Support Soldier turns thoughts, personal experiences into poetry Sgt. Gaytha Ratzloff Co. A, 94th Brigade Support Bn. 4th BCT, 10th Mtn. Div. (L), MND-B
FORWARD OPERATING BASE RUSTAMIYAH, Iraq – Deployment experiences, sometimes negative and isolating, have served as inspirations for a support Soldier’s reflective poetic expressions. Spc. Flint Christensen is a heavy-wheeled vehicle operator who works as the battalion repairs and utilities representative for Company A, 94th Brigade Support Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light).
In his free time, the Rexburg, Idaho native writes. In his writings, Christensen puts his thoughts and feelings about serving in the Army into inspirational words.
“I think it is important to remember why we are here,” explained Christensen. To remind himself and his fellow Soldiers of this, he wrote the oath of enlistment and the following poem on a wall in the Co. A area.
“Allegiance to the Same” Today we’ll stand and be counted We’re crossing the line in the sand Regardless that (our) days may be numbered, we’ll fight and defend our great land
Side by side, we are brothers Tempest tossed we’ll not fail We’ll weather the battles together The strength of a true sentinel
When eastern winds start blowing, the pillars may falter and fail But up from the dust we will gather, so our Red, White and Blue may prevail
With numbers swift to be counted, armed with rifle or blade, opposition with dwindle with kept promises we’ve made
I’ll stand beside you, brother Together, heads held high Defending our Nation’s colors, I’ll fight; I’ll bleed; I’ll die
When blood is spilled for purpose, our Nation will remain As will our loyal duty and allegiance to the same.
Christensen uses his poetry to inspire his fellow Soldiers and to remember those who have lost their lives in combat. After the tragic death of a fellow Co. A Soldier’s brother-in-law, both of whom were deployed with Christensen to Forward Operating Base Loyalty in Baghdad, Christensen wrote the following poem about the event while his comrade was on emergency leave to grieve with his Family. “Harvey’s Bible”
I watched a sullen Soldier picking up pieces of “The Word” A scattered, sacred Bible torn through each and every verse
The desecrated parchment, once belonging to his kin, now lies among the crimson … and what is left of him
I was with him on that day and stood and felt his pain and helped him pick up the verses or at least the ones (that) remained
On that day of ghastly terror, it’s appropriate we should find among man’s destructive venues God’s words, so warm and kind
“And God so loved the world,” one scrap reverently proclaimed And another said “fear not” And many more said (much) the same
My eyes began to water and my throat began to tight And I had to look away once more as Harvey did what’s right
For like unto his brother, a travesty to bear A greater sin it felt to us leaving pieces over there
So we gathered up the Scriptures and not a word was said As Harvey clung to words of comfort in that dawn of morning’s dread
“There were many (people) at the scene to help assess damages, care (for) the wounded and pick up the pieces,” said Christensen, explaining his inspiration for writing about Harvey’s Bible. “Three of our comrades perished that day, and (no one) there felt it harder than Spc. Harvey, (who) … was one of the first to respond, only to find that it was his brother-in-law who was among the fallen. “His brother was carrying a Bible at the time of his demise, and small pieces … lay strewn about the area,” continued Christensen. “He did not ask for help or sympathy while gathering the pieces or while escorting his brother (in law)’s remains. I watched in amazement how determined he was in finding every scrap.”
Inspiration of patriotic service is the source of his writings on topics including death in combat and love for his wife, said Master Sgt. Garnett Brown, 94th BSB operations section officer. His poetry and prose range from serious to satirical and are featured on a wall in 94th BSB’s tactical operations center, on a wall in the company headquarters and in the Rexburg Standard Journal, Christensen’s hometown newspaper, explained Brown.
Writing is Christensen’s outlet for the mixed feelings that deployment evokes in many Soldiers, and Brown asked Christensen to write two poems on a wall in the battalion building to flank the memorial to the fallen Soldiers of the unit. While on leave recently, Christensen contributed a short editorial about being a military father and husband to his local newspaper. Whether writing a poem on a wall or an article for his hometown paper, Christensen finds words many Soldiers are at a loss for in describing the grim humor, pain and honor of serving in the Army during this time of war.