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The History of the Air Force Song


Patrick J. Charles

In the summer of 1939, while flying from his home in Bridgeport, Connecticut to Trenton, New Jersey, Robert M. Crawford started to “hum something” that did not sound like anything already in his repertoire. “Off we go into the wild blue yonder,” Crawford began singing on G, ending on C. By the time he landed, Crawford had completed the initial draft of what is known today as the Air Force Song.1  For years, Crawford made his living flying from one Northwest city to another, singing the songs of other composers at small time venues.2  And to promote his singing career, Crawford had donned himself with flashy titles such as “The Flying Baritone,” the “The Flying Alaskan,” “The Flying Alaskan Baritone,” and “Alaska’s Favorite Son,” all in the hopes of one day garnering enough publicity to make him a famous entertainer.3  Additionally, having studied music at the New England Conservatory, the Juilliard Graduate School, and the Conservatoire Americaine de Fontainebleau, Crawford had dabbled in composing music. Yet, up until 1939, Crawford’s attempts at fame and music composition had proven unsuccessful. In fact, the closest that Crawford came to garnering national attention was a 1936 mention in the nationally syndicated newspaper column “Ripley’s Believe It or Not.”4  However, a combination of grit, luck, and the Army Air Corps’ song competition would ultimately change Crawford’s fate.

The effort to find a suitable song for the Army Air Corps goes back to the end of World War I. From 1918 through 1936, there were several well-intentioned, but half-hearted attempts to find or compose a service song on par with that of Navy’s “Anchors Aweigh,” Army’s “Caissons Go Rolling Along,” and the “Marine Corps Hymn.”5  Then in late 1937, thanks largely to the efforts [of] Major General Oscar Westover and the upcoming Army Air Corps’ 30th Anniversary, the idea of holding a service song contest gained traction. It began with a January 27, 1938 letter from Westover to Bernarr A. MacFadden, a known air enthusiast and publisher of Liberty Magazine. Therein, Westover inquired about MacFadden hosting a “contest” and “prize” for an Army Air Corps song. Although MacFadden expressed immediate interest, nothing initially came of the idea. This resulted in Westover reaching out to the motion picture theater company Loew’s Inc., which then enlisted the services of singer Katie Smith to announce the song contest on her radio program. As a result, come April 21, 1938, the Army Air Corps received more than 100 song entries from around the country. Additionally, then Brigadier General Henry “Hap” Arnold was actively urging that movie executives to send him copies of several flight-centric songs, such as “Men with Wings” and “Wings on High,” for consideration as the Army Air Corps’ official song.6

In the end, none of the songs were deemed Army Air Corps’ suitable, prompting Westover to press MacFadden once more on holding an official contest. MacFadden agreed and offered $1,000 to the winning entry, and $500 any for “incidental and promotion purposes.” MacFadden’s only condition was that the contest not technically be called a “contest.” For if it was indeed a contest—that is legally speaking—and none of the song entries were deemed suitable, MacFadden would be on the hook to award at least one entrant the $1,000 prize. MacFadden’s announcement in the September 10, 1938 edition of Liberty Magazine assured this would not happen: “Composers—both amateur and professional—are invited to submit words and music to the Army Air Corps Song Committee…This is not a contest, and the committee reserves the right to return any or all scores submitted. The offer will stand until a composition worth of its purpose is discovered.”7

Come April 1939, the Army Air Corps Song Committee, headed by Mildred A. Yount, had received roughly 500 entries. But none of them “caught the spirit of the air corps,” and most either “aped old tunes” or were not “fighting” and “stirring” enough.8  The problem, at least as one unnamed Army Air Corps officer saw it, was that the song needed to come from an Army Air Corps service member, but everyone he knew were too busy preparing for the war effort. “Since the war, nobody in the air corps has had to hunt for mental exercise,” the officer stated, adding, “We’ve been too busy every minute.”9  Colonel Edmund Gruber, widely known at the time for composing the Army’s “Caissons Go Rolling Along” in 1908, agreed that the Army Air Corps’ official song needed to come from a service member. “In the blood of a particular branch of the Army there’s a certain feeling: and when some young fellow catches that feeling and puts it down in words and music, the service song comes out,” stated Gruber.10

