Cadence Calls:  Military Folklore in Motion

Kent Lineberry

November 2002

Introduction

What are “cadence calls” and “Jodies?”

Cadence calls are a form of vocal music utilized by the military in troop training and routine movement by foot.  Moviegoers will recall Bill Murray’s humorous role in Stripes, including a rendition of “Doo Wa Diddy.”  Many other films have portrayed this art form, most notably including An Officer and a Gentleman and Full Metal Jacket.  While R. Lee Ermey and Bill Murray act out very differing styles of cadence call, the very common “call and response” form is displayed quite well:  a caller delivers a line in musical time with foot movement, and the troops respond, either by repeating the line or finishing the pre-arranged phrase begun by the caller.  This continues until the caller stops or starts a new cadence.  For now, consider a “Jody” (plural “Jodies”) to simply be a cadence call. 

The terms “Jody” and “cadence call” do not exist in the army FM 22-5, Drill and Ceremonies Field Manual, the only manual that is even remotely likely to contain them (Burgess).  There is no school or class to teach Jodies to drill instructors and soldiers.  One informant related that “Jody calls are by individuals…mostly…so they never made what they call a training manual or a field manual for Jody calls…it’s mostly been left up to … the drill sergeants, individual troops, or people that thought they might have a song that would work” (Burgess).  This strictly oral approach to the creation and proliferation of Jodies seems to have always been the case. 

As I began to work with cadence calls, I realized there were several “kinds.”  First, there are “marching cadences” which move at 120 beats per minute and “running cadences” which move at 180 beats per minute.  While it is useful to note the differences between these types, there is another distinction that proves far more interesting.  When one examines the modern military cadence, one notices that many collectors and callers divide cadences into “offensive” and “clean.”  “Offensive” Jodies were mostly practiced around the time of the Vietnam conflict.  The second variety include “clean” Jodies, the kind allowed during training today. 

This distinction poses very interesting questions.  What could be offensive about a cadence?  Who would consider it offensive?  Why did they change and who caused the change?  Before we delve into these and many other related questions, it behooves us to understand a little bit about the history of the cadence call.

A Brief History of Cadence Calls:  Rome to Vietnam

Military maneuvers have involved synchronized movement for centuries.  According to Sandee Johnson, compiler of The Jody Call Handbook, the Romans were “among the first to discover that their massed infantry marched more effectively if they kept in step” (Johnson 1:  17).  Sources seem unclear, but it’s generally agreed upon that drums were the primary tool for providing synchronization.  The Roman Legions defined the length of stride, marching tempi, formations, etc. that their soldiers would use.  They had a complex system of commands to maneuver on the battlefield.  These innovations were truly new in the world of war. 

Frederick the Great and the Prussian infantry are the next glowing example of innovation in military tactics utilizing highly synchronized marching:

Frederick…instilled a rigid discipline in his troops … He taught his troops to march in cadence, allowing them to move closer together which permitted Frederick to move more men into position in less time and put out more rapid and heavy volleys of fire. In this way he was able to constantly outmaneuver and outshoot his enemies. The superbly trained Prussian infantry dominated the European battlefield under Frederick the Great … He had gained a reputation as the finest soldier in Europe. (Crisp)

Frederick’s “close order” marching certainly improved firing and positioning, but it also seems to have been a revolution in movement and discipline principles: 

To synchronize their movements they stamped their heels on the ground and clapped their gun barrels in unison, while drill sergeants timed their steps with stopwatches.  …  In 1763, when the Prussians defeated France and its allies in the Seven Years' War, they owed their triumph, in part, to better walking. As a result, the single-mindedness and discipline of military drills became a blueprint for everything from manliness to philosophy to political authority in Prussia.  (Walking Art

In addition to the physiological advantages of close order marching, the psychological effect of standing shoulder-to-shoulder and moving in unison cannot be discounted.  It certainly seems that these soldiers would feel more like one unit, which would allow them to operate in unison more effectively.  They also perhaps felt a “safety in numbers” mentality, deriving security and comfort from the close proximity of their brethren in arms.  In addition, they were no doubt scary to witness in comparison to more loose formations or clumps of troops.  They were machine-like, partly due to cadenced marching.

