Welcome to the Life and Times of SFC Michael G. Stahl, U.S. Army (Ret.) MORE FUN THAN FEAR

Ballads From The Nam

Strafe the Town and Kill the People

During my first tour in Nam (Aug.  67 - Aug.  68), open reel tape recorders/players were "the" thing. And they were cheap at the PX/BX s. Several tapes started circulating that were collections of songs recorded in various clubs throughout the Southeast Asia theater. These included bases in Vietnam, Thailand and Guam, among others. The tapes were basically the same, but different versions. Somebody would get a copy of the tape and add a song or two. And this "new" tape would move along, morphing as it went. My good friend, Gary "Doc" Heffner and I made copies of the one going around Co. "C" 5th SFG(A) in DaNang. Unfortunately, my copy was lost to time. Ever since I started re-connecting with old comrades, I’ve been asking about a copy of the tape. I finally was able to obtain copies of all the ones I had back then. (Recently, I obtained new, virtually pristine, copies of these ballads.)

However, the audio was very degraded. I used home sound engineering software to remove terrible hiss and further enhance the sound. I then made them into the music videos I’ve posted here.

To understand the black humor of a song like this, you have to understand that there is no real pleasure in such activities. A true warrior hates causing the unnecessary deaths and pain of non-combatants. In Nam, "combatants" could be from 6 to 96 years old and did not wear uniforms. Civilians will never understand how a tragedy like Lt. Calley and My Lai can happen and what it does to the soldiers involved.

I hope you enjoy these voices from the past.

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