By May 1939, the Army Air Corps Song Committee’s search for a winning entry was growing bleak. The committee now had more than 700 entries.11  But only a handful were deemed suitable and only four were selected as finalists.12  The four finalists included “Give ‘er the Gun” by Colonel C. B. Lober, “Wings on High” by Meredith Wilson, who went to live in musical mortality with the score “The Music Man,” “Spirit of the Air Corps” by Major William Clinck, which went on to be the theme song for the Paramount Picture movie “I Wanted Wings,” and “Wing of the Nation” by Corporal Carroll Anderson.13  The winner was to be selected not by the Army Air Corps Song Committee, but by playing the pre-recorded songs before various enlisted and officer clubs and having the attendees vote for the winner.14  In addition to selecting a winner, voters would be asked the following questions about their preferred song:

  1.  Has the song “oomph”?
  2.  Does it make you feel like marching?
  3.  Would you like to sing it? 
  4.  Do you like the words?15

On June 28, 1939, two days before the Army Air Corps Song Committee’s competition deadline, Crawford arrived at the committee’s door in Washington, DC, in the hopes of singing his entry, which was then titled “What Do You Think of the Air Corps Now?” Initially, Yount was not keen on the idea. According to the committee’s rules, contestants were supposed to submit song manuscripts, not whimsically drop by and play them. Yet, upon Crawford’s insistence, especially after sitting himself at the piano and singing, Yount listened intently and allowed him to formally submit his song if he could provide a manuscript by the following night. In the meantime, Crawford left a recording of his song for members of the committee to listen to. And Yount, impressed with Crawford’s entry, decided to listen to the recording a few times that same evening.16

Yount knew that Crawford really had something. But in order not to improperly sway others on the song committee, Yount placed Crawford’s song in the middle of the last batch of entries prior to the June 30th deadline. As the committee went through each entry, not one song caught their attention. Then Crawford’s song was played. According to Yount, the committee’s reaction was “electric,” causing them to immediately sit up and stare at each other. Everyone on the committee agreed that Crawford’s song needed to be included as a finalist.17

But before the now five finalist songs were played and voted upon by Army Air Corps service members, the Air Corps Song Committee sought the advice of several musical experts. One such expert was Walter Nash, an organist and professional music reader, who was periodically consulted to approve the “originality of the compositions.”18  Another expert was Hans Kindler, Conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra, who identified Crawford’s song as the best.19  However, Kindler felt that the song was not worth $1,000. Indeed, Kindler acknowledged that Crawford’s song had “something,” but inquired, “Why not give it $400 and leave the competition open”?20  Then there was Rudolph Ganz, who was serving as a guest conductor in the National Symphony Orchestra. Ganz could not get Crawford’s song out of his head and suggested to Yount that she not even “bother having the others recorded.”21  Crawford, according to Ganz, was the surefire winner.

Yount agreed with Ganz, but she still knew to proceed with the committee’s agreed upon contest rules. When it was all said and done, Crawford’s song received roughly 90% of the first place votes.22  On August 19th, recently promoted Major General Arnold “confidentially” informed Crawford he was the contest winner, but that it would not be officially announced until September 2nd.23  As it turns out, Arnold was off by day. For the first formal announcement of Crawford as the winner appeared in the September 1, 1939 edition of the Army Air Corps Newsletter.24  It was a day later that Crawford first publicly performed the song at the Aviation Ball held at the Stratler Hotel in Cleveland, Ohio.25  The day after, on September 3rd, before a Cleveland Air Races attendance of roughly 20,000, Crawford again performed his song.26  Not long thereafter, the publicity effort to promote Army Air Corps’ new, official song was underway.

The plan to promote the song was rather straightforward. Work with the music executives at Carl Fischer, Inc., the company that owned the song’s copyright, in publicly distributing it—both via the radio airwaves and through the sale of sheet music.27  This effort did not prove very successful. Neither was the song committee’s decision to fly Crawford from Army Airfield to Army Airfield, assemble the service member masses and instruct them in singing the song. Crawford was only able to make a handful of stops, including that of Barksdale, Louisiana, Langley, Virginia, Maxwell, Alabama, and Wright-Patterson, Ohio, before being told to stop.28  As it turns out, assembling service members and requiring them to sing a song, all in the name of Army Air Corps’ publicity, was not as popular as some on the song committee thought.

