taken at speed back to camp, as the chill began to take its toll.  I never again was a hike drop.


Mud and toil – is a way of life

It prepares you for a world of strife

By testing yourself  – to the limit each day

You strengthen yourself  – for the role you play

The defense of others – is no simple chore

But to give of yourself – who can do more?


Lips blue, fingers numb
Windswept the transportation
Never lag again!



dVerse: Snapshots of Our Lives




Related image

image: Pexels

Hollywood made it look easy.  How hard is it to serve you country?  Okay, they shave your head and you have a few weeks of some sadist shouting at you, but then you graduate, and go out and do the job.  Well that’s what some people think anyway.

What the films don’t show you is the near sleepless nights as you take watch so others can sleep peacefully.  They don’t show you the shivering as you sit soaked to the skin in the face of a steady wind.  You don’t feel the sand between your teeth. That’s true grit.


99 word Challenge for Carrot Ranch Literary Community: True Grit

“In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that shows true grit. You can use the phrase or embody the theme. Who or what has true grit? Go where the prompt leads you!”




Lullaby (SSgt Barry Sadler)

Lullaby - SSgt. Barry Sadler

1966 Album Cover

One of the most moving scenes of Mel Gibson’s We Were Soldiers is the depiction of Col. Hal Moore tucking in his children on the night before his deployment to Vietnam.  I have often told my students that one of the hardest aspects of being a warrior is leaving your family while you go to an uncertain future.  Staff Sergeant Barry Sadler released a song in 1966 which captures this, well before Gibson’s film, or my own military service.

Go to sleep
It’s getting late
My watch says
It’s half past eight
In an hour
I must go
When I’ll be back
Well, I don’t know
While I’m gone
You’ll be the man
Help your mama
When you can
It’s a big job
I can see
For a boy
Just pushing three
Son can I have
A little kiss
Just a small one
You won’t miss
That’s right close
Your sleepy eyes
You shouldn’t see
Your daddy cry
So go to sleep
It’s getting late
My watch says
It’s half past eight
In an hour
I must go
When I’ll be back
Well, I don’t know
Source: Musixmatch
YouTube Video Link:  Lullaby
Shazam Audio Link: Lullaby

Power of Voice

Image result for st crispin's day

image: YouTube Henry V


By confident voice heartened

When all seemed lost and dire

By a firm voice strengthened

When wearied and by long marching tired

No need to surrender

Or from the cold field retreat

With bold words they were encouraged

Removing fears and thoughts of defeat




Quadrille #85 – Raising our Poetic Voices:

“Listen to the voice inside you. Voice your opinion. Give voice to a new thought. Whether you let your inner siren loose, or stick to your usual poetic voice, please scribble us a little something of exactly 44 words, using some form of the word voice. Whether you turn that voice into a shout, a doubt, a wisp of whimsy or a whispered prayer, is up to you.”