In a world where armies had moved slowly, at right angles only, out of step, possibly stepping on each other’s feet, without a common pace to keep them moving towards danger, Frederick was wildly successful.  The use of stamped heels and clapped gun barrels as time-keeping tools is important.  While this is not a modern cadence call or even a marching song, it is a revolutionary step away from cumbersome drums and a step towards more portable means of timekeeping (the voice being the most portable tool of all).  Given that all verbal folklore is functional in this way, the cadence call is beginning to come closer to a more recognizable form of oral tradition. 

            The Revolutionary War seems to be the next point of interest on the timeline of American Cadence Calls.  According to Sandee Johnson, America’s first cadence call had to do with the ignorance of the colonial recruits:  “Keeping them in step was achieved by attaching a stalk of hay to one foot, and a piece of straw to the other so they could learn to march…” (Johnson 1: 18).  Therefore, America’s first cadence call was “Hay-foot, straw-foot, hay-foot!” (Johnson 1: 18). 

The first American marching “song” appears during the Revolutionary War as well.  “Yankee Doodle” was originally written as a taunt by a British surgeon (Johnson 1: 18).  The far superior British Army, well versed in military drill and maneuvering, found the Continentals’ apparent utter lack of tactics laughable.  It is historically appropriate that a Prussian Army officer, Baron von Steuben, was called in to drill the rebel army.  The same tradition of discipline that Frederick the Great instilled in his culture so long ago now returned to aid the fledgling United States.  Only after the tide of the war turned did the song become a source of American pride (Johnson 1: 18). 

            The Civil War brought more additions to the art of cadence calls and marching songs.  The “Hay-foot Straw-foot” method was reportedly used again for marching instruction at this time, but many other songs found their way into the mouths of troops and the hearts of the continent (Johnson 1:19).  “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” and “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” were both utilized as marching songs for movement purposes (Johnson 1:  19).   

            At this point it becomes useful to provide distinctions between modern cadence calls, marching songs, and battlefield maneuvering.  Cadences used to maneuver troops around on the battlefield were vital up until and through the Civil War.  In a battle where volleys were used to wipe human holes in enemy lines, where soldiers moved to close range to kill, where guerrilla warfare was considered entirely dishonorable (and wasn’t practiced except in rare circumstances), moving as a unit without stepping on each other and without hesitation was vital, utilitarian and necessary.  This is not the same thing as a marching song. 

A marching song was and is generally used to break the monotony of long marches and to instill pride, not to maneuver troops “in the breach,” so to speak.  Different from these two is the modern cadence call, begun around World War Two and remaining similar in form today.  The cadence call is generally not used in battle (it’s difficult to imagine troops tramping through the jungles of Vietnam in blocks broadcasting their position to enemies for miles).  Troops were also not subject to as many long marches after the Civil War due to advances in troop transport technology.  While cadence calls are still used when troops take long humps (such as in training and on-base troop movement), a new use presented itself.

Armies began to put their recruits through physical training:  marching and running designed to increase physical stamina.  This was not much done in the military previously, and here is where the modern cadence call shines. 

The modern cadence call was born in the spring of 1944 at Fort Slocum, New York’s Provisional Training Center.  Colonel Bernard Lentz, the fort’s commander at the time, published a well-established account of the event:

…as a company … was returning from a long tedious march through swamps and rough country, a chant broke the stillness of the night.  Upon investigation, it was found that a Negro soldier by the name of Willie Duckworth, on detached service with the Provisional Training Center, was chanting to build up the spirits of his comrades. 

            It was not long before the infectious rhythm was spreading throughout the ranks.  Footweary soldiers started to pick up their step in cadence with the growing chorus of hearty male voices.  Instead of a down trodden, fatigued company, here marched 200 soldiers with heads up, a spring to their step, and smiles on their faces.  This transformation occurred with the beginning of the Duckworth Chant.

            Upon returning to Fort Slocum, Pvt. Duckworth, with the aid of Provisional Training Center instructors, composed a series of verses and choruses to be used with the marching cadence.  After that eventful evening the Duckworth Chant was made a part of the drill at Fort Slocum as it proved to be not only a tremendous morale factor while marching, but also coordinated the movements of close order drill with troop precision.  (Lentz 70). 