It was not until 1941 that the publicity tides began to change and Crawford’s song started to get its proper due. At that point in time, Crawford had been formally commissioned an Army Air Corps’ captain and was stationed at Maxwell Airfield.29  Therein, Crawford directed the Maxwell’s musical activities. This included Crawford at times instructing the Maxwell based cadets to march in unison while singing the Army Air Corps Song.30

The first publicity break for Army Air Corps Song came in the way of it being included in the Army Song Book. The song was wedged between the Navy’s “Anchors Aweigh” and “Song of the Army Engineer.”31  The second publicity break came in the way of the Army Air Corps formally obtaining copyright permission to record, print, and distribute the song.32  This ended up opening several publicity avenues for the Army Air Corps, including the authority to request that radio stations play the song prior to any “official” Army Air Corps announcements, as well as featuring the song in warfront news reels and even advertisements.33  One Oldsmobile advertisement contained the headline “Nothing’ll Stop the Army Air Corps!” Underneath it were several images of flying aircraft with captions of lyrics from song.

By summer of 1942, the publicity efforts had paid off. The Army Air Corps Song was ranked 8th in the New York edition of Variety’s 15 best sheet music sellers’ list.34  In the Hollywood edition of Variety, the song came in at 4th in their top 10 sheet music sellers’ list.35  And for a period of four months, from August 1942 through January 1943, the Army Air Corps Song was a top 10 radio network song, resulting in more than 515,000 copies of the song’s sheet music being sold by June 1943.36  At that point, only the sheet music of two other songs in the “war tune” category had sold more—the “Star Spangled Banner” (800,000 copies sold) and “White Cliffs of Dover” (650,000 copies sold).37  As for record sales, by June 1943, the Army Air Corps was ranked 5th in the “war tune” category with 750,000 sold. It was surpassed only by the sales of “White Cliffs of Dover” (2,000,000 sold), “Praise the Lord” (1,500,000 sold), “When the Lights Go on Again” (1,250,000 sold), and the “Star Spangled Banner” (1,100,000 sold).38
Yet, by the time the Army Air Corps Song had finally gained national notoriety, the Army Air Corps, at least as it was known for the last 30 years, was no more. On June 20, 1941, Army Regulation 95-5 established the Army Air Forces as a semi-autonomous organization within the Army. And one important aspect of Army Regulation 95-5 was that the Army Air Corps would be placed directly under the new Army Air Forces.39  Six months later, after the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, Congress passed the First War Powers Act giving the Executive Branch the authority to reorganize the War Department. President Franklin D. Roosevelt responded by issuing Executive Order 9082, which ordered that the War Department now be divided into three separate branches, one of which was the Army Air Forces.

With the Army Air Forces now the centralized air component of the United States military, there was a systematic, yet gradual rebranding of all the Army Air Corps public relations material to read Army Air Forces.40  This included making sure that the title of Yount’s book containing a wide selection of popular Army flying songs—some as far back as 1922—reflected the change in name.41  Two years later, on July 17, 1945, Colonel Robert Proctor asked Crawford to change his “obsolete” Army Air Corps Song title and lyrics to read Army Air Forces.42  Crawford naturally obliged Proctor’s request.

However, within three years, following the 1947 establishment of the United States Air Force (USAF) to replace the Army Air Forces, Crawford’s song was once again labeled lyrically obsolete. In fact, some within the USAF, to include USAF Chief of Staff General Carl Spaatz and Air Force Secretary Stuart Symington, were of the opinion that the Air Force Association should lead a new and improved USAF song contest. The idea came following comments from Major General George S. Howard, who at the time was serving as the USAF Band Director. According to Howard, changing Crawford’s song lyrics to “nothing can stop the U.S. Air Force” just did not “sound right.”43  Howard strongly felt that the USAF needed a song that was “as modern as the new Air Force”—a “surging, forward searching composition.”44  General Spaatz’s successor, General Hoyt Vandenburg, at the urging of Colonel R.A. Grussendorf, agreed and was open to holding a new USAF song contest as late as February 1951.45

