GREATEST SIN: TO CAUSE ANY INDIVIDUAL TO MISS A FULL LIFE
for Paul Green
(March 17, 1894 Ė May 4, 1981)
jiggled Harnett when you were born.
fields opened bolls out of season.
birth featured spring pitching your ambidextrous arms.
Owen threw me a curve: "Read Paul Greenís novels."
savored turkey-trots in The Laughing Pioneer,
in This Body the Earth.
the soulís poetry as music,
head high in the steady clink and trace,
the mule-drawn plow,
in your head every row,
won a Pulitzer, In Abrahamís Bosom,
helped prepare the way for your dramas harmonic.
alma mater named a theater for you.
Shelby Stephenson, author of Slavery
and Freedom on Paulís Hill, lives ten miles northwest of
Benson, NC, on Paulís Hill, where he was born.
SFC Ron Brockelman
COL Tom Davis
NEW team leader for a Special Forces A Team which specialized in
Under Water Operations, I reported in to my company commanderís,
MAJ Paintingís, office. He sat me down and asked if I would mind
having SFC Ronald Brockelman, currently the Teamís senior commo
guy (who would eventually retire as a Sergeant Major), as my Team
Sergeant. The slot called for a Master Sergeant, one rank higher
than Brockelmanís. I had heard of Brockelman before. He was both
HALO, SCUBA, and Ranger qualified and had spent most of his time in
Vietnam in CCN, conducting recon missions in North Vietnam (or so
the story went). I also heard that he didnít have a problem
telling folks like it was and this had gotten him into hot water on
more than one occasion. Well, that would be one thing we had in
I walked crossed the street and entered the old
two-story WWII barracks. Our Team room was on the first floor. There
waiting for me sat Brockelman. He stood, walked forward, extended
his hand and said, "Welcome to the SCUBA Team, Sir."
Brockelman was originally from Kansas and still had that Midwestern
accent. His dark hair was combed to the side. He sported a mustache
barely within the regulation. Dark complected, he wore a permanent
tan. When he smiled, crowís feet formed at the corners of his
eyes. I instantly knew that this relationship, Team Leader/Team
Sergeant, would work.
One time while testing Viking Dry Suites for a combat swimmer
course, Brockelman and I swam 6.5 miles in a snow storm. When we
reached the Navy LCM and were dragged on board, the Navy Chief said,
"You guys gotta be the craziest SOBs I ever saw." And
Brockelman shot back, "Chief this is the most fun I ever had
with my clothes on." That Brockelman.
When I look back on my thirty-one years in the Army, twenty of which
I spent in Special Forces, and, if I were asked to name the one guy
who meant the most to me, I would say without hesitation and with a
grateful smile, SFC Ron Brockelman.
Davisís publishing credits include Poets Forum, The Carolina
Runner, Triathlon Today, Georgia Athlete, The Fayetteville Observerís
Saturday Extra, A Loving Voice Vol. I and II, Special Warfare.,
and Winston-Salem Writersí POETRY IN PLAIN SIGHT program for May
2013 (poetry month). Heís authored the following books: The
Life and Times of Rip Jackson; A childrenís coloring book, Pickaberry
Pigís First Day of School, The Patrol Order; and an action
adventure novel, The R-complex. Tom has completed
his memoir, The Most Fun I ever Had With My Clothes: On A March
from Private to Colonel. He lives in Webster, NC.