This account is included in its entirety because Bernard Lentz is the man who standardized the use of cadence calls in the military.  It is an account of the birth of the modern cadence call, written by the man who would ensure its proliferation, and therefore very special to connoisseurs of this particular military folklore.  It’s the beginning of a very lively and diverse oral art form, different from marching songs and drill for many reasons.  The original Duckworth Chant, as presented in Lentz’s book, is included in the appendix. 

            Lentz didn’t stop at making cadence calls standard at Ft. Slocum.  He was loud enough about the new tool that “the Duckworth Chant was ordered to be recorded and distributed to the Armed Forces” by the “War Department (now the Department of Defense)” (Johnson 1:  21).  Lentz guaranteed the continuation of cadence calls throughout the military for years to come by recognizing the value of this motivational tool.  

            It’s important to note here that these “songs” are similar in purpose and creation to slave songs and the blues.  Slave owners sometimes posited their slaves’ singing as proof of happiness, which has uniformly been rejected in slave narratives (including The Narrative of the Live of Frederick Douglass, page 9) in the same way sadness and the blues go hand in hand.  Douglass mentions that slaves sing “when they are most unhappy.”  So too did Private Duckworth sing when he was at his wit’s end after a long march.  Therefore, to consider (as Colonel Lentz did) that this art form transforms tired servicemen into happy soldiers is misleading.  However, it is clear that both forms of “musical pain relief” are very useful to overseers.  In the same way that singing helped to drown the sorrow of the slave, the cadence call serves to take a soldier’s mind off the pain, anguish and monotony of service and training. 

The modern cadence call is a property of the lower ranks.  While the upper echelon must approve of the practice for its continuance, the recruits and drill sergeants are the creators and proliferators of the art.  Troops are encouraged to create cadence calls by their Drill Instructors (Burgess).  Jodies are more or less the folklore of the grunt, the workhorses of the armed forces.  This aspect allows some interesting angles of approach in the study of cadence calls.  Cadence calls might be likened to a sort of “Carnival” or “Mardi Gras” celebration; the troops are allowed a relatively meaningless or symbolic freedom for a short period of time when they are allowed to create cadence calls, which may help to keep them obedient the rest of the time. 

            The probably fictitious person that belongs to the name “Jody” is generally considered to be someone who is not in the service.  This person is portrayed as a paramour to a soldier’s spouse / significant other and someone who lives “the good life” at home while the soldier earns his or her freedom.  However, an interview with an accomplished drill sergeant cast doubt on this idea:

Why would it be called a Jody in the era….the reason it was called Jody is because many years ago, individual soldiers were married, had families…it was always a pun…nothing really there to get offensive with, but “here you are, you’re leaving and Jody’s gonna stay at home” …OK?…  “Old Jody’s gonna be there while you’re out there at the war, and Jody’s gonna take care of your family so you don’t ain’t gotta worry about it.”  So now there was a Jody…erupted… and this is where Jodies come into it and it was not the point of making them jealous or anything of that nature, it was a point of saying “well, you have no real worry…we’ve got somebody here to take care of your family…and that’s where Jody originated at.  …  As a name for another person to help take care of the wife.  OK?  That was another name for a person to help take care of the wife…like they come up with Jody’s got your girl and gone.  (Burgess)

This is clearly a very different perception than presented in Johnson’s publications, and it shows a small degree of variance even in the origin of the “Jody.” 

            Coming up with taxonomy for the information I’ve gleaned from various sources has proven to be almost as daunting as the collection.  The categories that seem to stick out of the Jodies I’ve collected include: 

It must be noted that the more positive and wholesome of this list are by far the most prevalent. 

 Jody Calls come in many shapes and sizes.  In fact, the communal and sometimes improvisational nature of their creation dictates that their forms are ever changing.  In addition, because troops who are not necessarily musical or poetic prodigies share some of the responsibility and privilege of inventing and reinventing Jodies, identifying traits such as scansion, duple or triple meter, tune and tempo take on considerable irregularity. 