Ultimately, a new and improved USAF song contest never got off the ground. Inserting the words “U.S. Air Force” in lieu of “Army Air Force” eventually won and, as a result, Crawford’s song lives on.46  The lyrics remained unchanged until 2020, when, at the behest of USAF Chief of Staff General David L. Goldfein, the song was updated to reflect the central role that women have played in the service’s long history.47
The history of the Air Force Song is merely one aspect of a much larger story on the importance of song in the Army Air Corps and later Army Air Forces.48  The Air Force Historical Research Agency (AFHRA) maintains several original Army Air Corps’ and Army Air Forces’ song books within its archives. One of the most interesting is an original copy of the official song of the 400th Bombardment Group (1943-1944)—a song that has been forever memorialized by famed singer Bing Crosby, who happened to be close friend of group’s deputy commander, Major William S. Evans.49  Composed in 1943 by Johnny Burke and Jimmy Van Huesen, the song was titled “Duke the Spook” as an homage to the group’s insignia, which contained of a drawing of ‘Death’ in a tuxedo, top hat, monocle, and cigarette holder.50  According to the five officers that designed the insignia: “The Duke symbolizes…our confidence, self-discipline, and our mission. The ruby on his shirt indicates our wealth of loyalty and contented minds, the top hat the elite of high flyers and the tilt of the hat shows our attitude and self-assurance. The monocle shows our keen insight and the white tie our espirit de corps. The two dice indicate our willingness to pit our skill against the enemies even though the odds may be against us.”51  The unofficial motto of the 400th Bombardment Group was “Death at the Hands of Gentlemen.”
In addition to a copy of “Duke the Spook,” AFHRA’s archives includes original copies of Songs of the Army Flyers (1937), Song Book of the 27th Fighter Escort Wing (1942-1943), Party Ashiya, Officer’s Club Song Book (1942-1943), Officer Candidate School Miami Beach Song Book (1942-1943), Officer Candidate School Songs (1942-1943), Lowry Field Song Book (1943), Songs of the Air Corps at Miami Beach (1942-1944), Poems and Music of the 13th Air Force (1944), and the WASP Song Book (1944). Additionally, AFHRA maintains original copies of the CinQuante Quatre: Flying Corps Songs (1918), Army Song Book (1941), and Air Force Airs (1943).

