The song “Ballad of the Green Berets” has become an anthem of the elite troops of the U.S. Army. It was penned by Staff Sergeant Barry Sadler while he was training to be a Special Forces (Green Beret) medic. It was a song to enliven and applaud the American soldiers battling in Vietnam when public sentiment was low.
In May 1965, Sadler sustained a leg injury from a punji spike spread in human feces. He wrote Ballad of the Green Berets as he was recuperating from the infection. The lines were created as a tribute to U.S. Army Specialist 5 James Gabriel, Jr., a Special Forces operator and the first native Hawaiian to die in Vietnam, who was killed when their camp was overrun while on a training mission in 1962.
A TV news team recorded him singing this at the infirmary, and when the video aired in the US, it became a massive hit instantly.
The soldier’s performance and the song’s fame honored The Green Berets as the optimum symbol of American troop courage, valor, and dedication. Even though this song is patronizing, it still presents a clear definition of war, and the writer’s view has influenced the lyrics remarkably.
Same as several artists who gain immediate success, he was unable to nourish it. His tale ends in hostility and brutality. Nevertheless, the success of the song cannot be questioned.
The Ballad of the Green Berets by Staff Sergeant Barry Sadler quickly peaked #1 in the most charts, including South Africa Springbok Radio SA Top 20, US Adult Contemporary, and US Billboard Hot 100. In the US, this was the top-selling song of 1966. He was added to the “Hall of fame” as the writer of The Ballad of the Green Berets, which was on the bestseller list for weeks.
Let’s look back at the patriotism of our soldiers by listening to Barry Sadler’s “The Ballad of the Green Berets” below.
Staff Sergeant Barry Sadler