There are, however, many examples of cadence calls that share striking similarity.  These Jodies seem to be variations on the same thematic material, the same tune, or perhaps the same metric construction.  Here we will explore a few variations of one of the most common cadence calls. 

C-130 Analysis          

C-130 is quite possibly the most popular cadence in use today.  It has many variations and many different applications.  I acquired this variation personally during an interview with a retired Drill Instructor, and it is a good place to start an analysis of C-130:

C-130 rolling down the strip,

Airborne daddy gonna take a little trip.

Stand up, hook up, shuffle to the door,

Jump right out and count to four.

If my chute don’t open wide,

I’ve got another one by my side.

If that one should fail me too,

Look out mama, I’m through.

If I die on the old drop zone,

Box me up and ship me home. (Burgess)

This variation has a lot of the standard components of the C-130 cadence.  The soldier is an “Airborne” soldier.  The soldier jumps from the plane, which usually includes the standard “count to four” as the static line catches or the soldier releases the parachute.  As usual, the possibility of the chute’s not opening is proposed, with fatal consequences and glib treatment of the soldier’s mortality.  The soldier finally (in most variants) requests that his or her corpse be shipped home in a box or disposed of in some other way.  From a thematic standpoint, this is truly a very standard variation. 

            From a musical standpoint, my recording of this particular variation is also very standard.  While the rhythms can be (and most certainly are) changed to fit different rhythmic densities, the melodic intervals remain much the same in many variants.  That is to say, the relationship or interval of one pitch to another will be the same whether a caller starts with a high note or a low note.  Therefore, while the intervals and relative pitch stay the same, the actual note used as the pitch center changes considerably from Drill Instructor to Drill Instructor and from singing to singing.  Figure one below shows the melodic pattern of the above variation from my personal interview:

Figure  SEQ Figure \* ARABIC 1

There is good reason for soldiers to have made so many variations of cadence about this one military plane.  It is legendary in a sense.  The C-130 is the multi-prop plane most often used to drop paratroopers into danger.  The first flight of the first production C-130A took place on April 7, 1955.  (Lockheed Martin website)  It is, in a sense, the noble steed of the modern knight, the trusty sidekick of the modern cowboy, a (hopefully) trusty means of transportation into battle.  It is only appropriate that this modern “Silver” or “Trigger” is celebrated in song as well. 

Most civilian listeners will readily recognize one line and one line only:  “If I die on the old drop zone (or, “in a combat zone,” etc.), box me up and ship me home.”  This line seems to state the theme for all of the variants of this cadence:  “I don’t care if I die,” or at the very least, “I accept the possibility that I may die.” 

            Feelings of immortality are common among the age group the military commonly recruits from.  Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, author of On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society, addressed this phenomenon in a personal phone interview.  He stated:

… there is a tendency among teenagers to believe that they’re immortal, and to believe that their death will be glorious, and to not really grasp the magnitude of their own death.  We see it with the school massacres, the killers there really don’t think past their death …  they think about all of the media coverage, but they don’t really grasp the fact that they won’t be there to see it.  (Grossman)

Therefore, Col. Grossman equates a soldier dying with a school terrorist being killed in that they both foresee attention or glory after their death without thinking that they won’t be there to see them.  It seems both the recruit who sings this song and the school shooter carry a common assumption:  when I die, I will be celebrated in some way.  The reason this is either a motivator (in the case of the school shooter) or a comfort (for the soldier) is that these thoughts do not include the realization that the soldier won’t be there to enjoy the aftermath.  It seems, however, that this type of cadence call functions at some intentional level to bolster feelings of immortality in the young recruit:

When we do odes, you know a posthumous award is really a means to provide somebody immortality.  And, when they talk about that, then it reassures the individual that their death will be a form of immortality and it allows them to deal with it to a certain degree.  Other than that, you know, the romanticizing and accepting of the possibility of death…in general, they’re relatively positive things, but to a certain degree they’re playing also to the vulnerability of the adolescent.  So, in general, they’re not a negative thing, and they allow the individual to equip themselves or prepare themselves.  (Grossman)

