The Army Air Corps March

Written by Robert M. Crawford for a competition sponsored by the Army Air Corps and Liberty Magazine's Bernarr MacFadden, who offered a cash prize of $1,000 in the Sept 10, 1938 issue. Gen. Hap Arnold did not believe the Army's Caisson song lyrics, "the army goes rolling along," were suitable for his Air Corps. Crawford was a pilot and composed the song in his head as he flew from Newark, NJ, to Bridgeport, CT, in June 1939. Arnold approved the song on Aug. 18, 1939, and it was officially introduced at the Cleveland Air Races on Sept. 2, 1939. The military services had their own songs: The Marines' Hymn of 1848, the Navy's "Anchors Aweigh" of 1906, the Army had used "The Caisson Song" since 1918, the Coast Guard adopted "Semper Paratus" in 1922. "The Army Air Corps March" was recorded in 1942 by Alvino Rey and His Orchestra, vocals by Bill Schallen and The King Sisters (Bluebird B-11476-A) and used the original June 1939 lyrics of Robert Crawford, except substituting "terrible" for "helluva" so it could be played on the radio. After 1947, other words were changed to match the new name of U. S. Air Force.

1942 poster

Off we go into the wild blue yonder,
Climbing high into the sun;
Here they come zooming to meet our thunder,
At 'em boys, give 'er the gun
Down we dive spouting our flame from under
Off with one helluva (terrible) roar!
We live in fame or go down in flame, Boy!
Nothing'll stop the Army Air Corps!

Here's a toast to the host of those who
Love the vastness of the sky,
To a friend we send this message
of his brother men who fly.
We drink to those who gave their all of old
Then down we roar to score the rainbow's pot of gold.
A toast to the host of men we boast
The Army Air Corps!

Off we go into the wild sky yonder,
Keep the wings level and true;
If you'd live to be a grey-haired wonder
Keep the nose out of the blue!
Flying men, guarding the nation's border,
We'll be there, followed by more!
In echelon we carry on. Boy!
Nothing'll stop the Army Air Corps!

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revised 3/20/07 by Steven Schoenherr | Songs