This is my tribe . . . S. L.
Green Beret Staff Sergeant Barry Sadler composed the #1 song in 1966, "The Ballad of the Green Berets." John Wayne used it as a theme song in his 1968 film "The Green Berets."
"Out here, due process is a bullet." . . . John Wayne as Colonel Mike Kirby, "The Green Berets"
"The Ballad" sold 12 million copies, a million in Japan alone and "went into nine versions in Germany," even though it was banned in East Germany where the government labeled the Green Berets "perverts", liking them to the Nazi SS. The first royalty check was for a quarter of a million dollars. That day Sadler, dumped on the living room floor in front of his wife Levona, $50,000 in cash. He had never earned more than $5,000 a year.
"I like creating, but I don't like going on tour - I don't want to be an entertainer. I don't think I like the traveling that much. Seems like for about 15 years, my bedroom was over a juke box. My folks were professional gamblers and we traveled a lot, wherever there was a game. Once, I went to nine schools in one year."
The Army sent Sadler on tour to promote their enlistment programs. He made more than 800 public appearances in a year and a half. Then he was released from service even though Sadler wanted to re-enlist.
"And I'd been wounded anyway. They took a chunk of beef out of my leg. I was on a patrol and stepped on a damn punji stick. Some Viet Cong had spent a few minutes sharpening a piece of bamboo and dumped it in a dung heap and there I was - infected and out of action. Can you imagine $50,000 of trained soldier sent home because of a lousy two-cent bamboo stick and manure? It was a hell of a war." . . . Barry Sadler (1940-1989)
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