Col. Grossman cites the assumed necessity for a soldier to come to terms with the possibility of death before the danger actually arises.  However, this is not the most important revelation.  Being both inside the world of the military and the world of psychology, Grossman does not deny the usefulness of immortal feelings in a soldier.  He points out the vulnerability this type of cadence can play on, and he does not apologize for the military’s use of it.  He also reinforces the idea that these “odes” do “reassure the individual that their death will be a form of immortality.”  It seems that where society would want the school shooter to think ahead to the reality of their death and resist the temptations to “get attention” by extreme violence, the military, at some level, at least does not discourage this glorification for one purpose or another.  If these ideas seem incompatible in the same society, one must remember the impossible job that military service entails.  It is not necessarily bad for society to have soldiers who are not afraid to die; however, it seems society sends an entirely different message to the other youth of the world, and expects both messages to work without fail.  Although it is clear they are the exception rather than the rule, some of the notorious failures of military personnel attempting to reintegrate into civilian life are testimony enough to the end results of this contradiction. 

            Another theme can be discerned from the classic line “box me up and ship me home.”  It may be an unwritten contract between brother soldiers, that if one should fall, the others will make sure the family is taken care of in some way.  Whether the family is “taken care of” by being sent their son’s body (often brutally disfigured in the fall, according to many variants) or by some other aid is up for conjecture.  Nonetheless, this is a much more palatable interpretation than reckless feelings of immortality. 

            As one analyzes many variations of the C-130 cadence, it becomes clear that there are several key places where variation often occurs.  One of the most obvious is the way in which the body is disposed of.  The standard line “If I die on the old drop zone” (or often “If I die in a combat zone”) is usually followed by “box me up and ship me home.”  While this rhyme scheme is generally adhered to, there are many variants.  Ironically, one of the most outrageous variations comes from the same informant who provided me with the very standard variant listed at the beginning of this chapter.   Former Drill Instructor Burgess added in another variation (C-130B in the appendix) the lines “If I die on the Russian front, / Bury me in a Russian cunt!”  This is a tremendously rich pair of lines.  Not only do they show the same irreverence to mortality as the standard ones, they also display the rivalry of two sides of the cold war.  Mr. Burgess was a drill instructor during some of the most serious times of the Cold War, and therefore was preparing America’s troops during a time many would call the zenith of anticommunist sentiment:  the Vietnam War. 

            Burying someone in a vagina is obviously an impossible feat, but the joke is easily recognized:  Russian women are sexually loose, in both the figurative and literal sense.  This slam on the maidenhood of an opposing force’s women is significant in that it helps bolster the “us against them” mentality.  This is a helpful tool in dehumanizing an enemy for ease in killing, which the U.S. military and government have employed often over the years.  This dehumanization may enable killing when the time comes if the soldier believes he is killing someone or something that is somehow less human than he is. 

            Variation C-130J (located in the appendix) takes a different approach to the possibility of death.  This variant’s authors chose not to focus on funeral arrangements but rather to deny that the soldier can die at all: 

And if that one should fail me too

Here is all that I should do

Roll over get up and run off the DZ [drop zone]

Cause never in HELL will ya' bury me (Infantrymen Website)

While it might be said that this is less offensive than being buried in a vagina, this variant still scoffs mortality.  In fact, it is even more removed from the reality of death.  Whereas singing for funeral arrangements may be a jovial way to approach death, completely denying the possibility of it is even further away from reality.  It is one more way for the soldier to repress the common sense that society so desperately wants civilian youth to keep in mind.

