For Robert Heinlein, Rodger Young stood for that noblest of men--the soldier willing to put himself in harm's way for the sake of his people. Heinlein first mentions Young in 1952, when he recorded his piece for Edward R. Murrow's This I Believe show. Heinlein expands greatly on the theme in 1958 with Starship Troopers, a controversial novel which he freely admits having written in part to "glorif[y] the military[. . .]specifically the P.B.I., the Poor Bloody Infantry, the mudfoot who places his frail body between his loved home and war's desolation--but is rarely appreciated."* In the story, Johnny Rico serves aboard the troop ship Rodger Young, and we have occasion to hear the boarding tocsin for that ship, a verse from Frank Loesser's "The Ballad of Rodger Young."
To the everlasting glory of the infantry
ither through error
or for reasons perhaps only he knew, Heinlein conflated the lyrics of
two verses to get the couplet cited above; both lines are present in the
original song, but not in the same stanza. Below is a zipped sample from
the World War Two-era ballad, sung by Nelson Eddy. Warmest thanks go to
Frank Buzzell, of Spring Lake, Michigan, from whose collection of rare
recordings this comes, and to the resourceful Clif
Martin of Muskegon, Michigan, who recorded and shipped the song to
(wav format, 341K) New!
ryfla.htm (Flash format, 479k)
(wav format, 341K)
New! ryfla.htm (Flash format, 479k)
No, they've got no time for glory in the Infantry.