“The Huey Pilot”

Casually he walks to the slick, a helmet with dark visor in his hand,
stepping from the skid into the cockpit, the switches and dials at his command.

He may be tired from many runs, it seems he lives under this plexi dome,
but with the stick between his legs and the pedals at his feet, he feels once again at home.

He fires up that turbine as the pre-flight is performed, the Jesus nut begins to turn,
that machine begins to rock and now starts that steady “Whop”, and air begins to churn.

As those massive blades begin to claw the air he skillfully lifts his baby off the ground,
the tail begins to rise and the front seems slow to follow but no better pilot will be found.

I never saw his face, I never knew his name, but I’ll never forget the day the Huey Pilot came.

With surgical precision he causes that Huey to hover, dip and dance behind a hill,
then he routinely skims the tops of trees, rising only to have his door gunner make another kill.

He listens to the Peter Pilot and Crew Chief as well as he watches for popped smoke,
glancing down he sees looks of relief on haggard faces, they know he will not choke.

With bullets pinging on the thin metal and stars appearing on the windshield he holds steady to the stick,
people are screaming to his rear, mortars dropping dangerously near, but he maintains a firm control of his slick.

He saves a dozen lives and takes supplies where no one else wishes to go, for him it is just another day,
at base camp he helps wash blood from the rear cabin and after he fingers new bullet holes he casually walks away.

I never saw his face, I never knew his name, but I’ll never forget the day the Huey Pilot came.

 

Copyright © September 1996 I. S. Parrish