1  See “Robert Crawford to Direct Center’s Music Activities: Air Corps Song’s Composer Works at Maxwell Field,” Southeast Air Corps Training Center News (Montgomery, AL), December 6, 1941, pp. 1, 6; Shirley Miller, “Flying Baritone, Widely Known N.W. Singer, Writes Air Corps Song,” News Tribune (Tacoma, WA), September 3, 1939, sec. 2, p. 1. One account, written after Robert Crawford’s death, claims the song was composed on Crawford’s return flight to Bridgeport, Connecticut. See William A. Kinney, “The Sounds of Music,” Airman, June 1964, p. 21.
2  See, e.g., “Flying Baritone Sings in ‘Elijah’,” Student Life (Logan, UT), May 28, 1936, p. 3; “Rochester Singers to Support Four Leading Guest Artists,” Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester, NY), February 2, 1936, p. 6E; “Flying Baritone to Sing Tonight,” News Tribune (Tacoma, WA), May 24, 1935, p. 20; “Flying Baritone to Give Church Concert Tonight,” Long Beach Sun (CA), August 13, 1934, p. A3; “Flying Singes to Tour Yukon,” Vancouver Sun (British Columbia, Canada), September 17, 1932, p. 16; “Flying Baritone to Return to Alaska for Concerts,” Evansville Press (IN), May 12, 1932, p. 12; “Proceeds from Concert to Aid Jobless Fund,” Bradford Evening Star (PA), April 6, 1932, p. 3.
3  See, e.g., “R. Crawford First Singer to Swoop Down from the Skies,” Ottawa Citizen (Canada), October 6, 1936, p. 3; “Songfest to Open Sourdough Meet,” News Tribune (Tacoma, WA), August 4, 1934, p. 8.
4  See, e.g., “Believe it or Not by Ripley,” Record-Argus (Greenville, PA), March 28, 1936, p. 7; “Believe it or Not! Ripley,” Tampa Times (FL), March 28, 1936, p. 10; “Believe It or Not! By Ripley,” Lincoln Star Journal (NE), March 23, 1936, p. 10.
5  AAF Historical Office Headquarters (AAF/HOH), History of the Army Air Corps Song (Washington, DC: Army Air Forces 1946), 1-6. See also William M. Pinkerton, “Army Air Corps is Searching a Martial Tune to Spur Fliers on to Deeds of Valor,” Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN), April 16, 1939, sec. 3, p. 10.
6  History of the Army Air Corps Song, pp. 7-8. 
7  “Bernarr MacFadden Invites Composers to Write Song for Nation’s Air Defenders,” Liberty, September 10, 1938, p. 38.
8  William M. Pinkerton, “Army Air Corps is Searching for a Martial Tune to Spur Fliers on to Deeds of Valor,” Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN), April 16, 1939, sec. 3, p. 10.
9  Ibid.
10  Ibid.
11  Mildred A. Yount, History of the Official Army Air Corps Song (Maxwell AFB, AL: 1946), 2-3.
12  “Closing of Air Corps Song Contest,” Army Air Corps Newsletter, June 15, 1939, p. 18 (noting that as of June 14, 1939, “four songs have been selected”). 
13  AAF/HOH, History of the Army Air Corps Song, p.14. This source wrongly identifies Carrell T. Anderson as the composer of “Wings of the Nation,” when in fact it was Corporal Carroll Andrews. See “Soldier Musician,” Honolulu Advertiser (HI), May 6, 1942, p.7; “Wings of the Nation,” Honolulu Advertiser (HI), April 27, 1942, p. 3; 
14  The songs were all recorded by the “same voice” as not to give one song a production leg over the others. See Yount, History of the Official Army Air Corps Song, p. 7.
15  AAF/HOH, History of the Army Air Corps Song, p.14.
16  Yount, History of the Official Army Air Corps Song, pp. 5-6.
17  Ibid., p. 6.
18  Ibid., pp. 7-8.
19  Ibid., p. 8.
20  Ibid.
21  Ibid., p. 9.
22   See “Announcement: Army Air Corps Song,” Army Air Corps Newsletter, September 1, 1939, p. 1. See also “Approve Selection of Air Corps Song,” Daily Press (Newport News, VA), September 8, 1939, p. 10 (stating that Crawford won “almost 90 per cent of the votes”). Several accounts place the vote tally for Crawford’s song at 86%. See, e.g., AAF/HOH, History of the Army Air Corps Song, p.15. The 86% number is pulled from Yount’s history of the song. Yount, History of the Official Army Air Corps Song, p. 7. It is worth noting, however that Yount wrote her account from memory several years after the events had taken place and therefore is not considered the best evidence. 
23  Letter from Major General Henry Arnold to Robert Crawford, August 19, 1939 (on file with AFHRA).
24  “Announcement: Army Air Corps Song,” Army Air Corps Newsletter, September 1, 1939, p. 1.
25  “Army Air Corps Song,” Army Air Corps Newsletter, September 15, 1939, p. 20; 
26  “Approve Selection of Air Corps Song,” Daily Press (Newport News, VA), September 8, 1939, p. 10; Shirley Miller, “Here’s Beat for Shirley; Bob Crawford Cops Prize,” News Tribune (Tacoma, WA), September 3, 1939, sec. 2, p. 1; “Announcement: Army Air Corps Song,” Army Air Corps Newsletter, September 1, 1939, p. 1.
27  Yount, History of the Official Army Air Corps Song, pp. 10-11.
