The Vietnam War Through Pop Music

Analysis of the Song "Ballad of the Green Beret"

SSgt Barry Sadler - The Ballad Of The Green Berets

Song Information

Written By: Staff Sergeant Barry Sadler and Robin Moore

Singer: Barry Sadler

Date: January 1966

Song Lyrics


Fighting soldiers from the sky

Fearless men who jump and die

Men who mean just what they say

The brave men of the Green Beret





Silver wings upon their chest

These are men, America's best

One hundred men will test today

But only three win the Green Beret





Trained to live off nature's land

Trained in combat, hand-to-hand

Men who fight by night and day

Courage peak from the Green Berets





Silver wings upon their chest

These are men, America's best

One hundred men will test today

But only three win the Green Beret





Back at home a young wife waits

Her Green Beret has met his fate

He has died for those oppressed

Leaving her his last request





Put silver wings on my son's chest

Make him one of America's best

He'll be a man they'll test one day

Have him win the Green Beret.

Historical Information

Americans left their families behind to fight in a war that they did not believe in. Veterans from WWII were proud of their service and wanted their children to proudly serve too, connection to song. There were lots of unnecessary deaths.

Musician's View of the War

Barry Sadler:

  • a Green Beret combat medic
  • song was written to be patriotic
  • Won multiple awards for his service

Connections to The Things They Carried

"Back at home a young wife waits"

Soldiers were forced to leave their loves behind, for example Lt. Cross and his first love Martha.


"Fearless men who jump and die"

In The Things They Carried courage and bravery were major themes. O'Brien was constantly experiencing an internal moral dilemma. He discussed this concept often throughout the book.

Citations

Sadler*, Staff Sergeant Barry. Staff Sergeant Barry Sadler* - the Ballad of the Green Berets. Discogs, 2016. Audio Recording. 8 June 2016.


Online, Mail. DefenseLINK news: 28 years of anguish subside; pain remains. Pinterest, n.d. Web. 8 June 2016.


“Special forces “ green Berets .”” Pinterest, 27 July 2015. Web. 8 June 2016.


SSgt, and The Green Berets. “Ballad of the Green Berets.” Wikipedia. N.p.: Wikimedia Foundation, 28 May 2016. Web. 8 June 2016.


“Barry Sadler.” Wikipedia. N.p.: Wikimedia Foundation, 3 June 2016. Web. 9 June 2016.

MAANSI DESAI AND ELLA LANGE