The Trip Into Hell

During formation on day number one,

The candidates present, the process begun.

“ANTICIPATION” was growing as well,

The moment was here for “The Trip Into Hell” .

Stragglers fell in and filled up the spaces,

One here, one there, anonymous faces,

Of men with dreams of “Frog” on their mind,

Introduced to Moy and Olivera (How Kind!!!).

The bay was our next stop, we took up location,

Immediately recognizing this new found “Life Station” .

As each contemplated the statistical chance,

Of still being here at the end of this “Dance”.

Now, “The Bell” by the door was strategically placed,

As a “Sobering Symbol” of the dreams it erased.

Of all whose inner man had laid down,

Before his body was spent in its’ quest for this crown.

Day after day, our numbers diminished,

And by that weeks end a full quarter were finished.

As Friday to Friday became the main goal,

For all who endured at bein’ a “Tadpole”.

SHIT!!! “Hell Week” is here, are we all prepared,

To put into practice the experiences we’ve shared???

How much will I take, do I have the right stuff,

Will I ever say, “I’ve just had enough”???

While the run for the border becomes our first test,

Immortality awaits at the end of this quest.

For all who remain at next Saturdays’ muster,

Will be the “Real Deal” not a “Braggart” with bluster.

Sunday night’s here now, that’s Moywith the hose,

He waters the lawn, as more men now close,

Their association with us as “The Bell” let’s us know,

They’ve chosen this moment for them to go.

Soaked and freezing the rest will push on,

To “Midnight PT” where each, prays for the dawn,

And the next major hurdle for us to complete,

Before we’re allowed to get off of our feet.

It’s Tuesday now and we’re singing for lunch,

A muddy, messy, “Irreverent” bunch,

Who’s burned and blistered, exhausted and sore,

But the flame deep inside “Steels” us for more.

Now, Wednesday is here and for some in the Class,

The “Dream” is now over; They’ve run out of gas.

As “The Bell” we all feared, for them was now ringing,

And another three men would no longer be singing.

Of warriors and valor and future “Frog” glories,

Where men like ourselves inhabit the stories,

Which carry us through to Thursday events,

Where the “Mud Flats” express their own sentiments.

In hues of clay and marshy, moss green,

While waste deep in mire, this “Human Machine”

Rejects the frustration and calls “Gut Check” again,

And the “Logs” and the “Flats” never conquer these men.

As that day (as do all), finally passed into history,

With sleep deprivation enshrouding the mystery,

Of just when and where, the transformation took place,

Which raised all of us to a new state of grace.

Of body and mind, through stamina and stress,

Which allowed each of us to finally “Progress” ,

To the “Land of the Frog”, that “Mythical Mountain” ,

Where each is allowed to drink from the “Fountain”,

Of the courage and strength, resourcefulness and pride,

Of the men who preceded us here to this side,

Where “Honor” and “Glory” go hand in hand,

And guard the gates to this ” Hallowed Land “.

Where many before us have strode these “Great Halls”,

And guided our steps while cushioning our falls,

Before we are sent on our ” Mission ” at length,

Imbued with their “Spirit, Honor and “Strength.

Across “Beach Heads” in Europe , under withering fire,

To Pacific Blue waters, these men have expired.

For an “Ideal” we call “Freedom” has called them by name,

To extend this “Last Measure” defending Her Claim.

Korea in turn was a “Frozen Playground” ,

Where plying our trade through a “Deepwater Sound”

Helped MacArthur at ” Inchon ” deliver the “Blow”,

Which carried the day and defeated the foe.

Vietnam is the next stop, and we’re asked to deliver,

To every jungle road, swamp, village and river.

Relief from the movement of “Charlie” at will,

By injecting our own brand of jungle night thrill!

For as warning to all who would seek to employ,

Unconventional means to thwart or destroy,

Freedoms’ foundation, from the face of this earth,

Take heed here and now and witness the “Birth”,

Of ” Liberty ‘s Cohort”, her response to appeals,

A “Paladin Force” as “Frogs” fathered “Seals”!

For the time is now come to pursue a “New Scheme”,

As we plan for the future while honoring “The Dream” ,

Of the many whose Valor this pedigree extends,

Whether “Frogman” or “Seal” this Nation still sends,

A warning to Despots and Terrorists of note,

You have No safe harbor, No place so remote,

That “Freedoms” response, her “Phalanx of Fear” ,

Will drop from the skies or suddenly appear,

With arms to the ready and nerves of raw steel,

Through what you believed, an impenetrable shield.

As twilight engulfs us, our “Progeny” ascend,

The steps of the worlds’ stage, Our time at an end.

The “Lineage” secure, the knowledge Bequeathed,

We cross one last time, a QuarterDeck where we breathed,

The air of a world where honor’s embraced,

By the men who now stand (As did we, they replaced),

On “Destiny’s Stage” By resisting the ” Bell “,

Which links all of Us, through “The Trip Into Hell”.

The End


While reading his book “Lone Survivor” by Marcus Luttrell; I was touched by how closely Marcus’ experience mirrored my own during his tenure in the Teams in general, and during training in particular. I’m sending along the poem I wrote to recite at the graduation of my “Legacy Class” # 255 (which I might add did not happen due to time restraints) as well as a picture that reminds me of that poem each time I see it. The picture features Dee Clark, Doc Rio, Myself and Dave Casale. This represents to me, the generational bond and very essence of who and what we are; Warriors passing on our secrets to our younger siblings while maintaining the standards set for us by our Vince Olivera and Terry Moy all those years ago sometime during “Hell Week”.

And Marcus,

Thank you so very much for bring it all back to life for me again in your book and WELCOME to the Gulf Coast Chapter Buddy!!!

Dan Potts