The Pegasus Awards


The Ballad of Fleet Sergeant Ho

Lee Billings

Pegasus Nominations

Year Category
1995 Best Military Song

The Ballad of Fleet Sergeant Ho

Lyrics Copyright ©1988/9 by Lee Billings - All Rights Reserved
Lyrics posted by permission of the author
Melody "The Band Played Waltzing Matilda" by Eric Bogle

When I was a young man, I dreamed of the stars and I wanted to join in the Navy.
I'd see Jupiter, Venus and Titan and Mars, and an out-system post would be gravy.
Well, my Pa said, "Okay but let's hope there's no war"; My Ma was real
proud; but my sister, she swore.
She said, "You'd best be careful what you're wishing for,
'Cause you never know when you might get it."

So I went to the Federal Building,
And the man at the desk had no arms;
But my dreams were too strong to let me pause for long
I went in despite his alarms.

Well, I didn't make Navy, my grades were too low, and I thought I'd end up washing dishes.
But they put me in Infantry (why, I don't know), and so much for my star-going wishes.
Then just as I left Basic, the Bugs hit our line, and the next seven years were a terrible time;
I made corporal, then sergeant, then the unit was mine
For promotions come quickly in wartime.

And the M.I. was all of my family,
And the war was all of my life;
As we dropped from the sky and I watched my men die,
I prayed for an end to the strife.

Now, the government says it's not really a war, but that just means they haven't declared us.
We fought "police actions" on planets galore, and the Bugs never let up or spared us.
Then I got caught by a new kind of gun, and the last thing I thought was,
"The bastards they've won.
My story is over, my dreams are all done"...
Until I woke up three days later.

And they're sending me back home to Terra;
Most of my men bought the farm.
The last four or five got me out alive,
But minus both legs and one arm.

Well, the hospital ship wasn't too bad, I guess, if I had to go somewhere for healing.
After that I'd be home, but by then I confess that it wasn't too happy a feeling.
So now I can vote, and I'll draw pension pay, and that's more than most of
my buddies can say,
And, oh yes I got to the stars, by the way,
But was the dream really worth what it cost me?

'Cause there's not much use for a cripple,
And it looks like my sister was right.
But I've no time for tears; I've been M.I. for years,
And I won't give in without a fight.

So when my stumps healed up, I went to the brass and I said, "I'm not ready for pasture.
The Doc says it's high time I got off my ass if you don't believe me, then just ask her.".
And they said there's one valuable thing I could do, and they gave me an
arm and two legs just like new
But when I'm on duty, I'm talking to you,
And I'm not wearing any prosthetics.

For there's just no end to this damn war,
No matter how many get hurt.
If you can't bear to see you might end up like me,
You should go home and grub in the dirt!


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