The Army Goes Rolling Along

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The Army Goes Rolling Along

Organizational anthem of the  U.S. Army
Also known as"The Army Song"
LyricsHarold W. Arberg, November 1956
MusicJohn Philip Sousa, 1917
AdoptedNovember 11, 1956; 64 years ago (1956-11-11)
Audio sample
Performed by the U.S. Army Band

"The Army Goes Rolling Along" is the official song of the United States Army[1] and is typically called "The Army Song". It is adapted from an earlier work titled the "U.S. Field Artillery March".


The original version of this song was titled As the caissons go rolling along. The lyrics are different from those in the present official version.[2]

The United States Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard had adopted official songs, and the Army was eager to find one of its own. They conducted a contest in 1948 to find an official song, but no entry received much popular support.[3] In 1952, Secretary of the Army Frank Pace asked the music industry to submit songs and received more than 800 submissions. "The Army's Always There" by Sam Stept won,[4] and an Army band performed it at President Dwight D. Eisenhower's inaugural parade on January 20, 1953.

However, many thought that the tune was too similar to "I've Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts," so the Army decided to keep much of the melody from the U.S. Field Artillery March but with new lyrics. Harold W. Arberg was a music advisor to the Adjutant General; he submitted lyrics which were accepted.[5] Secretary of the Army Wilber Marion Brucker dedicated the music on Veterans Day, November 11, 1956.[6] The song is played at the conclusion of the most U.S. Army ceremonies, and all soldiers are expected to stand at attention and sing. When more than one service song is played, they are played in the order specified by Department of Defense directive: Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard.[7]


The following lyrics are to "The Army Goes Rolling Along." This is the current official version, dating to 1956. As of May 8, 2013, only the first verse, the chorus, and refrain are sung.[8]


March along, sing our song, with the Army of the free
Count the brave, count the true, who have fought to victory
We're the Army and proud of our name
We're the Army and proudly proclaim


First to fight for the right,
And to build the Nation’s might,
And The Army Goes Rolling Along
Proud of all we have done,
Fighting till the battle’s won,
And the Army Goes Rolling Along.


Then it's Hi! Hi! Hey!
The Army's on its way.
Count off the cadence loud and strong
For where e’er we go,
You will always know
That The Army Goes Rolling Along.


Valley Forge, Custer's ranks,
San Juan Hill and Patton's tanks,
And the Army went rolling along
Minutemen, from the start,
Always fighting from the heart,
And the Army keeps rolling along.


Men in rags, men who froze,
Still that Army met its foes,
And the Army went rolling along.
Faith in God, then we're right,
And we'll fight with all our might,
As the Army keeps rolling along.

In popular culture[edit]

  • The tune was used in 44 movies or television series from 1934 to 2011.[9]
  • Robert A. Heinlein used the 1908 Caisson Song as the basis for "The Road Song of the Transport Cadets," the official song of the fictional United States Academy of Transport in his 1940 short story "The Roads Must Roll". However, characters in the story refer to the origin as both "Song of the Caissons" and the "field artillery song."[10]
  • Hasbro used the tune for its G.I. Joe toyline during the 1960s with the words "G.I. Joe...G.I. Joe...fighting man from head to toe...on the land...on the the air."
    • It was again used by the toy company for their Army Ant toys in the 80s.
  • In 1962, the song was parodied in The Jetsons Season 1, Episode 6, "The Good Little Scouts."[11] It was the marching song of Elroy Jetson's space troop.
  • In 1979, the song was sung by Margaret Houlihan in M*A*S*H Season 7, Episode 16 (titled "The Price") while she was in the shower. It is also partially sung in Season 3 Episode 19 (titled "Aid Station") by Margaret, Hawkeye Pierce, and Max Klinger as they arrive back at their unit, M*A*S*H 4077th. In Season 6 Episode 16, Margaret loses her wedding ring, which is inscribed with "Over hill, over dale, our love will never fail," inspired by the original lyrics to "The Caisson Song." Hawkeye and BJ get a tinker to inscribe an identical ring, but the inscription is humorously misspelled as "Over hill, over dale, our love will ever fail."
  • The fight song of North Carolina State University is a sped-up version of the tune.[12] (See NC State Wolfpack.)
  • The Australian A-League Club Adelaide United FC uses the tune for their club song "United Is Rolling Along."
  • A version of the song is in the Girls und Panzer Original Soundtrack, under the title "America Yahoutai March."
  • The Barney & Friends version used "The Rocket Song," which can be found in Barney in Outer Space, and other Barney episodes and videos.
  • Tom Lehrer references the late 1940s-mid 1950s contest that eventually resulted in the adoption of the song in a spoken-word section on his 1959 album An Evening Wasted With Tom Lehrer. Lehrer discusses the contest to introduce his song "It Makes a Fellow Proud to Be a Soldier", which satirizes the Army of the 1950s from the perspective of a young conscript, by humorously suggesting he had submitted it for consideration as the Army song.
  • This song is sung by Goofy, Chip 'n' Dale, Christian Buenaventura, Michelle Montoya, Toby Ganger, and Brandon Hammond in Mickey's Fun Songs: Campout at Walt Disney World.
  • The Kidsongs Kids sing this song in "A Day At Camp". In that same series, the song "The Circus is Coming to Town" is set to the tune to the song.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Army Regulation 220-90, Army Bands, 14 December 2007, para 2-5f, g
  2. ^ "As the caissons go rolling along". Retrieved September 18, 2018 – via YouTube.
  3. ^ Tom Lehrer claims to have submitted "It Makes a Fellow Proud to Be a Soldier" in this contest.
  4. ^ Time magazine, January 19, 1953
  5. ^ Dorr, Robert, Westchester Chordsmen Archived 2006-08-14 at the Wayback Machine, December 2004, p. 4
  6. ^ Army Training Circular TC 3-21.5,[permanent dead link] Drill and Ceremonies, 20 January 2012, para. 1-2h
  7. ^ Army song
  8. ^ Source: U.S. Army Bands information and recordings
  9. ^ Internet Movie Database, entry for Gruber
  10. ^ Heinlein, Robert A. "The Roads Must Roll." The Science Fiction Hall of Fame: Volume One, 1929-1964. Ed. Robert Silverberg. New York: Tom Doherty Associates, 1998. 53-87.
  11. ^ Big Cartoon Database
  12. ^ North Carolina State University. Archived 2011-12-08 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved on February 7, 2012.

Further reading[edit]

  • Collins, Ace. Songs Sung, Red, White, and Blue: The Stories Behind America's Best-Loved Patriotic Songs. HarperResource, 2003. ISBN 0060513047

External links[edit]