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This poem was submitted by Ralph Holcomb, former member of the 49th Fighter Control Squadron of WWII. He served from 1942 to 1944. It was a tribute to the 49th Pursuit Group while the 49FC was attached to the 49PG, and was presented to the group by Australian ground troops.


(Name later changed to 49th Fighter Group)

Ye men who soar through Darwin skys
And fear no flying thing.
Today we pay you tribute
And dip a phantom wing.

We've watched you from our gun pits
Fly out to meet the foe
With the odds so great against you
That the bravest alone could go.

We've risen from our trenches
To cheer you, grim of face
Knowing too well the chips were down
Praying you'd hold the ace.

We've seen you battle through the skys
Against fast, better craft
Yet drink the cup of victory
In deep and well earned draught.

Ever out-gunned and out powered
Yet you have fought so well,
That many a "son of heaven"
Has known the fury of hell.

We've seen you wrapped in wetted chute
Burned and broken of bone
Direct your rescuers in their task
Pain-wracked --- with never a moan.

We've seen you in the mangrove mud
Or lifted down from a tree
Scared and starved, yet holding on
With grim tenacity.

We've seen you roam the jungle,
Given up for lost
Somehow walk out to fly again
And never count the cost.

Or swim for hours through shark-laned seas,
Or fall in a blanket of flame
Yet rise from it all to fly again
And call it "part of the game".

Oh, if the sky and the sea and the back-bush
Could whisper the things they've seen,
They would shout a saga of courage
As never before has been.

But we know your every victory,
And we know the price you have paid
And we've cheered with you and we've mourned with you
And we're proud of the score you've made.

And wherever brave men's tales we tell
And heroes we salute,
We'll drink a toast to the men of steel
Of the 49th Pursuit.

By--- Captain Anthony G. Carroll, Chaplain
102nd SEP (AA) BN CA
July 4, 1942


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