"Shup's Song": A Poem From A Fallen Soldier Of The Korean War (VIDEO)

06/25/2010 05:10 pm ET | Updated Sep 22, 2015
  • Tom Gregory Actor, radio personality, Tony-nominated producer, social activist, and tastemaker

Friday, June 25, 2010 marks the sixtieth anniversary of the start of the Korean War.

This week I had the blessed honor of meeting Jack Larson. Jack is best known as Jimmy Olsen to George Reeves' Superman in the classic TV Series.

Jack has lived a remarkable life. He has walked with Garbo, cried with Monroe, and lived with Monty Clift. He's an accomplished author writing librettos for some of America's greatest contemporary operas. Jack is a walking history of the generation just on the other side of WWII.

Jack's rich life is tempered by the passing of his best boyhood pal Jerry Shup, who died on a hill fighting our Korean War. When Jerry's belongings were sent home, Jack received this poem Jerry had written on the front. Jack is such a noble man. I cannot help lament the loss of the contributions his friend Jerry might have made to society.

War, no matter how advised or patriotic it may be, is one of mankind's constant flaws. Thank you, Jerry Shup; your humanity still cries out for peace.

Thank you, too, to Brendon DeVore who edited this video so sensitively.

Shup's Song

You can have your army khaki; you can have your navy blue
But here's the kind of fighter I'll introduce to you.

His uniform is different it's the best you've ever seen
The enemy calls him Devil-dog, but his real name is Marine.

He trained in San Diego a place in no-man's land
He took the woe and hell of boot and came out a better man.

He stalked the plains of Pendleton and there learned the arts of war
Then staggered out on liberty to gripe about the Corps.

He sailed the broad the Pacific aboard a Swabbie ship
His stomach felt the ocean roar with every drunken dip.

He didn't go to breakfast, and he nibbled evening chow
He learned the salty ways of men stretched over a rolling bow.

He spent a night of liberty in far off old Japan
He learned the art of Orient love and drank with a slant-eyed man.

The sake and the incense - they reeled his head about
He barely made it to the docks before the ship pulled out.

He battled in Korea- the land that God forgot
Where the snow is sixty inches deep, and the sun in scorching hot.

He climbed a million mountains and twice as many hills
And in between the shrieking shells he took malaria pills.
From Inchon Strip to No-name Ridge to the frozen reservoir
He marched with twenty thousand men to the frozen hell of war.

He blessed the day that winter left And when the summer came
He sweat his aching body dry then drowned in the rain.

He was waiting for rotation - the likes he'd never see
While playing war with the Chinamen and swatting flies and fleas.

He climbed the hills he took the woe he glowed in victory
But the bravest thing he ever did was to down the deadly three.

Now the deadly three have taken their toll on more than one Marine
It's corned beef hash, and meat and beans, and noodles that make him scream.

They come in dry c-rations that tear a man in two
And for some good old stateside chow, he'd throw the book at you.

He fell on a hill in Korea one dread and misty morn
A hill where bullets and shrapnel have left their dreadful scorn.

They laid him in a stretcher they laid him where he fell
He had finished his bloody cruise into this bloody hell.

-Jerry Shup