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Boomer Anthems: The Green Berets (Number One with a Bullet by the Way)

Silver wings upon their chest
These are men, America’s best
One hundred men we’ll test today
But only three win the Green Beret

“The song was the No. 1 hit in the U.S. for the five weeks encompassing March 1966 and the No. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100’s end of the year chart for 1966, despite the competing “California Dreamin'”, sharply dividing the popular music market, and the No. 21 song of the 1960s, even though the Vietnam War later became unpopular.

“The rivalry between “Green Berets” and “California Dreamin'” was so fierce that the two records tied for the No. 1 record of 1966, according to Cashbox. “Green Berets” has sold over nine million singles and albums and was the top single of a year in which the British Invasion, led by the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, continued to dominate the U.S. charts.

“For comparison, according to Billboard, The Beatles’ top hit in 1966 was “We Can Work It Out” (No. 16), while the Stones’ top hit in 1966 was “Paint It, Black” (No. 21).

“The lyrics were written in honor of Green Beret James Gabriel, Jr., the first native Hawaiian who died in Vietnam, who was executed by the Viet Cong while on a training mission on April 8, 1962. One verse was written in honor of Gabriel, but it never made it into the final version.” — La Wik

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Casey Klahn July 14, 2020, 7:40 PM

    Filmed at Ft Benning School for Boys. One friend was the extra who dove out of the tower as it was blown up. And, ahem…I have pizz’d in Provo’s Privy.

  • rabbit tobacco July 14, 2020, 7:56 PM

    “Life is hard,
    harder if you’re stupid.”
    John Wayne

  • Ray July 14, 2020, 8:40 PM

    I remember that movie because I graduated from college in 1966. In order to continue my draft dodging I went to the Navy recruiter and joined the Navy. One of my friends let the draft take him and he ended up in the Army in Germany. I was on a destroyer homeported at Pearl Harbor and we regularly deployed to Vietnam.I joke that I spent the Vietnam war sailing around the Pacific Ocean on my rich uncles yacht.

  • Anonymous Coward 3265 July 15, 2020, 3:00 AM

    Trivia question: in what branch did Wayne do his actual military service? No peeking.

  • ghostsniper July 15, 2020, 4:14 AM

    Retarded Shitstain sed: “Trivia question: in what branch did Wayne do his actual military service? No peeking.”
    The same one obama and klintin did.

  • Retarded Shitstain July 15, 2020, 4:51 AM

    That’s right. Same service record as Clinton and Obummer (and Trump for that matter).
    FWIW, back when I was Sergeant (E-5) Shitstain, US Army, I once had the opportunity to shake the hand of a MoH holder, since my wife worked with his. Apart from his citation, which I read later, my wife told me some things she heard from his wife, which made him more of a hero than he already was.
    I later worked as a civilian on Bragg, and had occasion to speak with a number of real SF troopers, who in my experience were quiet, unassuming folks, but _very_ professional in every respect. I once spoke to the young captain who then ran the SF Q-course, who told me that they had a very specific profile on who they wanted for that work. Said it was difficult to tell the gentlemen applying from the 75th, who had a very different mission, that despite their many virtues they just _weren’t_ what the SF was looking for. But that wasn’t Vietnam, to which I myself was never any closer than DLI/Monterey, so what do I know?
    Shitstain out.

  • Snakepit Kansas July 15, 2020, 5:11 AM

    John Wayne loved his country very much like Trump. Klinton screwed this country and Obama hated this country. We don’t play trivia here.

  • Casey Klahn July 15, 2020, 5:36 AM

    idk how to convey to readers what Hollywood once meant to America. It was a vital industry. In WW II you took what you were given, and you did what you were told.

    You did have some guys like John Wayne, who was a top shelf, A-film actor, who made movies. Some did that for awhile and got ancy and flew combat missions. I think Clark gable was one, and of course we recall Jimmy Stewart’s combat service. Jimmy Stewart was very close friends with John Wayne till the day JW died.

    When John Wayne passed, I considered getting out of the service. I think I had only 8 years of NG service at the time.

