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Ballad of the Co Van My

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The Ballad of the Co Van My

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The Ballad of the Co Van My
(T.C. Cooper & L.F. DeMouche plus others)

You have heard of mighty warriors, you have heard of deadly fights
When broadswords clashed and cannon flashed through bloody days
     and nights;
There's many a fearsome fighting man in the halls of history,
But they can't hold a candle to the brave young Co Van My.

The Russian revolution would have never come to pass
If the Co Van My had been there to advise the ruling class;
Ho Chi Minh would be a Democrat if they were on his team
And China's dark ambitions would be a foolish dream.

Napoleon flourished briefly but his empire soon collapsed,
Cleopatra's dreams of glory terminated with an asp;
Caesar had his Brutus, but anyone can see
These people would have made it if they'd had a Co Van My.

The ordinary Co Van can play a thousand parts
From a deadly jungle killer to a patron of the arts,
He will talk of epic struggles, days of blood and fire and sweat,
He'll be written up in Newsweek, but he ain't seen a VC yet.

The only VC that he's seen cut grass at his mess hall
So he took his trusty Pen double E and down he mowed them all.
Now he has photographic proof of legions of VC,
And he'll build a lie as high as the sky about being a Co Van My.

The sergeant-major showed him in and marched him to his room,
Said, "Hang your carbine on the wall and if you hear a boom
Rally to the bunker with your weapon and steel pot
Or else hide in the handball court, it's the strongest place we've got."

L-19's leap skyward, to seek the weary foe
They run the hills and ridges from Bong Sonh to Bung Ro;
With a tiger in the cockpit and an aspirant in the back,
They're the bravest men in Binh Dinh, 'cause the VC has no flak.

     SPOKEN: The S2 is the intelligence advisor.

The S2 sits behind his desk and sighs and moans and flaps
Chasing mythical battalions across outdated maps,
With "probably" and "possibly" and "indications are",
He worries hell out of the men who try to fight the war.

He paints a picture of despair as he talks of the VC might,
A crow of evil omen, only his eyes are bright
He speaks of hordes and legion, and cannon hid in huts
He scares hell out of Saigon, but Division thinks he's nuts.

At winning paper victories the S2 has no peer,
As he sits down at the O club with his whiskey and his beer,
He'll never lose a battle, he'll always win that fight
But his TOC gets mortared every other night.

The JG's daily recon is the teror of the beach
Calling naval gunfire missions on everything in reach.
He sees VC in every hootch, supplies in every boat
He's killed one hundred fishermen, twelve chickens and a goat.

The naval gunfire spotter is professionally proud,
He's never hit a target, but his guns are awfully loud.
"Delay fuse, right eight hundred," the cruisers pitch and lurch,
"Cease fire, end of mission, boys, we got that VC church!"

His intelligence is six months old, his native wit is nil,
For him, the trees teem with VCs and regiments crowd each hill,
He has no kinfolk in the wood, there's naught for him to lose,
So if in doubt, he'll always shout, "Send in B-52's!"

SPOKEN: Now we're going down to Saigon, where there was
  a special brand of Co Van My. The further they got away
from the combat, the more heavily armed they traveled.

He wears a jungle uniform and he moves with a tiger's stealth,
He keeps his weapons sharp and clean and he's careful of his
He moves with a heavy escort, in danger every day
And drives to Cholon twice a say to earn his combat pay.

His shirt is open to the breeze, his hat's down over his eye,
A Thompson's slung across his back, there's a pistol on each
Grenades are fastened to his belt, there's a knife in either
As he drives his forklift up and down the streets of Than Son

The FAC rides forth to battle, a warrior without match
In his monogrammed flight jacket and his F-100 patch;
Put napalm on a hamlet and burnt the whole thing flat
Got a thousand non-combatants, and he's sorry about that.

from THE LONGEST YEAR, Bowen, Fish and Harmon
Note: Co Van My translates to " American Advisor"
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