Red Clay Newsletter of the Veterans who served at Khe Sanh Combat Base, Hill 950, Hill 881, Hill 861, Hill 861-A, Hill 558 Khe Sanh Village, Lang-Vei and Surrounding Area


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By Rick Tam

Khe Sanh is made of red clay,
some think nature made it that way.

The ground is red that part is true,
but how it got that way some have a different view.

When it's dry it turns to dust,
it covers everything and looks like rust,

When it's wet it turns to mud'
it sticks to everything like some kind of crud.

Troops on the ground have this to say'
it took a lot of their blood to make it that way.

Yea the dirt is red alright'
some of us still see it every night.

Khe Sanh is made of red clay'
40 years later it still wonít wash away.



By Rick Tam

What were their names, I canít remember.

In my mind I see all these young faces.

They are like photographs I will always remember.

Where were we, the names of all those places?

Those are like maps in my mind I still look at.

All those faces go with different places.

I canít stop seeing all those young faces Ė

Why canít I remember the names of those faces?

Why canít I remember the names of those places?

But every day I walk those places

And I see those faces.



On my most recent trip to Washington, DC guiding a group of disabled vets I had this poem by Rick to give to his best Buddy Mark Miles, it is a beautiful piece of prose and I guarantee you that no one at the Wall after reading it had a dry eye .
Mike'' Animal'' Preston


By Rick Tam

It doesn't mater if you're short or tall,
you can't hide because it sees all.

When you go there you'll find you're among friends,
they are right there with you one and all.

Short at the ends but the middle is tall,
but that's not what's important at all.

You'll want to touch it, to feel it,
young or old won't matter at all.

It draws you in and touches your soul.
sound seems to disappear, time slows to a crawl.

They just keep coming, the lines seem endless,
it stands quietly waiting to see them all.

Some ask how, some ask why,
they whisper as though they are shy.

The words said out loud, the words never said,
the thoughts in your head, it hears them all.

It sees every smile, every tear drop fall,
the boys on the wall see it all.



A Warriors Heart

By Rick Tam

Those that say a soldier only wants to fight,
knows nothing of the warriors heart.

It is true he will not hesitate to fight,
a war he did not start.

Soldiers aren't the ones who decide to go to war,
but are willing to go and bare that scar.

A soldier is not eager to kill,
he doesn't really want to fight.

He does so out of honor and duty,
he does so when the cause is right.

Not many know it but its true,
few things are as fragile as a warriors heart.

During the battles he is hard and cold,
but his torment comes to him late at night.

Often horrible things happen he can not control,
that is when all the terrible stories get told.

In battle often there is no time to think,
all he can do is react.

When it's over and all is calm,
right or wrong it's not possible to take anything back

So say what you will, think what you want,
but make sure you get this part right,
few things are as fragile as a warriors heart.


Tell Me Why The Bullet Passed Me By

By Rick Tam

I heard it pass right next to my head,
why did that bullet pass me by.

No one will ever be able to tell me,
so I'll always wonder why.

It went right by with a rush,
it hit the guy next to me in his head.

Was it not my time,
was it his instead.

Only thing I know is I'm still here,
and he is still dead.

So many near misses,
too many too close to call.

Why did those bullets pass me by,
now their names are on the wall.

I can still see their faces, they look so young,
it some times makes me cry.

No one has the answer,
so I'll always wonder why.

There are a lot of theories and explanations,
but no one really knows why.

Yes those bullets passed me by,
yes sometimes it makes me cry.

I will never know why.



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