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A Ton of Respect

Story ID:7405
Written by:Monte Leon Manka (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Poem
Location:Hemet CA USA
Person:Chelsea Kansas Kid
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A Ton of Respect

A Ton of Respect
(Richard Blake of El Dorado Kansas)

When I got to Camp Fannin
Down Texas way
To start my training for the Army
I ran on to two El Dorado Boys about the second day.

Two friends from El Dorado
Sylvester Mahan, and Richard Blake
Made my time in training
Not so hard to take.

We three went to Tyler
For a little cheer
A Cheeseburger, or a hot dog
For a movie or a beer

We assembled one hot morning
Were told to fall out with full field pack
M1rifle and ammo belt
Didnít know if we would come back

In Europe at that time
Was the battle of the Bulge
They were taking young inexperienced soldiers
To us they would not divulge

Where we were marching to
The Cadre O so hush-hush
I was just a little worried
And not in a rush.

We heard column of twos
Company A Forward March
Company B Forward March
Company C Forward March
Company D Forward March

As far as you could see
Were soldiers marching where?
After five or six miles
You really didnít care.

My buddy Richard Blake
Was in Company D
I was in Company B
Smaller and shorter was he

I couldnít tell how far we marched
I could see my barracks coming into view
I was hot and sweaty
I needed a shower or two

After I showered I went out onto the track
I heard someone say Blake fell back
He wouldnít accept any help
He was dragging his rifle and his pack

We were looking up the road
For any sign of Blake
Just any sign of him
Was all it would take

Suddenly all the talk faded out
Silence was the thing
Together we spotted Blake coming down the road
Dragging everything.

All alone not another soldier in sight
He was on the road all alone
Not accepting any help
Heíd finish on his own.

He was wobbly, still determined
No one cheered when he turned onto the track
Climbed the stairs into the barracks
Dragging Rifle and Full Field Pack

The silence was deafening
But on everyones mind
Was respect for Blake
Who we thought was left behind

No more remarks about Him being short
No one ever again called him runt
It was Dick or Blake
A respected ďGruntĒ

I was there and I saw Blake
Turn onto that track
I wanted to slap him
On the back

And tell him what a man he was
What determination
But he wanted none of this
No confirmation

My hats off to Richard Blake of El Dorado
Iíve heard heís passed on
But the memory of all those soldiers
Seeing what heíd done

They donít know his name
They donít know where he was from
But they remember rooting silently
For a soldier who made it home-on his own

Monte L. Manka 08-12-11

The picture Iím sending shows Richard Blake kneeling behind me.