Submitted by: Michael Tyler

Category: Poetry

The Last Mission

It had been a long mission over hostile territory
Flying high, in the cold upper atmosphere, and unpressurized craft
Going into the target, fighter cover had been there, and the crew felt confident of victory
Pilot & co-pilot were on their game, scanning the open skies for bandits and bogies
Gunners, nose, both waists, tail, upper & lower bubble turrets had fired their test shots
And knew the weapons were ready
Bombardier, reading the maps, became acquainted with the targets, primary & secondary
All was calm & quiet, for all were lost in their own thoughts of survival
Leaving base alive, they may return dead, for the risk was at 25,000 feet
And a crew of 10, each one dependent on the survival of each other, and them all
Suddenly, out of the sun, bandits approach, and the fight is on
Tracers and lead pepper the skies, searching out metal & flesh, not caring which one
Voices , no, shouts along with curses, prayers, and filled with the sounds of combat
Huge aircraft, playing dodgeball at 25,000 feet, with the enemy's bullets
Machine gun or cannon, it mattered not, for they all sought their target
Suddenly, holes appear in the fuselage, some have found their mark
Sprays of blood and body matter fill the fuselage, as the plane responds in kind
But yet, it still flies, being hit, but still flying, Oh, the bombs are still to be delivered
Suddenly, the bandits disappear, and the dark deadly puffs appear
So thick, you can almost walk on them, and yet, so deadly
This is flak, the explosive response from the ground, all in defense of the homeland
Bombardier at the ready, he takes over the flying, guiding all to the target
Closer, closer, closer, through the flak, thicker, thicker, and louder
"Bombs Away" is the call, and the cylinders of death fall
To cause the death of the population at the touch
The bomber, turns 180 degrees, after all are gone
Back through the flak, back through the bandits, back through the open skies
And the craft bears the wounds inflicted by the incursion
Yet, it has to make it back to base for rest & repairs
Will this trip ever end? How many will survive? How much damage has the craft sustained?
Of the ten, 2 dead, 6 wounded, 2 unhurt
And they see the base in sight, after a long, dangerous, frightening flight back
The craft, bent propellers, swiss cheese fuselage, and surging supercharged engine
Torn up, badly damaged, surviving the deadly encounter, bearing the wounded & the dead
The two who brought the craft back, pilot & co-pilot, look at each other, and savor the victory
Of working together, against the outer forces of death, to repair and return, alive & stronger
To fight together and win.....another day

About the author:

Retired Air Force Technical Sergeant, loves to write, and is a WWII junkie.