Valor on Koh Tang

Valor on Koh Tang
A poem by Lonny Goen

In the year seventy-five, on the twelfth of May,
Some Cambodian soldiers took our Mayaguez away
The thirty-nine members of the Mayaguez crew
Were taken into custody by the Khmer Rouge.

Thirty days beyond leaving Cambodia's shores,
Our soldiers were called into action once more.
The Air Force the Navy and also the Marines,
A short three days later were sent to the scene.

The ship would be found near the Isle of Koh Tang,
A few rebel soldiers were said there to hang. Near dawn on the morn of the fifteenth of May,
Was begun the activity of that fateful day.

As daybreak, approached from the east and the west,
American Marines the best of the best.
Determined to rescue the Mayaguez crew,
Those soldiers would do what the needed to do.

Intel had advised that those Khmer Rouge,
On the isle were not many and they'd surely lose.
With near 200 Marines, there wasn't a doubt,
We'd easily route their people all out.

What we thought would be a small job to do,
Became multiplied by the size of their crew.
What we thought was two-hundred was seven times bigger,
Fifteen hundred of their soldiers were pulling the trigger.

Air support faltered before we go started,
Knife-13 crashed soon after departing.
The loss of its crew, all twenty-three,
Was just the beginning of what that day would see.

Meanwhile in the ocean, not to far away,
Sat the ship the Khmer Rouge had taken away
To give those Cambodians on board quite a jolt,
We'd pull up beside them in our ship called the Holt.

Our soldiers then boarded that Mayaguez ship,
Over its side our people did slip,
Not knowing what on board they would see,
To everyone's surprise the ship was passenger free.

The Mayaguez was soon hauled from that place,
To where no Cambodians could it erase.
Phase one of that battle successful had been.
The ship would be in safe waters again.

Back on Koh Tang the battle raged on,
By the time it had ended, 41 would be gone.
Five choppers were down almost at the start,
There'd be seventy-three wounded before we'd depart.

Nowhere to be found was the Mayaguez crew,
Soon 'twas the rescuers needing rescued.
Black Velvet One picked up thirteen at sea,
The Jollies recovered the rest, all but three.

Danny Marshall, Gary Hall, and a Hargrove named Joe,
Had somehow missed rescue, Why? Nobody knows.
The joined 38 other angels who heavenward flew,
On the day of the rescue of the Mayaguez crew.

What, you may ask, became of that crew?
For whom those in this story did what they must do.
On a boat made for fishing they'd been hauled away,
And shipped towards Cambodia on that same day.

However the fierceness of our fighting force,
Had caused that fishing boat to readjust its course.
The crew of the Mayaguez they'd soon release,
Because of our efforts, hostilities would cease.

Thus ends the tale of what the U.S. would do,
To recover the men of the Mayaguez crew.
The Red, White, and Blue once more would endure,
Whatever it took our pride to secure.