Ballad of the Green Berets

The "Ballad of the Green Berets" is a patriotic song in the ballad style about the Green Berets, an elite special operations force in the U.S. Army. The song was was written by Robin Moore and Staff Sgt. Barry Sadler, while the latter was recuperating from a leg wound suffered as a medic in the Vietnam War. Moore wrote a non-fiction book, The Green Berets about the force.

The recording of the song was the number one hit in the United States for five weeks in 1966 and was the number 21 song of 1960-1969. It has sold over nine million singles and albums. It was the top single of the year in which the British Invasion led by the Beatles and the Rolling Stones dominated the charts. The song is also heard in the John Wayne film The Green Berets which was based on Moore's book.

The pro-war song was parodied by Billy Bragg in his, "The Marching Song Of The Covert Battalions." Another parody was used on Saturday Night Live in 1986, "Ollie North, The Mute Marine" as a satire of Oliver North and his then-current refusal to speak up about his participation in the Iran-Contra Affair.

Copyright Digital History 2016