            Variation C-130 G (in appendix), while not using the standard beginning line of “If I die on the old drop zone” or “in a combat zone,” still deals with the “bury me” formula:

Pin my wings upon my chest

Bury me in the leaning rest  (The Army Study Guide)

This part of the variation deals with the posthumous award of “Airborne” wings, which is odd, because the wings should already be awarded before service in battle.  However, it could just mean that the soldier should be fully decorated when buried.  The variations go well past this, however:

If I die in the Spanish Moors

Bury me deep with a case of Coors

If I die in Korean mud

Bury me deep with a case of Bud

If I die in a firefight

Bury me deep with a case of Lite

If I die in a German Blitz

Bury me deep with a case of Schlitz

If I die don't bring me back

Bury me with a case of Jack (The Army Study Guide, sic)

Clearly these variations include a common formulaic substitution slot:  alcohol.  The soldier wishes to take alcohol to the “next life,” which is far from the norm in Western religious tradition.  It is another way soldiers defy mortality, by either suggesting that they will be able to take the alcohol with them to the “next life,” or that they would like to be remembered as a drinker by having the alcohol accompany them in death, thereby mocking the death ritual.  It is probably not without significance that Coors and Schlitz are both considered to be cheap, low quality beer.  This would seem to signify the “rough and tough” attitude of a soldier.  Much in the same way, “Jack” (meaning Jack Daniels Whiskey) is premium hard liquor, making the soldier one who can “hold his own,” so to speak. 

            Yet another variation uses parts of previous variations with new themes.  C-130M includes the lines:

And if I die in the old drop zone,

Box me up and ship me home.

And if I die in the Korean mud

Bury me with a case of Bud

Bury speakers all around my head

So I can rock with the Grateful Dead

Bury speakers all around my toes

So I can rock with Axel Rose (UCCS Army ROTC Website)

In addition to the standard lines at the beginning of this selection, the lines about Korean mud and Bud(weiser) appear again.  The introduction of music to the tomb is intriguing.  It certainly must suggest that the soldier (at least playfully) assumes to be able to listen to this music, thereby again proclaiming his ability to cheat death.  The selection of artists here certainly does date the variant as relatively new, since Axel Rose is a relatively new music artist.  It’s also probably a pun to cite the “Grateful Dead” as the favored music of the dead soldier. 

Variation C-130J includes a variant of another standard pair of lines.  Many C-130 and Airborne cadences include the lines “If that chute (also “main” for main chute) don’t open wide, / I’ve got another one by my side.”  Instead of allowing these hopeful (if eventually irrelevant) lines, this variant includes the following:  “If that main don't open wide / I'll be a part of the country side.”  This is, of course, another example of disrespect for mortality, and as mentioned before, will serve to desensitize the troops to the realities of death and simultaneously force them to confront the possibility of death, thereby domesticating this very human fear. 

A disturbing application of this type of cadence can be seen in the L.A.P.D. Law Enforcement Explorer Post’s cadence website.  They too sing a version of C-130.  This variation includes many of the standard C-130 pieces:  jump from a C-130, count to four, and chute failure as a possibility.  It does not include a burial request, but it does insinuate eminent death:

C-130 rolling down the strip
Class ?? gonna take a little trip
Mission top secret, destination unknown
I don't know if were ever coming home
Stand up, hook up, shuffle to the door
Jump right out and count to four
One one thousand two one thousand three one thousand four
If my main don't open wide
I got reserve by my side
And if that one should fail me too
Get out of my way cause im coming through (L.A.P.D. Explorers, sic)

Having junior high and high school age children sing about “coming through” due to a failed chute and not knowing if they’re “ever coming home,” given the previous documentation about the youth’s propensity to feel immortal, seems supremely dangerous.  Compound this with the fact that these students are participating in limited, fun oriented law enforcement training, and the situation seems even more likely to go awry.  It’s difficult to understand why the L.A.P.D. Explorer Post would find cadence calls at all useful, much less ones about jumping from an airplane, which the police department doesn’t often do.  In a way, these students are playing at playing at death, which seems very disturbing. 

Conclusions

            It seems clear that a good understanding of military folklore, particularly the cadence call, will serve as another entry into the complex mind of the warrior in a democratic society: the person who is willing to give up freedoms to protect freedom.  As this genre of folklore is more commonly accepted and studied, increased fieldwork will be the key to true study.  There is no shortage of cadence on the Internet, and it is useful as Internet lore, but it seems that many of the postings on Internet sites would not pass muster as a performable cadence in today’s military.  Some would perhaps never have been acceptable.  The veracity of these electronic resources comes into question when researching, and properly conducted fieldwork could provide folklore scholars with actual performed variations.  These field notes, which will undoubtedly contain more contexts as to the location, time, company and setting of the performance, will allow for a more academic approach to the study of cadence calls. 

