Just A Radio Operator
|This poem was written in 1944,
during the Battle of the Bulge, by
the father of Robert A. Wallace.
Oh, I\'m winning the war with a telegraph key, Thought I as I finished a “stack”. I hope this is not all the action I see Just wearing my pants out in back. I idly shuffle the blanks in my hand And glance at the five letter groups. I think of my brother in far foreign land Fighting up front with the troops. I check with my watch - where the heck\'s my R.J.? I\'m getting as hungry as sin. An eight hour trick is enough for the day, And I\'m practically deaf from the din. The “trick chief” gets up from the teletype chair And says that he has one for me. “Get your key oiled up, get that rig on the air, Here\'s a honey - a long one O.P.” My relief gets a curse on his unknowing head For his tardiness costs me my chow. And this is a hell of a time for a sked, The net\'s QJZ about now. But I slip on the cans and I rattle the key And the rig is again on the air. I give with the dits and the dahs just to see If the station I\'m calling is there. A couple of calls and he sends “QRU?” So I tell him I have an “O.P.” He sends me a “K” and I start a tattoo - Pounding brass on my telegraph key! I pass the first fifty, then wait for an sec, While he starts the next block on the sheet. I\'ve found if you don\'t make an op break his neck You get fewer requests to repeat. A hundred, and fifty, and then fifty more. She\'s long, I\'ve a thousand to go. My head\'s getting tired, my wrist\'s getting sore. Can't use “bug” for this guy is too slow. I\'m passing a thousand, my fist is near beat, Do I want an R.J. from T.C.? Not a chance, Chief, you know once my sign\'s on the sheet No one\'s sending that message but me. We finally clear and I send him “AR” And get one from him with his “ack”. The look that I give my relief leaves a scar As I grab for my hat on the rack. Later: I read how a shipment of arms saved a corps Because it arrived there in time. The corps that it saved was my brother\'s. What\'s more, The message that sent it was mine! Oh, I\'m fighting the war with a telegraph key But as long as they want me I\'ll stay. It may not be combat but now I can see How a message can help save the day. Copyright © 2006 Robert Alexander Wallace W1MQV / W1HH. _______________________________________________ A guide to shorthand used above: Ack = acknowledgement R.J. = relief operator AR = end of transmission QJZ = on stand by Bug = semiautomatic telegraph key QRU = Have you traffic for me? O.P. = Operational Priority T.C. = trick chief K = invitation to transmit