Donald A. Chase

U.S. Warrior Poets

David Baillie was raised and educated in New York and Massachusetts. Baillie left high school to enlist in the army, under age, and later become an infantry instructor at Fort Benning, Georgia. He did several tours of duty in Korea. Following the war, he served with the New York State National Guard and the Army Reserves. Taking advantage of the GI Bill, Baillie continued his education and earned degrees in counseling and education. The poems that follow are from his book, Dry Tears.


 

 

 

 

 

 

Ernest Botti served in Korea as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force, 339th/ 319th Fighter Squadrons.


Earl Carson is a resident of Washington State. He served in the Korean War from September 1950 to November 1951, in C Company, 1st Tank Battalion, 1st Marine Division FMF.


Donald A. Chase lives in Massachusetts.  He joined the US Army Reserves in 1944, and later enlisted in the regular army.  Chase served with the 89th Infantry Division in Europe during The Second World War, and re-enlisted at the outbreak of the Korean War. He arrived in Korea in 1951. Wounded three times during the war, Chase was discharged in 1953.


William Childress, of Folsom, California served in the Korean War as a demolitions specialist. As a photo journalist, he was nominated twice for the Pulitzer Prize.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Robert Echelbarger of Mason City, Iowa was a private first class who worked his way up to a sergeant during the Korean War. Beginning in 1946 he served a two-year hitch in the military, then joined the inactive reserves. He was recalled to active duty when the Korean War broke out, and served with F-2-5 Marines in Korea from during 1951. Echelbarger’s poem “I am” is followed by, “Those Damn Hills,” an entry from his journal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Born in the U.S. Southwest., Rolando Hinojosa grew up in a bilingual household. He joined the army in 1946, and served in the Caribbean as a radio announcer and editor of the Army Defense Command newspaper. A professor of English, Hinojosa served as director of the Texas Center for Writers for almost ten years. He is most known for Klail City Death Trip, a series of bilingual and bicultural novels. The first novel in the series, Estampas del Valle won him the national award for Chicano literature in 1972. Four years later he won the highest award for the novel in Latin America, the Premio de las Casas de las Americas for Klail City y sus alrededores.  His work has been translated into several languages. 


 

 

 

 

 

 

William Wantling was born in Illinois. At the age of 17, he joined the Marines and applied for combat duty. He was wounded and suffered from severe burns. In order to endure the pain Wantling was given morphine to which he became addicted. He was dishonorably discharged in 1955. Wantling’s life following the war was one of mishaps, addiction and incarceration. However, he remains one of the most respected poets of the literary underground. He died of an overdose at the age of 41.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Born in New Mexico, Keith Wilson was a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, and worked as a professor of english at New Mexico State University for more than 20 years until his retirement in 1988. Wilson has received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Border Book Festival, a National Endowment of the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship, a D.H. Lawrence Creative Fellowship, a Senior Fulbright-Hayes Fellowship, a P.E.N. America Writing Grant, the New Mexico Governor’s Award for Excellence and Achievement in Literature, and New Mexico State University’s Westhafer Award.  His most recent book is Transcendental Studies.




 

Donald A. Chase

Donald A. Chase lives in Massachusetts.  He joined the US Army Reserves in 1944, and later enlisted in the regular army.  Chase served with the 89th Infantry Division in Europe during The Second World War, and re-enlisted at the outbreak of the Korean War. He arrived in Korea in 1951. Wounded three times during the war, Chase was discharged in 1953.

"Prisoners of War"

Off to one side and silent
they sat with downcast eyes.
Not knowing what their fate would be,
or whether they would live or die.

One had blood dripping down his face,
from a bullet crease in his head.
Another’s arm hung mangled,
with its bandage stained bright red.

The third had feet discolored,
in sneakers that were full of holes.
His toes all swollen and useless,
frozen stiff by the winter cold.

They were enemy soldiers,
yet human like you and I,
and one couldn’t help but notice,
the pain in their anguished eyes.

That scene of pain and misery,
which has defied the passage of time,
Is another unwanted souvenir,
from a war that left scars in the mind.

 

 

"Brutal Game of War"

First there is a scream for a medic,
but too late, so a soul must yield.
To the whistling death of the bullets,
that criss-cross the battlefield.

Still others shake and tremble,
as deadly shells crash down,
but a certain sense of honor,
makes them hold their ground.

Sometimes the fighting is savage,
so bodies lie in heaps,
and some will always question,
was the price too steep?

Yet when the battle is won,
there is a feeling of great pride.
Although you cannot see it,
because it’s something that’s inside.

So many times this happens,
in the brutal game of war.
That all who have endured it,
are changed forever more.



Questions for Reflection: “Prisoners of War” and “The Brutal Game of War”

  1. How might you describe the emotions felt by a prisoner of war?
  2. How does Chase in “Prisoners of War,” describe the conditions of the prisoners? What are his feelings toward them?
  3. How does Chase explain the exhilaration of winning a battle in the poem, “Brutal Game of War?”
  4. What is the fall-out of participating in the “brutal game of war?”

 

Subscribe to Donald A. Chase