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Frank E. Ockert, Togglier
397th Bombardment Group, 598 Bombardment Squadron

THE B-26

This Martin medium bomber,
Even though she's laid to rest,
Will forever be cherished in the hearts
Of those who knew her best.

To know her was to love her
For, though difficult to tame,
She earned respect from friend and foe,
"Marauder" was her name.

They called her "Flying Prostitute"
With no visible support
And she would tease with expectations
Then might suddenly abort.

Her two Pratt Whitney engines
Had four thousand horses on demand
But feather one and immediately
You'd need a place to land.

Red-lined she'd top three hundred,
At least some pilots said,
But then might stall at two hundred
And leave her whole crew dead.

To this legend of an aircraft
And to those who made her fly
We dedicate our memories
That their fame may never die.

And to our wartime buddies
Who have crossed the Great Divide
We trust that we shall meet again
Over on the Other Side.

Frank E. Ockert

Written for the 397th BG reunion in Tucson, AZ; October 9-13, 2002.
Also was declared Poet Laureate of the 397th BG at the this reunion.


MARAUDER MEMORIES

It's hard to believe time goes so fast
That over sixty years have passed
Since my first flight in the Bomber we all knew;
And, though I so many things forget,
There are memories that linger yet
Of Marauder buddies who shared the "Wild Blue."

One thing we'd always anticipate
Was mail call - we could hardly wait
To see if we had a letter from Mom or Dad;
And I remember a buddy filled with glee
As he held up a picture for me to see
Of a new born son his wife back home just had.

But a few days later, to my dismay,
On a mission his plane got blown away
By enemy flak while on their bombing run;
And even though it has been many years
It still brings me to the brink of tears
That this buddy never got to see his only son.

Though most of-the names are lost to me
There still are faces that I can see
Of buddies who gave their all in freedom's name;
And others who came back maimed and sore
Who would never be as they were before
Yet are proud they served their country just the same.

It's great to see so many here
At our 397th Reunion this year
But, since we cannot know what tomorrow brings,
Let's enjoy our lives, hour by hour,
Let's keep deep faith in a Higher Power
And hope that on the Other Side we've earned our wings.

Frank E. Ockert
Written September 27, 2004 for the 397th Bomb Group Reunion in Dayton, Ohio


MARAUDER REUNION

The 397th Bomb Group met
Under circumstances we can't forget
As the 387th Bomb Group joined in our event;
It's good to meet other Marauder folks,
To listen to their stories and jokes,
And it was well worth every penny that we spent.

With extensive planning in advance
That hardly left a thing to chance
Our Board of Directors deserves at least a nine;
There were so many things to see
As we met in Washington DC
But, as expected, everything turned out just fine.

Two thousand five is a milestone year
For there are many changes near w
Like who will carry on when us old timers leave;
But the second generation's stepping in
And we're proud of them as they begin
The task with an enthusiasm we can't believe.

So, while your memory is somewhat clear,
I hope you share with someone dear
How you were involved with this aircraft in the past;
It's important to those who follow you
To know the things you had to do
And they need to be recorded so they will last.

As I bring these verses to a close
Let me remind you that no one knows
What problems in the future they may meet;
So fill your life with love and care,
May God richly bless you is my prayer,
And guide you until your mission is complete.

Frank E. Ockert

Written for the 397th & 387th Bomb Group Reunion in Washington DC., and
recited at the closing banquet September 10, 2005.


OLD GLORY'S HONOR

It isn't the way our flag is made
Nor the gleaming brass or the golden braid
On the banner of this great country in which we live;
It isn't the colors of red, white and blue
Or even the cost when the flag was new
That has earned Old Glory the honor that we give.

Ah no, it's more than that, much more,
It's the battles we fought in the time of war,
It's the people who died for the sake of liberty;
And its what she has meant to other lands,
The abiding faith and the helping hands
To less fortunate people who were longing to be free.

It's our founding father's beautiful dream
To offer to all this magnificent scheme
That the right to be free could be echoed by every breath;
It's the things they said and the songs they wrote,
It's the laws they passed by majority vote,
It's great words like "Give me liberty or give me death."

It's the memories we cherish of friends we knew
Who marched and sang, and laughed with us too,
As with youthful zest and vigor our spirits burned;
It's the hopes we shared, and the tears as well,
While we learned first hand that war is hell,
And it's the faces we see of those who never returned.

To the unsung heros who have gone before,
Who in times of peace and in times of war,
Devoted their lives that Old Glory might still wave;
We pledge that we'll keep her honor pure
And pray God to grant that we shall endure
As a people who shall always be both free and brave.

Frank E. Ockert


GOD'S CHILDREN

Children of God? Most certainly,
For God gave life to you and me
And to every member of the human race;
So remember, as through life we plod,
That the life we live is a gift from God
Regardless of our culture or our place.

Some simply believe what they were taught
That mankind's redemption had to be bought
And to all unbelievers damnation is surely due;
So, if to this doctrine you still aspire,
Whose children would you throw into the fire?
Could your Maker be less forgiving than you?

Most admit that we don't live as we should
And often neglect to do what we could
Yet the Giver of Life still loves us just the same;
Some pray to Allah, or Yahweh, or Lord,
And some would never utter a word
Except to a Higher Power by whatever name.

But the God I know still loves us all
And deep within we can sense the call
To love each other no matter what our creed;
There are many paths on the road of life
And the only way we'll end the strife
Is to love each other in word and thought and deed.

For we are siblings, me and you,
Brothers and sisters and children too
Of that Great Spirit to whom we humbly bow;
Please join with me sometime each day
To search our hearts and earnestly pray
For peace in our World, and that God will show us how.

Frank E. Ockert

 

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