The Story Behind The Ballad The Green Berets

January 27, 2022by Harold Dawley0
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Harold Dawley, Ph.D.

I had the pleasure of knowing a retired Command SGT MAJOR named Charles when we lived together in a small Mississippi town. It was a time when I was considering doing a documentary on the negative way some Vietnam veterans were treated coming home from the war. Running into Charles one day I discussed my idea on doing a documentary on the negative way some Vietnam veterans were treated coming home. Charles thought it was a good idea. I also mentioned that I was going to include the song “The Ballad of the Green Berets” in the documentary. Charles then told me he was actually Barry Sadler’s SGT when he wrote the Ballad of the Green Berets in Vietnam and had some information to share about the Ballad.

I went ahead and produced the documentary “The Lost Homecoming – When Our Vietnam veterans came home”. Charles and a large number of other Vietnam veterans from our town and area participated in my documentary. Charles was interviewed and told his story of how the Green Beret Group under his command was having a large picnic. He stated Barry Sadler approached him and requested permission to sing a Ballad on the Green Berets he had written. Charles granted permission for Barry to sing his Ballad and after he finished the entire group enjoyed it so much they went “crazy” according to Charles. Someone in the group sent the ballad to someone with connections in the recording industry and Barry recorded it Shortly after its release the Ballad of the Green Berets became a best seller and remained so for some time. It was eventually the best seller of the decade.

Click on the attached link and see Charles full name as he tells the story of hearing the Ballad of the Green Berets for the first time.

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