 


 

Appendix

Duckworth Chant

(Taken from Bernard Lentz’s The Cadence System of Teaching Close Order Drill and Exhibition Drills.)

 

(As mentioned in the text, “Additional verses may be improvised as desired” (Lentz 70).

 

  1.  The heads are up and the chests are out

The arms are swinging in cadence count

(Chorus) Sound Off (By Individual)

1—2 (By Troops)

Sound Off (By Individual)

3—4 (By Troops)

Cadence Count (By Individual)

1—2—3—4, 1—2——3—4 (By Troops)

 

  1. (Verse) Head and eyes off the ground,

Forty inches, Cover Down

(Chorus) Sound Off (By Individual)

1—2 (By Troops)

Sound Off (By Individual)

3—4 (By Troops)

Cadence Count (By Individual)

1—2—3—4, 1—2——3—4 (By Troops)

 

  1. (Verse) It won’t get by if it ain’t GI,

It won’t get by if it ain’t GI.

(Chorus) Sound Off (By Individual)

1—2 (By Troops)

Sound Off (By Individual)

3—4 (By Troops)

Cadence Count (By Individual)

1—2—3—4, 1—2——3—4 (By Troops)

 

  1.  (Verse) I don’t mind taking a hike

If I can take along my bike.

(Chorus) Sound Off (By Individual)

1—2 (By Troops)

Sound Off (By Individual)

3—4 (By Troops)

Cadence Count (By Individual)

1—2—3—4, 1—2——3—4 (By Troops)

 

  1. (Verse) I don’t care if I get dirty

As long as the Brow gets Gravel Gertie.

(Chorus) Sound Off (By Individual)

1—2 (By Troops)

Sound Off (By Individual)

3—4 (By Troops)

Cadence Count (By Individual)

1—2—3—4, 1—2——3—4 (By Troops)

 

  1. (Verse) The Wacs and Waves will win the war

So tell us what we’re fighting for.

(Chorus) Sound Off (By Individual)

1—2 (By Troops)

Sound Off (By Individual)

3—4 (By Troops)

Cadence Count (By Individual)

1—2—3—4, 1—2——3—4 (By Troops)

 

  1. (Verse) They send us out in the middle of the night

To shoot an azimuth without a light.

(Chorus) Sound Off (By Individual)

1—2 (By Troops)

Sound Off (By Individual)

3—4 (By Troops)

Cadence Count (By Individual)

1—2—3—4, 1—2——3—4 (By Troops)

 

  1. (Verse) There are lots of plums upon the tree

For everyone exceptin’ me.

(Chorus) Sound Off (By Individual)

1—2 (By Troops)

Sound Off (By Individual)

3—4 (By Troops)

Cadence Count (By Individual)

1—2—3—4, 1—2——3—4 (By Troops)

 

  1.  (Verse) The first platoon, it is the best.

They’ll always pass the Colonel’s tests.

(Chorus) Sound Off (By Individual)

1—2 (By Troops)

Sound Off (By Individual)

3—4 (By Troops)

Cadence Count (By Individual)

1—2—3—4, 1—2——3—4 (By Troops)

 

 

 

 

C-130B

“C-130 #2”

Leroy Burgess, personal interview.

 

C-130 rolling down the strip

Airborne daddy gonna take a little trip

Stand up, hook up, shuffle to the door

Jump right out and count to four

One, Two

Three, Four,

One, Two, Three, Four,

One, Two, Three, Four,

If I die on the old drop zone

Box me up and ship me home.

If I die on the Russian front,

Bury me in a Russian cunt!

Am I right or wrong (you’re right!)

Tell me if you’re wrong (you’re right!)

Sound off, one, two,

Sound off, three, four

Bring it on down,

One, Two, Three, Four,

One, Two…Three Four!

