Thursday, August 21, 2008

Farewell To An American Hero

You can't get much better than this...

Commentary: Farewell to an American hero
By Joseph L. Galloway McClatchy Newspapers
For the better part of 60 years, two old Army pilots who loved each other argued over many a meal and drink as to which of them was the second best pilot in the world.

The two shared the cockpits of old Beaver prop planes and Huey helicopters; they shared rooms in military hooches all over the world; they shared a love of practical and impractical jokes and they shared an undying love of flying and soldiers and the Army.

They also shared membership in a very small and revered fraternity of fewer than 105 men who are entitled to wear around their necks the light blue ribbon and gold pointed star that is the Medal of Honor, America’s highest decoration for heroism above and beyond the call of duty.

Their story was told in a book my buddy Lt. Gen. Hal Moore and I wrote 15 years ago titled "We Were Soldiers Once . . . and Young" and in the Mel Gibson movie, "We Were Soldiers," released in the spring of 2002. Too Tall and Old Snake were ably portrayed in the movie.

Their argument over which of them is the Best Pilot in the Whole World sadly came to an end this week when our friend and comrade-in-arms Maj. Ed (Too Tall to Fly) Freeman slipped the surly bonds of earth and headed off to Fiddler’s Green, where the souls of departed cavalrymen gather by dispensation of God Himself...


To Read the whole thing please click here.

Our hearts so stout have got no fame
For soon 'tis known from whence we came
Where'er we go they fear the name
Of Garryowen in glory.



UPDATE: For those unfamiliar with the traditions of the 1st Cavalry Division and the 7th Cavalry, Garryowen is the official song of the 7th Cavalry regiment and the 1st Cavalry Division. It is rumored to have been the last song played for the 7th Cavalry prior to Custer's last stand.

GARRYOWEN

Let Bacchus' sons be not dismayed
But join with me, each jovial blade
Come, drink and sing and lend your aid
To help me with the chorus:

cho: Instead of spa, we'll drink brown ale
And pay the reckoning on the nail;
No man for debt shall go to jail
From Garryowen in glory.

We'll beat the bailiffs out of fun,
We'll make the mayor and sheriffs run
We are the boys no man dares dun
If he regards a whole skin.

Our hearts so stout have got no fame
For soon 'tis known from whence we came
Where'er we go they fear the name
Of Garryowen in glory.


Here's the 7th CAV version:


1.
We are the pride of the army,

And a regiment of great renown,

Our name’s on the pages of history,

From sixty six on down.

If you think we stop or falter,

While into the fray we’re goin’

Just watch the step with our heads erect

When our band plays "Garry Owen."

Chorus

In the Fighting Seventh’s the place for me.

It’s the cream of all the cavalry;

No other regiment ever can claim

It’s pride, honor, glory, and undying fame.

2.
We know no fear when stern duty

Calls us far away from home,

Our country’s flag shall sagely o’er us wave,

No matter where we roam.

T’is the gallant Seventh Cavalry,

It matters not where we’re goin’

such you’ll surely say as we march away,

When our band plays "Garry Owen."

3.
Then hurrah for our brave commanders!

Who lead us into the fight.

We’ll do or die in our country’s cause.

And battle for the right.

And when the war is o’er

And to our home we’re goin’

Just watch the step, with our head erect,

When our band plays, "Garry Owen."


I am humbled every time I think of the history of this Division and the Cavalry. It is a honor to wear the uniform and serve in the company of gallant men such as these. Godspeed and rest in peace MAJ Freeman!

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