Organizational anthem of the U.S. Army
|Also known as||"The Army Song"|
|Lyrics||Harold W. Arberg, November 1956|
|Music||John Philip Sousa, 1917|
|Adopted||November 11, 1956|
Performed by the U.S. Army Band
"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 original version of this song, written in 1908 by Edmund Gruber, was titled "The Caissons Go Rolling Along." Those lyrics differ from current official version. Gruber's version was transformed into a march by John Philip Sousa in 1917 and renamed 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. In 1952, Secretary of the Army Frank Pace asked the music industry to submit songs; he received more than 800 entries. "The Army's Always There" by Sam H. Stept won, and an Army band performed it at President Dwight D. Eisenhower's inaugural parade on January 20, 1953.
Many thought that the melody was too similar to "I've Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts". The Army decided to use much of the melody from Sousa's "U.S. Field Artillery March" with new lyrics. Harold W. Arberg, a music advisor to the Adjutant General, submitted lyrics that the Army adopted. Secretary of the Army Wilber Marion Brucker dedicated the music on Veterans Day, November 11, 1956. 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, Space Force, and Coast Guard.
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.