The U.S. Air Force (song): Wikis

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"The U.S. Air Force" is the official song of the United States Air Force. It is known informally as "The Air Force Song," and is often referred to informally as "Into the Wild Blue Yonder", "Off We Go Into the Wild Blue Yonder," or simply "Wild Blue Yonder."

Contents

History

Originally, the song was known as the 'Army Air Corps Song.' Captain Robert MacArthur Crawford wrote the lyrics and music during 1939. During 1947, the words "U.S. Air Force" in the title and lyrics replaced the original "Army Air Corps". On September 27, 1979, General Lew Allen, Jr., Chief of Staff of the Air Force, adopted it as the official song for the service.

In 1937, Assistant Chief of the Air Corps Brig. Gen. Hap Arnold persuaded the Chief of the Air Corps, Maj. Gen. Oscar Westover, that airmen needed a song reflecting their unique identity, and proposed a song competition with a prize to the winner. However, the Air Corps did not control its budget, and could not give a prize. Liberty magazine stepped in, offering a prize of $1,000 to the winner.

Around 757 compositions were entered, and evaluated by a volunteer committee chaired by Mildred Yount, the wife of a senior Air Corps officer, and featuring several distinguished musicians. The committee had until July 1939 to make a final choice. However, word eventually spread that the committee did not find any songs that satisfied them, despite the great number of entries. Arnold, who assumed command of the Air Corps in 1938 after Westover was killed in a plane crash, solicited direct inquiries from contestants, including Irving Berlin, but not even Berlin's creations proved satisfactory. Just before the deadline, Crawford entered his song, which proved to be a unanimous winner.

Not everyone was fond of the song. During a dinner of September 1939, committee chair Yount played a recording of the song for Charles Lindbergh and asked his opinion of the song. He responded politely to Yount, but years later remarked in a diary, "I think it is mediocre at best. Neither the music nor the words appealed to me." Arnold did not share Lindbergh's opinion: he sought to fund publication of band and ensemble arrangements of the song for nationwide distribution. However, the Air Corps did not have enough money to publicize the song, so Crawford arranged a transfer of the song's copyright to New York music publisher Carl Fischer Inc., including a perpetual performance release in favor of the U.S. Air Force.

Lyrics

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The full lyrics of the song are as follows:

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 roar!*
We live in fame or go down in flame. Hey!
Nothing'll stop the U.S. Air Force!

Additional verses:
Minds of men fashioned a crate of thunder,
Sent it high into the blue;
Hands of men blasted the world asunder;
How they lived God only knew! (God only knew then!)
Souls of men dreaming of skies to conquer
Gave us wings, ever to soar!
With scouts before and bombers galore. Hey!
Nothing'll stop the U.S. Air Force!


Bridge: "A Toast to the Host"
Here's a toast to the host
Of those who love the vastness of the sky,
To a friend we send a 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 U.S. Air Force!

Zoom
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. Hey!
Nothing will stop the U.S. Air Force!

* - Some contemporary sheet music often contained a footnote advising the substitution of "terrible roar" for "hell of a roar", for radio performances, in accordance with public airwaves rules of the day. "Hell of a roar" is used much more often nowadays. Other versions have replaced "Army Air Corps" (which was redesignated the Army Air Forces on June 22, 1941) with "U.S. Air Force", after 1947, the year the U.S. Air Force was founded as a separate branch of the Armed Services.

Performance of the song

Most commonly, only the first verse is performed, though in professional performances all four verses may be presented. The song is often sung at Air Force-related functions, and is sung at various times (at the beginning of the duty day or before going into the chow hall for breakfast on weekdays) by basic trainees at Lackland Air Force Base. Although not the Academy's official fight song, the first verse of the song is also frequently played at United States Air Force Academy sporting events and at other Academy functions, such as parades.

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The Third Verse

The third verse ("Here's a toast...") has a different melody, and a more reverent mood than the rest of the song to commemorate those who have fallen in the service of the Air Force and the United States. This verse is sometimes performed independently of the other verses. The third verse is sung by itself as the Air Force Academy's alma mater after most Academy sporting events. Most notably, it is sung after games against rivals Army and Navy, when the teams combine to participate in the singing of both Academies' alma maters. The third verse is also traditionally sung by Academy cadets and graduates to honor the passing of a fellow cadet or graduate.

Alternate Song: U.S. Air Force Blue

An unofficial Air Force song, "Air Force Blue," was composed during 1956 by Marilyn Scott and Keith Textor[1], who specialized in providing music for radio and television commercials It was sung by the Basic Airmens Choir of Parks Air Force Base, California, at SAC's 25th Anniversary on the Dave Garroway Show in 1956, and released as a feature in the "Air Force News" newsreel as sung by Mitch Miller's chorus and orchestra.

They took the blue from the skies and a pretty girl's eyes
and a touch of Old Glory's hue,
And gave it to the men who proudly wear the U.S. Air Force blue.

The U.S. Air Force Blue!

Oh, they are men with a dream on America's team,
They're a rugged and ready crew.
And you can bet your boots the world looks up to U.S. Air Force Blue.

To U.S. Air Force Blue!

They know where they're goin', they've set their course,
the sky's no limit in the Air Force.

They took the blue from the skies and a pretty girl's eyes
and a touch of Old Glory's hue,
And gave it to the men who proudly wear the U.S. Air Force Blue.

And you can wear it too! The U.S... Air Force... Blue!

The video can be found on Youtube.[1]

The Air Force bought the rights to the song and released it into the public domain.[2] The current arrangement, by MSgt Tom Dosett, has the following lyrics:

We take the blue from the skies and some pretty blue eyes
And a touch of Old Glory's hue,
And fervently declare we're proud to wear
The U.S. Air Force Blue.

We have the drive and the dream in America's team
We're a rugged and ready crew
And you can bet your boots the world looks up
To U.S. Air Force Blue.

We know where we're going, we've set our course
The sky's no limit in the Air Force!

And when the blue from the skies meets the gleam in our eyes
And a touch of Old Glory's hue,
We fervently declare we're proud to wear
The U.S. Air Force Blue.[3]

By the 1990s, "U.S. Air Force Blue" had fallen into disfavor with some Air Force personnel, due to the potentially chauvinistic lyrics, and considering the large number of women serving in the USAF. The lyrics were changed at that time to eliminate the issue, or the song was played without the accompanying vocal line.[citation needed]

See also

References

  1. ^ http://www.spaceagepop.com/textor.htm
  2. ^ http://www.usafband.af.mil/education/arrangements/airforceblue/index.asp
  3. ^ http://www.usafband.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-071015-132.pdf

External links


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