    Anyway, he loved America and, what’s more, he loved the flag. This trait of loving the flag is a long gone part of our past. It was Vietnam that broke America of that passion. Our passion for Old Glory. It wasn’t Colin KapYourNick. He’s just an attention seeker. Recently I saw a photo of the dem congress critters, wearing fake Africa garb, and bowing down as a sign of disrespect for the flag.

  • Roy Lofquist July 15, 2020, 5:46 AM

    I’ve run into bunches of Rangers and SEALS and Special Forces guys over the years. They tend to hang around honky tonks on Friday and Saturday nights. I’ve also met a couple or three of the real deals.

  • DLJ6 July 15, 2020, 7:13 AM

    My late father had that on a 45 disc. I recall thinking the movie was a bit cheesy, seems even more so now. Of course I am a bit jaded as dad retired from the 1St SFG, B Det. in 63, MOS 115.93. The year prior he had been a MTT Coordinator. I spent some time at Bragg as a toddler before he deployed.

  • Geo July 15, 2020, 8:19 AM

    Cheesy? Perhaps. A couple of years later I found it inspirational enough to put my right hand in the air and join them.

    Worth remembering is LTC Martha “Maggie” Raye who dedicated much of her own time to the USO and then to the men of Special Forces in Vietnam. She was given honorary appointments to Special Forces and appointment to LTC.

    When she died she was given a waiver to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery, but according to her own wishes waa buried at the Post Cemetery at Fort Bragg, with a Veterans Headstone. The home of Special Forces.

    One if our Chapters in the Special Forces Association is named in her honor for her dedicated service to Special Forces members.

    We will always remember LTC Maggie!

    De Oppresso Liber

  • Retarded Shitstain July 15, 2020, 10:36 AM

    Bottom line: whatever Wayne’s other virtues may have been, he was not a veteran.
    Now, being a veteran does not by itself guarantee virtue. Chesty Puller, Smedley Butler, Lee Harvey Oswald, and Nathan Phillips were all USMC veterans. Butler had TWO Medals of Honor, though he tried to return the first one since he felt unworthy of it.
    But one either is or is not a veteran.
    For the record, I voted for Trump in 2016 and will again this year if he isn’t assasinated before then.
    Just one question for you guys with the gamer-handle screen names: how do you keep the Cheeto dust off your Liebstandarte uniforms while playing CoD? Or do you just call that werewolf camo?

  • Aggie July 15, 2020, 2:09 PM

    I was just thinking of the ballad the other day, oddly enough. When this came out in /’66 my parents bought the album and played it on the high fi- a lot, right along with Montovani and Bacharac, and Edie and Bob. Nearly all of the other cuts were pretty cheesy but I remember them, all the same. It was a time when it started becoming fashionable to disrespect patriotism and honor of country as something that only the squares did.

    Once in a while the squares would object to the denigration with physical confrontation, and that re-set procedure usually cleared things right up. Too bad we lost the manual.

  • Snakepit Kansas July 15, 2020, 3:17 PM

    I don’t know what CoD is. We are an older crowd here.

  • Retarded Shitstain July 16, 2020, 6:27 AM

    Mr. Kansas, I don’t know what “older” is around here, but I just turned sixty-eight.
    CoD is “Call of Duty”, a military themed computer game. I’ve never played it.
    But I’ve obviously wandered into the wrong bar. Can’t always tell at first.
    You folks enjoy yourselves, and God bless America.

  • H July 16, 2020, 6:34 AM

    “gamer-handle screen names”

    Spot on, without deflection.

  • SgtBob July 16, 2020, 6:05 PM

    A lot of dudes be like the Dusty Springfield song, “Wishin’ and Hopin’.”

  • Fergus Boone July 18, 2020, 9:43 AM

    Wayne didn’t serve because of his age and number of children. He did try to enlist but purportedly was denied because of his propaganda value. Whatever the case he was a patriot, far better than McGovern, Carter, or Church veterans all, but not patriots.