I was a dive bomber at Floyd Bennet Field
near the end of World War II.
I’m often embarrassed to talk about it
when I am with a group of veterans –
almost all others exceeded my glory.
A few of us were sent from Sampson, NY
to the Air Force base when we had completed Boot Camp.
Our first job: we were given long sticks
with a sharp nail on one end
as well as burlap bags we wore around our necks.
We “dived bombed” any refuse on the roads
and near the run-ways – close enough for us to see
many take-offs and landings.
It was impressive but humiliating to do what we did
but we often filled our bags because we were ordered to –
those of us who were so recently labeled:
SEAMAN FIRST CLASS.
As a veteran I am sometimes embarrassed to talk about it –
but I was proud to wear the Navy uniform for awhile.
More than that, later on my time in the service of the USA
allowed me to get through college.