|"Air Force Theme Song"|
|Composed by Robert MacArthur Crawford - 1939.|
The U.S. Air Force Song
The US Air Force is the official song of the United States Air Force. Written in 1939, it is known informally as "The Air Force Song," and is often referred to informally as "Into the Wild Blue Yonder", "Off We Go Into the Wild Blue Yonder," or simply "Wild Blue Yonder." Originally, the song was titled as The Army Air Corps. The lyrics and music was written by Robert MacArthur Crawford during 1939. In 1947, the words "U.S. Air Force" in the title and lyrics replaced the original "Army Air Corps". On 27 September, 1979, General Lew Allen, Jr., Chief of Staff of the Air Force, adopted it as the official song for the service.
In 1937, Assistant Chief of the Air Corps Brigadier General Henry H. Arnold persuaded the Chief of the Air Corps, Major General Oscar Westover, that the Air Corps needed an official song reflecting their unique identity in the same manner as the other military services, and proposed a song competition with a prize to the winner. However, the Air Corps did not control its budget, and could not give a prize. In April 1938, Bernarr A. Macfadden, publisher of Liberty magazine stepped in, offering a prize of $1,000 to the winning composer, stipulating that the song must be of simple "harmonic structure", "within the limits of [an] untrained voice", and its beat in "march tempo of military pattern".
Over 700 compositions were received and evaluated by a volunteer committee of senior Air Corps wives with musical backgrounds chaired by Mildred Yount, the wife of Brigadier General Barton K. Yount. The committee had until July 1939 to make a final choice. However, word eventually spread that the committee did not find any songs that satisfied them, despite the great number of entries.
Arnold, who later became Chief of the Air Corps in 1938 after Westover solicited direct inquiries from professional composers and commercial publishers, including Meredith Willson and Irving Berlin, but not even Berlin's creation proved satisfactory, although it was used as the title music to Winged Victory by Moss Hart. Two days before the deadline, Crawford, a music instructor, aviation enthusiast, and professional musician billed as "the Flying Baritone," personally delivered a sound recording of his entry, which proved to be a unanimous winner. Mrs. Yount recalled that Rudolph Ganz, guest conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra and a consultant to the committee, was immediately and enthusiastically in favor of the song submittrd by Crawford.
The contest rules required the winner to submit his entry in written form, and Crawford immediately complied. However his original title, What Do You think of the Air Corps Now?, was soon officially changed to The Army Air Corps. Crawford himself publicly sang the song for the first time, over national radio from the 1939 National Air Races.
Not everyone was fond of the song. During a dinner of September 1939, Mrs. Yount played a recording of the song for Charles Lindbergh and asked his opinion. He responded politely to Yount, but years later remarked in a diary, "I think it is mediocre at best. Neither the music nor the words appealed to me." Arnold did not share Lindbergh's opinion: he sought to fund publication of band and ensemble arrangements of the song for nationwide distribution.
However, the Air Corps did not have enough money to publicize the song, so Crawford arranged a transfer of the song's copyright to New York music publisher Carl Fischer Inc., including a perpetual performance release in favor of the US Air Force. After World War II Crawford opened a restaurant near Opa Locka, Florida, named the "Blue Yonder". It featured "all you can eat" main courses.
The full lyrics of the song are as follows:
Climbing high into the sun;
Here they come zooming to meet our thunder,
At 'em boys, Give 'er the gun! (Give 'er the gun!)
Down we dive, spouting our flame from under,
Off with one helluva roar!
We live in fame or go down in flame. Hey!
Nothing'll stop the U.S. Air Force!
Minds of men fashioned a crate of thunder,
Bridge: "A Toast to the Host"
Off we go into the wild sky yonder,
The third verse is also traditionally sung by Academy cadets and graduates to honor the passing of a fellow cadet or graduate.
SYMBOLISM OF THE GREAT SEAL OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE
The symbolism incorporated in the Great seal of the Department of the Air Force represents the following:
The entire design used on the shield of the Air Force Seal is taken from an heraldic representation of the mythological thunderbolt, also termed Jupiter's thunderbolt,. Jupiter was the Roman mythological God of the Heavens. At the honor point of the shield is a lightning bolt or elongated projectile-like mass, conceived of as the missile cast to earth in the lightning flash. The word thunderbolt -- a single discharge of lightning with the accompanying thunder -- derived from the idea that lightning was a bolt thrown to earth by a god.The pair of wings and smaller lightning flashes surrounding the bolt complete the design.
The eagle's head is turned to the right and symbolizes facing the enemy -- looking toward the future and not dwelling on past deeds.
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Revised 03 Apr '12 SpellChecked