More Heinlein Than You Can Shake a Stick At

26 06 2011

So I’d written last week about a wonderful little book called Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein. Soon after the post was published I started humming a little tune in my head which frequently happens when I discusss the book in conversation – “The Ballad of Roger Young”. It has a certain significance in the book but I won’t spoil what exactly that is for you. Instead I submit to you the song itself in the hopes that it may spark some interest. Private Rodger Young, a native of Tiffin, Ohio, was a member of the 148th Infantry Regiment, 37th Infantry Division. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for the supreme sacrifice which he made on July 31st, 1943, during the battle for the Solomon Islands. This arrangement of Frank Loesser’s simple and direct song of commemoration was created for the Cadet Glee Club by CWO Boots.

Oh, they’ve got no time for glory in the Infantry.
Oh, they’ve got no use for praises loudly sung.
But in every soldier’s heart in all the Infantry
Shines the name, shines the name of Rodger Young.

(Shines the name, Rodger Young!
Fought and died for the men he marched among.
To the everlasting glory of the Infantry.
Lives the story of Private Rodger Young.)

Caught in ambush lay a company of riflemen
Just grenades against machine guns in the gloom.
Caught in ambush till this one of twenty riflemen
Volunteered, volunteered to meet his doom.

Volunteered, Rodger Young!
Fought and died for the men he marched among.
In the everlasting annals of the Infantry
Glows the last deed of Private Rodger Young.

(It was he who drew the fire of the enemy
That a company of men might live to fight.
And before the deadly fire of the enemy
Stood the man, stood the man we hail tonight.)

On the island of New Georgia in the Solomons
Stands a simple wooden cross alone to tell.
That beneath the silent coral of the Solomons
Sleeps a man, sleeps a man remembered well.

Sleeps a man, Rodger Young!
Fought and died for the men he marched among.
In the everlasting spirit of the Infantry
Breathes the spirit of Private Rodger Young.

No, they’ve got no time for glory in the Infantry.
No, they’ve got no use for praises loudly sung.
But in every soldier’s heart in all the Infantry
Shines the name, shines the name of Rodger Young.

Shines the name, Rodger Young!
Fought and died for the men he marched among.
To the everlasting glory of the Infantry
Lives the story of Private Rodger Young.

(Lyrics and reference taken from The Voices of Westpoint album)

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