Army Cadences | Sung out loud by soldiers, you can sing them in your head

Army CadenceWe’ve all seen the movies like Full Metal Jacket, Platoon, Saving Private Ryan, Heartbreak Ridge and probably a bit of MASH too, and like you I’ve always found the Army cadences to be entertaining. Never did I think I’d be singing them too. Sure enough, I ended up in the Army and it was inevitable that I’d be singing or calling some Army cadences. The first one I ever learned and called was “Superman” and my favorite one is “Letter in the Mail (Both are below).

I still remember my first experience calling an Army cadence. It was in Germany and we were out in the forest running at 630am and it was pitch dark. Well, the cadence caller runs on the left side of the formation so that’s where I was singing away like a wolf howls. In order to project my voice across the whole formation I’d have to turn my head to the right and sometimes turn around and run backwards. Here’s the funny part! On this particular cold, damp and pitch black morning all 50+ of us are running through a German trail and I thought I’d be Fearless (forgot to be wise) and turn around for a second. I did just that and when I turned back around I got clothe lined by a tree branch. It took me down flat on my back so fast all the leaves shot right up into the air and within seconds the forest was dead quiet. If I was a stuntman it would’ve been cool but unfortunately I was fine tuning my Sergeant skills and this particular morning was a No-Go.

For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure (pain…) of marching or running to Army cadences you can still enjoy the lyrics because they’re very comical. Army cadences in the 90’s and earlier used to be a lot more tongue-in-cheek and raunchy but have since been “cleaned up”. I never really was a big fan of vulgarity but do enjoy humor and making light of some serious situations or circumstances that we knew we’d one day find ourselves in.

Read.Enjoy.Sing.Outloud or Not.

Army Cadences: Cadence Caller says one line first and formation repeats
SupermanArmy Running Cadences

Me and Superman got in a fight
I hit him in the head with some Kryptonite
I hit him so hard I busted his brain
And now I’m dating Lois Lane

Well, me and Batman, we had one, too
I hit him in the head with my left shoe
Right in the temple with my left heel
And now I’m driving the Batmobile

THE BALLAD OF THE POWER POINT RANGER
(sung to the tune of “The Green Beret”)

Requests are made from day to day;
Briefings held and changes made.
Graphic slides, a must they say,
Power Point is the only way.

Computers crash and printers stall,
Overloading protocol.
Network’s down and soldiers cry
Briefing’s late, so heads will fly.

Pin Power Point slides upon my chest,
Full color slides, they look the best
100 slides were made that day
but only 10 made the final display.

Smiles upon the General’s face
Slides were done, looked really great
Was up all night really working late,
Just to hear the General say ….

My soldier son, your slides were great,
Briefing’s done, staff’s up to date,
One problem son, you took too long,
So put in one more change, then go on home.

So tell my Mom I done my best,
Pin Power Point slides upon my chest
100 slides were made that day,
but only 10 made the final display.

My Granny

When my granny was ninety-one,
She did PT just for fun.

When my granny was ninety-two,
She did PT better than you.

When my granny was ninety-five,
She did PT to stay alive.

When my granny was ninety-six,
She did PT just for kicks.

When my granny was ninety-seven,
She up and died and went to heaven.

She met St. Peter at the Pearly Gates,
She said, “Gee, St. Peter, I hope I’m not late.”

St. Peter said with a big ol’ grin,
“Get down Granny and knock out ten.”

Granny replied with a big old smile,
“Hell, no, St. Peter, I got a profile.” (A profile was for soldiers that were injured and physically unable to perform)

C-130

C-130 rollin’ down the strip,
Airborne daddy gonna take a little trip.
Mission top secret, destination unknown,
Don’t really care if I ever come home.
Stand-up, hook-up, shuffle to the door,
Jump right out and count to four.
If my main don’t open wide,
I’ve got a reserve by my side.
If that one should fail me too,
Look out below, I’m comin’ through.
Don’t leave me in the old drop zone,
Box me up and ship me home.
Tell my girl I done my best,
Pin my wings upon my chest.

When You Left  (Cadence caller sings first line and formation replies with “You’re right!”)

