“The Army Goes Rolling Along” is the official song of the United States Army and is typically called “The Army Song”. It is adapted from an earlier work titled the “U.S. Field Artillery March”.
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. The song was originally written by Field Artillery First Lieutenant [later Brigadier General] Edmund L. Gruber, while stationed in the Philippines in 1908 as the “Caisson Song.” The original lyrics reflect routine activities in a horse-drawn Field Artillery battery. The song was transformed into a march by John Philip Sousa in 1917 and renamed “The Field Artillery Song.”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, 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. Secretary of the Army Wilber Marion Brucker dedicated the music on Veterans Day, November 11, 1956. The song is played at the conclusion of 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.
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 (TWO! THREE!)
For where e’er we go,
You will always know
That The Army Goes Rolling Along.