Over the green hills the bay lies and after the harbor, the sea,
And a grim, gaunt, gray destroyer is steaming there swiftly and free
With a roll that strains her stanchions and a pitch that peels her paint.
She bucks on the crest of the billows, she washes her side in the trough,
She ships twenty tons of ocean, and then like a dog, shakes it off;
Her seaman cling tight to the lifelines, her snipe gang is gasping for air.,
From mess cook to skipper they curse her—but no rank outsider would dare!
The smoke boils down black on her taffrail, the white foam unrolls in her wake,
The hissing steam throbs in her boilers for she has a commitment to make;
She lurches and trembles and staggers, alive from antennae to keel,
She reeks of burned oil and hot bearings, and rings with the pulsing of steel,
Wild winds play symphonics topside, below crash the drums of the sea,
And far to the west of the sunset, Vietnam calls to her and to me;
She’s battered and brine-caked and crowded—they call her a salty old can—
But those aboard grin as they curse her, and each DESTROYER sailor is a man!