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8. It Makes A Fellow Proud To Be A Soldier

I have only comparatively recently emerged from the United States Army, so that I am now, of course, in the radioactive reserve. And, the usual jokes about the Army aside, one of the many fine things one has to admit is the way that the Army has carried the American democratic ideal to its logical conclusion, in the sense that not only do they prohibit discrimination on the grounds of race, creed, and color, but also on the grounds of ability.

Be that as it may, some of you may recall the publicity a few years ago attendant upon the Army's search for an official Army song to be the counterpart of the Navy's Anchors Aweigh and the Air Force's Up In The Air, Junior Birdman song. I was in basic training at the time, and I recall our platoon sergeant, who was an unfrocked Marine... (Actually, the change of service had come as quite a blow to him because it meant that he had to memorize a new serial number which took up most of his time.)

At any rate, I recall this sergeant's informing me and my roommates of this rather deplorable fact that the Army didn't have any official...excuse me, didn't have no official song, and suggested that we work on this in our copious free time. Well, I submitted the following song, which is called It Makes A Fellow Proud To Be A Soldier which, I think, demonstrates the proper spirit, you'll agree. However, the fact that it did not win the contest I can ascribe only to blatant favoritism on part of the judges.

The heart of every man in our platoon must swell with pride,
For the nation's youth, the cream of which is marching at his side.
For the fascinating rules and regulations that we share,
And the quaint and curious costumes that we're called upon to wear.

Now Al joined up to do his part defending you and me.
He wants to fight and bleed and kill and die for liberty.
With the hell of war he's come to grips,
Policing up the filter tips,
It makes a fellow proud to be a soldier!

When Pete was only in the seventh grade, he stabbed a cop.
He's real R.A.* material, and he was glad to swap
His switchblade and his old zip gun
For a bayonet and a new M-1.**
It makes a fellow proud to be a soldier!

After Johnny got through basic training, he
Was a soldier through and through when he was done.
Its effects were so well rooted,
That the next day he saluted
A Good Humor man, an usher, and a nun.

Now, Fred's an intellectual, brings a book to every meal.
He likes the deep philosophers, like Norman Vincent Peale.
He thinks the army's just the thing,
Because he finds it broadening.
It makes a fellow proud to be a soldier!

Now, Ed flunked out of second grade, and never finished school.
He doesn't know a shelter half from an entrenching tool.***
But, he's going to be a big success,
He heads his class at OCS.****
It makes a fellow proud to be a soldier!

Our old mess sergeant's taste buds had been shot off in the war.
But his savory collations add to our esprit de corps.
To think of all the marvelous ways
They're using plastics nowadays.
It makes a fellow proud to be a soldier!

Our lieutenant is the up-and-coming type,
Played with soldiers as a boy, you just can bet.
It is written in the stars
He will get his captain's bars,
But he hasn't got enough box tops***** yet.

Our captain has a handicap to cope with, sad to tell.
He's from Georgia, and he doesn't speak the language very well.
He used to be, so rumor has,
The Dean of Alcatraz.
It makes a fellow proud to be,
What as a kid I vowed to be,
What luck to be allowed to be a soldier.  (At ease!)


      * Regular Army

      ** M-1: An early assault rifle

      *** A collapsible shovel, designed to fit into a pack

      **** Officer Candidate School

      ***** In those days, one could get prizes from cereal companies by sending in enough box tops from their product.

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