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USS Enterprise CV-6
The Most Decorated Ship of the Second World War

A Bugler in Enterprise's R Division from August 1943 to July 1946, Arlond "Jack" Banks enjoyed the unique privilege of leading the Enterprise US Navy Band #51 down the Avenue of the Americas at the head of the October 1945 Navy Day parade in New York City. In more recent years, he's recounted the Big E's long history as a series of poems. A few of his best efforts are presented below.


Poems of the Big E

The Last Attack

'Twas Fourteen May, the year '45
Ragged few of her crew remain alive
Witness to that deadly cruise
Off Japanese islands - Okinawa and Kyushu
A fateful day for Tomi Zai,
Kamikaze pilot with death wish to die.
Granted his wish by "Son of Heaven"
Plunging to Enterprise - was morning after 7.
Steadfast its course quick and true,
Straight as an arrow his Zeke flew.
Through walls of fire impossible to survive,
That suicide plane kept its fatal dive.
Striking our Queen on her number one,
Lit off like a rocket, to the sky it spun.
Big E wounded, shook, rattled and rolled,
To rid the evil taking its toll -
Crushing our ship, killing our mates,
That last attack sealed our fate.
'Twas our ticket home, Stateside alive,
Aboard our Queen Good Enterprise.


To The Boys

Here's to the boys in the gun tubs,
To the boys on the ammo lifts.
Here's to the jacks and gunners mates,
Standing watch on endless shifts.

Here's to the boys in the fire rooms,
Here's to the boys on the grates
Here's to the chief of the black gang crew,
Steady hands kept calamity at the gate.

Here's to the "boats" of the side-cleaner's crew,
Here's to the boys brushing paint.
Here's to those boys "dancing" over the brine,
A chore for Mother Teresa it ain't.

Here's to the boys in C&R,
Here's to the boys with a wrench.
Here's to those boys in Damage Control,
Saving ship and lives in a pinch.

Here's to the boys in the galley,
To the boys in that sweating bake shop.
And here's to the mess they prepared for the crew,
'Twas wholesome, seldom slop.

Here's to the boys in the flight deck crew,
To the boys on that risky flight line.
Here's to the boys who flew our planes,
Splashing Jap intruders in time.

Here's to the boys of our Enterprise,
That gallant unmatched crew.
Here's to the men they all became,
Serving Uncle during World War Two.

And here's to the men who didn't return,
Words can not give their due.
We owe our lives to their selfless deeds,
The essence of warriors true-blue.


Lyric for Big E's Cow

Or...Just One Last Time 'Fore I Die

There were swabbies who fancied tabooed raisin jack,
old salts their torpedo juice cocktail.
There were boots sniffing zinc chromate,
their complexions turning quite pale.
But the guy who ran the milk machine,
called affectionately "the mechanical cow",
cranked out the best damn milk in the fleet,
from Big E's cast iron cow.

Took time to acquire a taste for it,
Nothing' like the milk back home.
But after weeks and weeks at sea,
'Twas better than condensed sea foam.
As I sit here in my twilight years,
conjuring those days gone by,
I dream of swigging that 3rd deck brew,
just one last time 'fore I die, HA HA!
Just one last time 'fore I die.

A. R. "Jack" Banks

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