"SONGS & SLOGANS "
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Bill Calhoun

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our music was heard over loud speakers on trees at the movie areas. The music would begin a couple of hours before dark when the movie started. At Christmas, "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas" sung by Bing Crosby was played over and over. We did not have the Christmas spirit, and even now that song brings back a sense of resentment.

We had no radios. Britten tells of Jones having a radio. Some speak of music aboard ships. I don't remember hearing music over the speakers.

On Leyte there was a Navy communications party about 10 miles south of us, and some went down to it to hear the radio broadcasting from the States. Before this became known,  a couple of our officers (3rd Bn) made some shrewd bets on football games. Their success ended when it was discovered they were going to the Navy commo section during the early hours of the morning and hearing the game broadcasted. We did not get the broadcast through the armed forces' radios until the afternoon during the hours the game was played.

We had one gramophone for a short time on Noemfoor. Two of our men were shipped out, and were not heard of by "F" Company again. They left behind a portable spring operated record player. This disappeared when we made the move to Leyte (as so much did - our regimental supply did an excellent job of appropriations.)

Songs and slogans peculiar to paratroopers varied with time. When I went to Jump school (graduated 20 June 1942) we called "Gory, Gory" "He Ain't Gonna Jump No More" and "Blood on the Risers." I don't remember ever hearing "Gory, Gory" until later years--perhaps 80's even though the songs are all sung to the tune of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." Moreover, I never heard the first verse until about the time I heard the new title (at least to me).

But then just before I left "B" Company of the 502nd PIR to go to OCS, we learned that we were in a 101st Airborn Division. Furthermore, the 504th PIR which was  being formed and in the Alabama Area, Ft Benning with us was in a 82nd Airborne Division.

During the spring of 1943 there was much resentment of the "Look Herman, no motor," and the little ditty which went in part, "Oops see doodle, I'm off my toodle, my  ruptures gone, my ruptures gone." All was said and sung in your best Brooklynese.

Many of the buses to Columbus were trucks pulling long trailers. When some paratrooper, well in his cups, suddenly stood-up and with arms extended out to the side moving as though gliding, called out "Look Herman, no motor." followed by the song, fights often started.

One other peculiarity of my school times was the use of the cry as one exited from the door. Actually, the majority were silent, but the cry S-a-n-t-o-n-e was still heard. According to some of the instructors Ge-ron-e-mo muchly exited with the 501st. As the other battalions were being formed, for a time many of the wash-outs were sent to the 2nd Inf Div at Ft Sam Houston, so the cry was in defiance--I'm not going. I seldom hear that today. Col. Edson Raff last remarks in his speech to his battalion as they prepared to emplane for the trip and jump to and on Africa (page 28)were: "Are there any questions?  Good luck, and let's give three San Antones for the 2nd Battalion, 503rd Parachute Infantry.

"San Antone,

San Antone.

San Antone!"

The cheers had been invented by someone in the battalion during the first days of its existence, and used on special occasion ever after.

Not being of the "Poela Laut" I really never heard too much of the regimental song while I served. However, we were seldom in a group to sing it, and I never heard the battalion, or company, sing it.

One exception I remember well occurred at Hollandia the night the regimental special service officers, Billy Rose, put on a show for the regiment at our movie area. Morale was low. The unit had gotten high over the Cape Gloucester mission --it was suddenly cancelled. Rumors fresh from the latrine came fast and furious. Finally we moved by air to stage for a jump (it must be Biak). We had chutes and gear packed. After a few days orders came to turn the chutes in. We moved across the lake, surely for action toward Wewack. Then we moved back to Elbey's Plantation. Morale continued to drop with disappointment.

The SO was ordered to give a show using 503d talent. To end the show, Rose, who had a great voice, asked us all to stand and join him in singing the regimental song. He began, the men hooted and jeered, and walked away leaving Billy to sing alone.

The other time I saw it fail was at the 50th Anniversary parade down Pennsylvania Avenue. The Marine Band was followed by the small group of 501st and we followed them. Jones was on the front row, and I was a row or two behind him. He said let's sing our song. It was hopeless. The band and crowd noise drowned out the few rows that heard Jones.

 

 

BOOZE AND BOOTY | THE TRUCK | THE CORREGIDOR BRASS TURKEY SHOOT | FT MILLS PLAQUE | BOB HOPE AT NOEMFOOR | NO SUICIDE CLIFF | 'DOC' BRADFORD | MYSTERIOUS WAYS | MY FIRST COMBAT PATROL | THE DEATH OF BENNY SLOWE | MIRACLE AT NOEMFOOR | THE DEATH OF KARSTEN HALL | SONGS & SLOGANS |WATER, WATER NOWHERE | NO SMOKING! | BRONZE STAR AT BANZAI POINT | ON THE BEACH AT CORREGIDOR | REUNION GOSSIP 1949  |  CORREGIDOR WHISKEY

 

 

 

         

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Last Updated: 29-03-11