Click above for factual account

"With the following I may be able to put the "Mayaguez Incident" away for a while".

I'll never put it out of my head completely though!

Russ Lee


Three Left Behind



A merchant ship sailing with her American crew,
Shots screamed by her bow with a bang.
A Cambodian gunboat had hijacked the ship,
And anchored it off the Isle of Koh Tang.



The U.S. response was quite hurriedly planned,
The services were uncoordinated.
With resources thin and forces undermanned,
Use of Air Force and Marines contemplated.

At the end of a nations unpopular war,
Covered up with historical revisions.
With leadership lacking and no local control,
They were doomed by political decisions.

An Air Force General went grabbing for glory,
He was ahead of the Marines by a day.
His men were not trained for recapturing ships,
They were the wrong men for this fray.



Regardless he ordered the "Jolly Green Giants",
To prepare for a dangerous flight.
Twelve took off for staging toward U-Tapao,
One did not make it to base on that night.


They couldn't have known that death was at hand,
In back with the roar of the the motor.
Five Helo crewmen and eighteen SP's,
Were killed when Knife 13 lost it's rotor.

This ended the Air Forces ill-conceived plans,
To use policemen untested and green.
The rescue of crew and the lost "Mayaguez",
Fell into the hands of Marines.

The Air Force went back to, as it well should,
Air support and a eye on the scene.
Reports of the ground fire "extremely intense",
Were not forwarded to the Marines.

Not fully informed and hastily planned,
And the enemy used no subterfuge.
They thought they were facing a handful of men,
But there were hundreds of armed Khmer Rouge.

The lead hail rained heavy as the "Jolly Green Giants",
Deposited Marines on the beach.
The losses began, the water stained red,
Before the wet sand had been reached.

Courageous Marines established a hold,
On a thin strip just out of the surf.
Paid for with the blood of their dead not yet cold,
They had to protect that damn turf.

A gun team was sent out to cover the flank,
To keep Khmer soldiers at bay.
A deadly M60 with three men set out,
To hold that position all day.

Away from their brothers and hidden by camo,
They held off the Khmer assault.
The last they were heard from they were calling for ammo,
Separated with no one at fault?

A decision was made to cut the losses and leave,
A whistle should have called in that team.
Never heard by the gunners they still covered that flank,
The last chopper thought they'd recovered all of the Marines.

They fought on for days, they signaled for help,
Washington ordered "no one can go back".
They ran out of food and there ammo was spent,
They were unable to survive an attack.

They have gotten no medals, nor received recognition,
That equals the scope of their deeds,
The Corp and it's leaders should uphold their tradition,
Not leave them buried under Cambodian weeds.



A lesson that we, to our Leaders should send,
"If you ever go visit the Wall,
Think of the three men who are way down at the end,
Think of Hargrove and Marshall and Hall."

Russ Lee September 2001