Several months ago I posted a poem written in tribute to the American fighters in Benghazi who disobeyed orders to get into the fight and to save American lives (and by all accounts former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty did save many lives). You can read my first posting HERE. But it appears I may have misattributed the author of the poem. I’ve recently received an email from John Roberts, a former SEAL himself, who says this:
Tim, I am John E. Roberts and I am the legitimate author of this poem. Inspired by the WWII poem, “The Battling Bastards of Bataan,” I wrote the bulk of it one Sunday afternoon while driving from Okeechobee to Cutler Bay. Over the next couple of days I polished it up a bit and forwarded it to many of my SEAL Team associates. It was a week or so later going out on San Diego Beachlife Magazine (the publisher was out of the country and couldn’t post it until he returned). Anyway, I and others are curious as to exactly how it became attributed to Col. William Bauer, USMC. Do you by any chance have any idea?
Regards, John E. Roberts
I wrote Mr. Roberts back and inquired further, telling him I have no idea where the Col. William Bauer attribution came from (it came across my desk that way), whereupon he told me that “I have last year’s log book with me. I checked and the day I drove from Okeechobee City to Cutler Bay was November 4th. I had a note pad beside me on the seat, and every time I thought of something I wrote it down. I had the original first line before I left, “We’re the Battling Bastards of Benghazi.” Took me awhile to come up with “paparazzi” so it would rhyme. I was at about 85% by the time I got home and I recited what I had to my daughter, my grandson, and my daughter’s boyfriend. I worked that night and I believe the next day I sent it out to a bunch of friends and former SEALS for their input. Over the next couple of days I tweaked it just a bit in two or three places, and I think some of the guys sent it out prematurely before I had the final version complete. Once it was complete I sent it to the SEALS, and that distribution was all by email and I have no idea where it went from there. I wanted my friend Tom Marshall, and former SEAL & Teammate, to publish it on San Diego Beachlife Magazine first, but he was out of the country and it was about 10 days to 2 weeks before he got it up. On the 14th, the day after the Muster of old Frogmen, SEALS, Scouts & Raiders in Ft. Pierce, the version that I put on YouTube went up, with me reciting, and the grandson of two SEALS doing the recording and technical work. After that it went all over and then the attribution to this Col. Bauer started jumping up. I didn’t expect to make any money on the deal, it was the message I wanted out, but I do like to see credit where credit’s due. We’ll get to the bottom of this when I get back in the states for time off on May 8th. In the meantime feel free to use my email and any of the information I’ve given you. You might also like to check out the editorial I wrote on the same subject that is also posted on www.sdbeachlife.com at http://www.sdbeachlife.com/JER/news_issues.html.
The Poem: http://www.sdbeachlife.com/JER/benghazi.html
Well regards to you also, John Roberts, and thank you for your service. As a Marine veteran of Vietnam myself, I’m glad to correct the record for you. In the meantime, here’s your poetry, followed by your YouTube tribute:
The Battling Bastards of Benghazi
By John Edwin Roberts
We’re the Battling Bastards of Benghazi,
no fame, no glory, no paparazzi.
Just a fiery death in a blazing hell,
defending the country we loved so well.
It wasn’t our job, but we answered the call,
fought to the consulate, ‘n scaled th’ wall.
We pulled twenty countrymen from the jaws of fate,
led them to safety, ‘n stood at th’ gate.
Just the two of us, ‘n foe by th’ score,
but we stood fast to bar th’ door.
We called for reinforcement, but it was denied,
so we fought, ‘n we fought, ‘n we fought, ‘n we died.
We gave our all for our Uncle Sam,
‘n Obama didn’t give a damn,
just two dead SEALS that carried the load,
no thanks to us, we were bumps in the road.