 

C-130J

“C-130”

http://www.infantrymen.net/cadence.html

 

C-130 rolling down the strip

64 troopers gonna take a little trip

Mission top secret, destination unknown

And they don't give a damn if they ever come home

                                  

Stand up, hook up, shuffle to the door

Jump right out and count to four

If that main don't open wide

I've got a reserve by my side

 

And if that one should fail me too

Here is all that I should do

Roll over get up and run off the DZ

Cause never in HELL will ya' bury me

 

 

C-130G

“C-130”

 http://www.armystudyguide.com/resources/cadence/7.htm

 

C-130 rolling down the strip

Airborne daddy on a one way trip

Mission uncertain, destination unknown

We don't know if we'll ever come home

Stand up, hook up, shuffle to the door

Jump right out and count to four

If my man don't open wide

I got another one by my side.

If that one should fail me to

Look out ground I'm coming through

Slip to the right and slip to the left

Slip on down, do a PLF

Hit the drop zone with my feet apart

Legs in my stomach and feet in my heart

If I die on the old drop zone

Box me up and ship me home

Pin my wings upon my chest

Bury me in the leaning rest

If I die in the Spanish Moors

Bury me deep with a case of Coors

If I die in Korean mud

Bury me deep with a case of Bud

If I die in a firefight

Bury me deep with a case of Lite

If I die in a German Blitz

Bury me deep with a case of Schlitz

If I die don't bring me back

Bury me with a case of Jack

 

 

C-130M

“C-130”

http://web.uccs.edu/armyrotc/Secondary%20Pages/resourcescadence.html#C-130

 

Bury speakers all around my head

So I can rock with the Grateful Dead

Bury speakers all around my toes

So I can rock with Axel Rose

 

Pin my medals upon my chest,

And bury me in the leaning rest.

 

C-130 rolling down the strip,

Airborne daddy's gonna take a little trip.

Mission uncertain, destination unknown,

Don't even know if we're ever coming home.

 

Stand-up, Hook-up, shuffle to the door,  

Jump right out and count to four.

Slip to the left and slip to the right

Slip on down to a firefight.

Hit the drop zone with my feet apart

Legs in my stomach and feet in my heart.

 

And if my main don't open wide,

I've got a reserve by my side.

And if that one should fail me too,

Look out below, I'm coming through.

 

And if I die in the old drop zone,

Box me up and ship me home.

And if I die in the Korean mud

Bury me with a case of Bud

 

Bury speakers all around my head

So I can rock with the Grateful Dead

Bury speakers all around my toes

So I can rock with Axel Rose

 

Pin my medals upon my chest,

And bury me in the leaning rest.

 

 

 

 


 

Works Cited

The Army Study Guide.  2 October 2002.  <http://www.armystudyguide.com/resources/cadence/7.htm>.

Burgess, Leroy.  Personal Interview.  10 November 2001.

Crisp, Joseph A.W.G., II.  Home page.  “Joseph's Kaiser Wilhelm II Royalty & Monarchist Page.”  9 September 2002  <http://www.geocities.com/royalwilhelm/frederickthegreat.html>

Douglass, Frederick.  The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass.  Toronto:  Dover, 1995. 

Infantrymen Website.  2 October 2002.  <http://www.infantrymen.net/cadence.html>.

Johnson, Sandee.  The New American Cadences Jody Call Handbook.  Vol. 1.  California:  Talisman, 1994.  2 vols.

L.A.P.D. Explorers Cadence Website.  2 October 2002. 

<http://www.geocities.com/lapdexplorers2002/cadence.html>. 

Lentz, Bernard.  The Cadence System of Teaching Close Order Drill and Exhibition Drills.  Pennsylvania:  Military Service Publishing, 1955. 

Lockheed Martin website.  7 October 2002.  <http://www.lmasc.com/c-130j/chron.htm> .

Lori, Ryan.  The Cadence Page.  28 October 2001.  Accessed repeatedly September-December 2001.  <http://users.erols.com/loriryan/cadence.html>. 

UCCS Army ROTC Website.  1 October 2002. 

<http://web.uccs.edu/armyrotc/Secondary%20Pages/resourcescadence.html#C-130>.

Walking Art.  Web site.  Curtin University of Technology:  Clinical Gate Analysis Site.  9 September, 2002  <http://guardian.curtin.edu.au/cga/art/history.html>. 

 

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