Rick Gehrke



U.S. Air Force

U.S. Air Force 1980-1990, Airborne Crypto Linguist-Arabic

Rick Gehrke
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Rick served in the Air Force from 1980-1990 as an airborne cryptologic linguist (Arabic) and mainly flew reconnaissance missions on RC-135's in the Middle East, North Africa, and Southwest Asia. He was assigned to the 6916th Electronic Security Squadron at Hellenikon Air Base, Athens. He also flew as an area specialist on E-3 Sentry (AWACS) missions in the Persian Gulf. He is a musician and songwriter and serves on Freedom Sings USA's board of directors.

Following the attacks of September 11th, 2001, Rick wrote the words to this folk rock epic ballad as a protest against militant ignorance, and a lament for the children caught in the crossfire.


Stolen Arrows


She brought me sad news

with tears in her eyes

four stolen arrows

and blood in the skies

on a September morning

were thousands to die

by the stroke of a desperate hand


Faraway in dumb horror

we watched and we listened

as the takers and the taken

struggled in combat unwitnessed

'til their tangled misfortune

had swept them all mingled

into the uncaring earth

Then the heroes they battled

through blazes and smoke

'til the bones of the

giants in agony broke

and fell on their masters

with sickening blows

that woke up the tiger again


And high in the towers

of ivory and gold

the wisdom of ages

is pondered, I'm told

but the sins of the elders

fall hard on the children

our love warms them not

as their ashes grow cold


With fire and steel

we struck back year after year

with vengeance insatiable

blinded by hatred and fear

like some wounded animal

mindless with rage

no thought for the future of man


And safe within refuge

of weapons and stone

mad confusion held sway

over chamber and throne

but for those left outside

there was no place to hide

no shelter for Aqualung's child


So they with their sticks

and their rocks and their knives

swore they would make us all

pay with our lives

and the drums pounded louder

with each bloody dawn

both sides calling their gods down to save them


And high in the towers

of ivory and gold

the wisdom of ages

is pondered I'm told

but the cries of the children

could not cross the ocean

hard luck for the young

who will never grow old


Now the swords of the mighty

ring out over hot crimson sand

as the weak burn in flames

of our misguided plans

for the power and the glory

and the games that we play

for greed, for God, and forgotten


So the pendulum swings

'til the end of all things

for most of us want it that way,

or so it seems

'til the day it swings back

turning blue skies to black

and the bitter wind whispers our names


Dear Juliana, David,


oh where have you gone

what new light have you seen

may some brighter sunrise

find you tomorrow

safe at last

from our own stolen arrows


And high in the towers

of ivory and gold

the wisdom of ages

is pondered we're told

yet the sins of the elders

fall hard on the children

their love warms us not

as our ashes grow cold


©2002 Rick Gehrke

Healing through music and songwriting...

Freedom Sings USA provides songwriting and music-arts therapy programs for Veterans and Military families. Based in Nashville and Chattanooga (TN), we are now providing weekly classes, monthly workshops and touring events nationwide (live and online). Whether you're a veteran searching for a place to connect with peers, a songwriter looking to share your talents, or an organization interested in supporting our Veteran-focused mission, we invite you to get involved today. Music is Good Medicine.™