Submitted by Daryl Heusinkveld http://www.veterantributes.org/TributeDetail.php?recordID=17
Summarized by Dick Martin from the August 2017 issue of” Vietnam” magazine
A wounded Green Beret wrote and sang the only pro-military song for the Vietnam War. His name was SSGT Barry Sadler. The song came out of nowhere in January of 1966 to become the number one single of the year.
Sadler dropped out of high school in 1958 to join the Air Force, served four years and then joined the Army and became a Green Beret in 1963. Even though Sadler could not read a note of music, he wrote the song; but it took quite a few years, many settings, many different forms, and lots of input from many different people. All he knew for sure was that he wanted the line “silver wings upon their chests” in the song.
Through “the luck of the draw,” Sadler ran into the right people in the military and was able to get the song produced. Sadler signed a contract with RCA Victor Records, one of the top entertainment talent agencies in the United States. RCA released the single on January 11, 1966.
The song was a smash and became the number one song in the country, but was a one-hit wonder. Sadler gave up his singing career to author a number of pulp fiction novels. He died on his birthday at the age of 49 on November 5, 1989 under murky circumstances.
Link to youtube video of the song below:
Tweet received from Marc Leepson: "Thought you might be interested..My biography of Barry Sadler, Ballad of the Green Beret, has just been published!!
Submitted by Dick Martin
As 1944 dawned, Victory was in the air. The officials in Washington were worried that overconfidence would become their number one enemy. To counter this, Washington devised an ingenious series of pep rallies culminating in the January 1944 Army-Navy show at the Los Angeles Coliseum. Film studios provided sets built by Navy Seabees, where a mock battle was fought, ending with a flag waving rendition of “God Bless, America.”
The public relations offensive began with a two-day meeting in January with 650 Industrial leaders and labor leaders, public officials, and radio and newspaper executives in Los Angeles. The governments message was clear: “Don’t let up because the war Is far from over.”
Nearly a quarter of a million-people jammed the coliseum for the climatic show. Craftsman had converted the football field to a lifelike Pacific atoll, complete with palm trees and enemy fortifications. Enemy soldiers, supplied by the 140th Infantry Regiment, stormed the field with blank grenades and machine-gun fire. As spectators watched the attack, bright searchlights pierced the sky as wave after wave of US Army Air Force planes zoomed over the stadium.
With ears ringing and heads spinning, the audiences stood and recited a solemn pledge to “devote themselves wholeheartedly to the war effort.” The show ended with a rousing version of “God Bless America.” The stay-the-course show was repeated in San Francisco. The show worked, and war production soared throughout America in 1944.
Summarized from “Storm the Coliseum,” in the June 2017 World War II magazine.