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As a high school student I and two buddies, an inseparable threesome, were fans of the folk singer Oscar Brand, who collected funny songs, election songs and the kind of rough and rollicking songs sung by sailors, soldiers, and pilots of military aircraft. What I didn't know then was that Oscar had a whole album of Air Force songs, and one of those songs is about to become my nominee for the best war song of the Korean War (1950-1953). Another Cold War proxy campaign like Vietnam, one can make the argument that the Korean War never actually ended. To this day the US still has troops in South Korea, and North Korea now has long-range missiles and has conducted underground nuclear testing.
Back in the '50's, however, the pilots flying the World War II-era P-51D Mustangs were already sensitized to the fact that a proxy war was a kind of chess game using military personnel as pawns. To an old tune about a train named after a town in Indiana, an unknown airman wrote lyrics about a Mustang pilot trying to land with an overheated engine, a Rolls-Royce Merlin from the last big war. Desperately hoping to land before the engine blows up, he is told by the tower (Itazuke Tower, at the Air Force base in Fukuoka, Japan):
I cannot call the crash crew out, this is their coffee hour…
So take it on around again; you ain't no VIP.
The rest is, as they say, history. In the song the Mustang crashes , the pilot dies, and the Itazuke Tower, a proxy for a proxy, that is, a proxy for all bureaucrats running wars everywhere, goes "straight to hell" when Judgment Day finally comes around. And Judgment Day? When is that coming? Oscar Brand recorded a song about that too. The title: Pie in the Sky.Permanent Link to This Entry | | | Technorati Tag: KoreanWar blog comments powered by Disqus Comments (View)
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