Poetry – Cold-war Crew-dogs

Crew sprints to B-52 on nuclear alert

thursday morning – day one

of alert. go underground.

called it changeover day.

drive to base. park. unload for the week.

stand in line – at the shack

process through a sally port.

see guns, security,

tension cut with humor,

line badges and id cards,

secret signals and voice passwords,

briefings, weather, announcements,

need to know games.

meet with leaving crew at jet.

open top-secret boxes,

review more secrets.

never be alone,

be two-man in



nukes not nonsense.

check the jet.

check the nukes.

squeeze tight




cylinders of death,

check dial settings

for proper

megatonnage yields.

be positive. no room for error.

more jokes. more pokes.

sign for everything.

responsibility now ours.

for each a new identity

part of crew, a sortie number.

become the job; pilot, navigator,

gunner, bombardier.

trained killers without names.

captains, lieutenants some majors.

then to a study vault. more t.s. bs.

tankers, targets, terrain.


not to think of war. insane.

crew dog. be the bomb.




geneva rules bring

more sarcasm.

back at the shack, more

jokes, games, pool or pool,

gym, phone calls, write, study.

tv, coffee, cokes, bs,

testing, reacting, napping.

bored before noon.

no booze, no drugs, no sex.

seven days to go.

relax. no war this week,

bored is good.





to gear-up.

hasn’t happened.


© Bill Reynolds, 7/16/2018

Look both ways to see all sides. Mind the boring gaps. Dystopia awaits.

Minimum interval takeoff as would be for nuclear war. Black smoke is result of water injection to engines for more thrust.

To watch a humorous little Youtube video about this, click here.


10 thoughts on “Poetry – Cold-war Crew-dogs

  1. Well, Bill, I can’t imagine a starker contrast between the retirement day list and this one. Two different boring gaps to mind, and the latter one bores gaping holes in our complacence. A grim reminder that the experience you describe is still being played out, and we all live on the edge.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Certainly looks and smells like a battle. That is a hell of a wing on those. This reminds me a little of the school here. We had an active shooter drill during the year after neighboring school had real shooter and two died, so we ramped up security and went through the motions a couple times. Right near the end of the year we went on lock down for active shooter. It turned out to be a paint ball gun, but about half the high school teachers didn’t even lock their door and the middle school on the same school grounds didn’t even activate because it was a different building (they’re about 30 yards apart) and they just figured it was another drill. Too many cries of wolf and maybe these guys won’t launch, think it’s a drill and save the world by hanging on to their bombs.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. hmm, I haven’t thought about the term “boomer” subs since I last read “Alas Babylon”.

        interesting poem. If I had made it into the Air Force, I was slated to be a nuclear weapons tech.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Powerful poem Bill about the realities of war, or possibilities of war. I imagine similar drills continue. The weapons and technology change, but the underlying cause is still a very human one. Thank you for your service and keeping us all safe! You’ve earned your retirement 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Bill, thanks. What a hell of a way to have to spend one’s time. A lot of pressure back then, great experience though, in that high tech environment. I missed all that, my time was in the mid-50’s pre-flighting F-86D’s on our southern border.

    Liked by 1 person

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