Your mama was home when you left.
You’re right!

Your daddy was home when you left.
You’re right!

Your sister was home when you left.
You’re right!

Your brother was home when you left.
You’re right!

Your uncle was home when you left.
You’re right!

Your auntie was home when you left.
You’re right!

Your grandma was home when you left.
You’re right!

Your grandpa was home when you left.
You’re right!

Your girlfriend was home when you left.
You’re right!

Your doggie was home when you left.
You’re right!

Your mama, your daddy, your girlfriend, your doggie,
They all were home when you left.
You’re right!

So you were a fool to have left.
You’re right!

Old Lady

I saw an old lady running down the street
Had a chute on her back, jump boots on her feet
Said, “Hey old lady, where you goin’ to?”
She said, “US Army Airborne School”
Whatcha gonna do when you get there?
Jump from a plane and fall through the air
I said, “Hey old lady, ain’t you been told?
Airborne School’s for the brave and the bold.”
She said, “Hey, now soldier, don’t be a fool,
I’m an instructor at Airborne School!”

Saw an old lady marching down the road
Had a knife in her hand and a 90 lb. load
Said, “Hey old lady, where you goin’ to?”
She said, “US Army Ranger School”
Whatcha gonna do when you get there?
Jump, swim, and kill without a care
I said, “Hey old lady, ain’t you been told?
Ranger School’s for the brave and the bold.”
She said, “Hey, now soldier, don’t be a fool,
I’m an instructor at Ranger School!”

Saw an old lady running down the track
Had fins on her feet and a tank on her back
Said, “Hey old lady, where you goin’ to?”
She said, “US Army Scuba School”
Whatcha gonna do when you get there?
Swim under water and never breathe air
I said, “Hey old lady, ain’t you been told?
Scuba School’s for the brave and the bold.”
She said, “Hey, now diver, don’t be a fool,
I’m an instructor at Scuba School!”

No Sweat

One mile – No Sweat

Two miles – Better yet

Three miles – Gotta run

Four miles – Just for fun

Come on – Let’s go

We can go – Through the snow

We can run – To the sun

We train – In the rain

A-I

R-B

O-R

N-E

Can you be – Like me?

Airborne – Infantry

Letter in the Mail

Got a letter in the mail
Go to war or go to jail
Sat me in that barber’s chair
Spun me around, I had no hair
Used to drive a Cadillac
Now I pack it on my back
Used to drive a limousine
Now I’m wearing Army green
Dress it right and cover down
Forty inches all around
Nine to the front and six to the rear
That’s the way we do it here
Used to date a beauty queen
Now I date my M-16
Ain’t no use in lookin’ down
Ain’t no discharge on the ground
Ain’t no use in going back
Jody’s got your Cadillac
Ain’t no use in calling home
Jody’s got your girl and gone
Ain’t no use in feeling blue
Jody’s got your sister too
Took away my faded jeans
Now I’m wearing Army greens
They took away my gin and rum
Now I’m up before the sun
Mama Mama can’t you see
What this Army’s done for me
Mama Mama can’t you see
This Army life is killing me

Have any of you had experiences with Army Cadences or have any favorites I don’t have included here? I can always add them later.

About John

Passionate. Life Learner. Thinker. Christ Follower. Investor. Conversationalist. Army Veteran. Dog Lover. Corporate Colleague. Bears, Blackhawks, Cubs fan. Follow me on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Todd Mayfield says

    Wow this is crazy. Power point ranger and C-130 are the only ones I haven’t done.

  2. There is a 1949 film called Battleground about the fight for Bastogne. In the end the surviving Airborne unit marches out, and to show the incoming reinforcements they are on the ball, the James Whitmore character barks out a cadence call about “Your baby was there when you left.” “You’re right!.” It goes on about Jody, etc. I won’t try to transcribe, but see the film. It sold a lot of tickets in its day.

    • That does sound interesting. There are a lot of cadences that reference “Jody”. He’s always in the way. haha!

  3. From USMC Parris Island, circa 1955

    Sound off!
    One Two
    Sound off!
    Three Four
    Sound off!
    One Two
    (beat)
    Three Four!

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