Ukraine releases own version of Ballad of the Green Berets

2015/04/27 • Culture, Ukraine

Article by: Adrian Bryttan

In 1966, the song “Ballad of the Green Berets” was the No. 1 hit for many weeks on American music charts. In the midst of the Vietnam War, it was one of the very few songs that proudly portrayed the military in a positive light. It sold over nine million single discs and albums, and was even the top single of a year in which the Beatles and Rolling Stones dominated the music industry. It was originally written to honor the first native Hawaiian serviceman who died in Vietnam, executed by the Viet Cong. The song was written by Robin Moore, author of the novel and movie “The Green Berets” with John Wayne, and singer-songwriter Barry Sadler, Staff Sergeant, Green Berets. “The Ballad of the Green Berets” has been translated into many languages and has been adapted for the combat forces of Netherlands, Rhodesia, Sweden, Croatia, Italy, Switzerland, and now – Ukraine.

The author of the lyrics Oleksa Nehrebeckyj presented the song at his Facebook page: “I wrote some lyrics to a song. Just in time for the Army Day [6 December 2014]. Never mind the video – it’s just a rough draft. The music is American.”

The song was created by four people’s effort: lyrics by Oleksa Nehrebeckyj, music adapted by Vitalii Telezin, the singer – Yulia Donchenko and the production director – Andrii Partyka. The video for the song was created by Olena Bilozerska, Information Agency “Poriad z Vamy” [“By Your Side”]

Ballad of the Green Beret
by Staff Sergeant Barry Sadler and Robin Moore
copyright 1966

Fighting soldiers from the sky
Fearless men who jump and die
Men who mean just what they say
The brave men of the Green Beret

Silver wings upon their chest
These are men, America’s best
One hundred men will test today
But only three win the Green Beret

Trained to live off nature’s land
Trained in combat, hand-to-hand
Men who fight by night and day
Courage peak from the Green Berets

Silver wings upon their chest
These are men, America’s best
One hundred men will test today
But only three win the Green Beret

Back at home a young wife waits
Her Green Beret has met his fate
He has died for those oppressed
Leaving her his last request

Put silver wings on my son’s chest
Make him one of America’s best
He’ll be a man they’ll test one day
Have him win the Green Beret.

100 warriors: Ukrainian version of Ballad of the Green Beret
by  Oleksa Nehrebeckyj, translated by Adrian Bryttan

Like a blood stream flowing fine
On the steppes a thin red line:
Battles to the left and right,
Lurking death – a dreadful sight.

We advance, one hundred strong,
We march on, however long.
Hour by hour, day by day,
Our one command – to fight and stay.

Day by day, to who knows where
We follow orders – our squad is there,
Through the blazing bullets hail
On our charred and rocky trail.

We advance, one hundred strong,
We march on, however long.
Hour by hour, day by day,
Our one command – to fight and stay.

As we face the vast unknown,
We approach uncharted zones,
While we meet our distant fate,
In our homes our sweethearts wait.

Here today and gone tomorrow –
Morning brings us joy and sorrow.
No one knows what fate has planned,
We’ll give our life for our dear land.

Any moment can be your last,
The time for fear is now long past,
Ready, aim – repulse the foe!
Don’t drag your feet – let valor show.

We advance, one hundred strong,
We march on, however long.
Hour by hour, day by day,
Our one command – to fight and stay.

Dearest heart, don’t you cry!
He’ll return – he will not die!
Our Donbas they’ll never take
Our resolve they’ll never shake!

We advance, one hundred strong,
We march on, however long.
Hour by hour, day by day,
Our one command – to fight and stay.

 

 

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  • Dr. Stanley Wesolowsky Ph.D.

    The English translation of “Ballad of the Green Beret”
    by Adrain Bryttan is a real gem. Superb.

  • Borys Potytorsky

    A GRAMMY AWARD WINNER FOR SURE

  • rgb

    Beautiful!

  • Roger Mikael Klang

    Good decision! I love Ukraine’s fighting spirit, and good that you beat Putin to it.

  • Thomas Ferree

    GLORY TO THE HEROES! Slava Ukrainia!

  • Lilianna Juhasz

    I remember when I first heard this sung in Ukrainian. Goosebumps, obviously, and I recalled immediately the original by Barry Sadler. I applaud Adrian Bryttan for his translation. I only have one, someone personal, observation. The actual English translation of that one most touching line that starts with ‘100 warriors…’ in Ukrainian ends with ‘and I am with them’. I understand very well the need for creative liberty to adapt words to music and then to effectively translate the content. But, sung by a woman, this reminds us all that this war is being fought by all Ukrainians, and even though women are somewhat protected from combat roles, they too are prepared to protect their homeland by whatever means necessary. Many of the combat medics are women. Nadilya Savchenko has become a symbol of this fact in so many ways. I have heard some criticism that this song was sung by a woman, and should have been performed by a man. But it made this war just a bit more personal because it did not exclude the fact that patriotism is not defined by gender.

  • munroindustries

    Watching Ukraine replacing its wonderful culture with American slop is heartbreaking like watching them kill their Eastern citizens for the love of Monsanto and Exxon. My grandparents in Canada were ashamed to be Ukrainian. Now Ukrainians appear to be as well. It will be a real tragedy if a hostile Russia ends up being more Ukrainian than Ukraine.