28  See, e.g., “Song Composer Dayton Visitor,” Dayton Herald (OH), October 20, 1939, p. 2; “Maxwell Field Hears Official Air Corps Song,” Montgomery Advertiser (AL), October 7, 1939, p. 7; “Writer of Army Air Corps Song Visits at Base,” Daily Press (Newport News, VA), October 6, 1939, p. 9; “Air Corps Musicians to Present New Theme Song,” Times (Shreveport, LA), October 3, 1939, p. 1. In the case of Maxwell Field, according to the diary of Southeast Army Air Forces Training Center officer, Colonel William W. Welsh, Crawford sang the Army Air Corps Song at “the Officers club, NCO Club, theater, & over both local radio stations.” See Diary of General William W. Welsh, 1939-1942, entry dated October 6, 1939 (on file with AFHRA). On November 9, 1939, Crawford again briefly stopped at Maxwell Field, but not to perform the Army Air Corps Song. See Diary of General William W. Welsh, 1939-1942, entry dated November 9, 1939 (on file with AFHRA).
29  “Official Army Air Corps Song Equal to ‘Anchors Aweigh’,” Montgomery Advertiser (AL), December 7, 1941, p. 5A; “Robert Crawford to Direct Center’s Music Activities: Air Corps Song’s Composer Works at Maxwell Field,” Southeast Air Corps Training Center (Montgomery, AL), December 6, 1941, pp. 1, 6.
30  “Replacement Cadets Now Sing as They March to Mess Hall,” Southeast Air Corps Training Center News (Montgomery, AL), December 4, 1941, p. 6. Crawford was only stationed at Maxwell Field for a short time. See “Mechs of the Air Corps: Composer Stationed in Miami,” Miami Herald (FL), May 24, 1942, p. 6D (noting that Crawford was transferred to the Pan American Ferries, Inc. in Miami, Florida due to a family illness). On March 25, 1942, Crawford took part in a concert held by Maxwell Field’s Air Force Band. Therein, not only did Crawford sing the Army Air Corps Song, but fellow Army Air Corps Song Committee finalist, Major William J. Clinch, performed his song titled “The Spirit of the Air Corps.” See “Maxwell Band to Go On Air Once a Week,” Montgomery Advertiser (AL), March 25, 1942. 
31  Army Song Book (Washington, DC: Secretary of War, 1941), 9-15.
32  Originally, the Army Air Corps was only given the “unrestricted right to publicly perform or cause to be publicly performed” the song. However, the Army Air Corps did not maintain any rights to record, print, or distribute.  
33  L.E. Becker, Memorandum, “Re: Circulation and Use of Army Air Force Song: Summary of Suggestions,” June 18, 1942 (on file with AFHRA).
34  Yount, History of the Official Army Air Corps Song, p. 15.
35  Ibid.
36  Ibid.
37  John Desmond, “Tin Pan Alley Seeks the Song,” New York Times, June 6, 1943, pp. SM14.
38  Ibid.
39  USAF Historical Division, The Development of Air Doctrine in the Army Air Arm, 1917-1941 (Maxwell AFB, AL: Air University 1955), 127.
40  Memorandum from Colonel William Westlake to General Henry Arnold, “Army Air Forces Slogan,” October 26, 1943 (on file with AFHRA).
41  See Air Force Airs (Washington, DC: Army Air Forces Aid Society, 1943); Memorandum from Lieutenant General Henry Arnold, “Army Song Book,” February 18, 1943 (on file with AFHRA); Letter from Lieutenant General Arnold to Mildred A. Yount, January 7, 1943 (on file with AFHRA); Letter from Mildred A. Yount to Lieutenant General Henry Arnold, January 1, 1943 (on file with AFHRA). 
42  Letter from Colonel Robert Proctor to Robert Crawford, July 17, 1945 (on file with AFHRA).
43  Douglas Larsen, “U.S. Air Force is in the Market for a Good New Song,” Sheboygan Press (WI), March 4, 1948, p. 12 (nationally NEA news story).
44  Ibid.
45  Memorandum from Colonel R.A. Grussendorf to Major General Sory Smith, February 8, 1951 (on file with AFHRA); Letter from Major W.C. Robinson to Major General Sory Smith, February 7, 1951 (on file with AFRHA); Memorandum from Colonel R.A. Grussendorf to General Hoyt Vandenberg, “U.S. Air Force Song,” February 7, 1951 (on file with AFHRA).
46  Unfortunately for Robert Crawford, the same cannot be said of his first, post-Army Air Corps composition, which was titled “My Gal, My Plane and I.” See “AAF Composer Writes New Song,” Miami News (FL), December 24, 1946, p. 5A.
47  Charles Pope, “Final Changes to Air Force Song Announced,” SAF Public Affairs Office, May 29, 2020,
48  See, e.g., John Bush Jones, The Songs that Fought the War: Popular Music and the Home Front, 1939-1945 (Waltham, MA: Brandeis University Press 2006); E. Christina Chang, “The Singing Program of World War I: The Crusade for a Singing Army,” Journal of Historical Research in Music Education 23 (October 2001): 19-45; Howard C. Bronson, “Music in the Army,” Music Educators Journal 28 (May-June 1942): 27, 57-59.
49  “Hats Off to Top Hatters: Key Men Organize to Show Results,” The Air Scoop (Pueblo, CO), July 29, 1943, p. 1 (on file with AFHRA).
50  “Morale Improves as Bases Grow,” El Paso Times (TX), January 2, 1944, p. 18.
51  “‘Duke the Spook’ Insignia the Brainchild of Five Officers,” The Air Scoop (Pueblo, CO), July 29, 1943, p. 1 (on file with AFHRA).

Related Images

The History of the Air Force Song (9 pp., PDF)

Robert Crawford's handwritten notes of the song, May 1939.
Robert Crawford's handwritten notes of the song, May 1939.


The Tacoma News Tribune, 21 May 1935. Advertisement for Robert Crawford recital. Text of advertisement:: Robert Crawford, Alaska's Flying Baritone Popular All-English Recital Alice Spencer Weiss, Accompanist Assisted by Tacoma's Own String Trio George Johnson, Ronald Boyles, Carl Svedberg Jason Lee School Friday, May 24---8:15 P.M. Admission 50¢   A Few Reserved Seats at 75¢ Room 203 Wintrhrop Hotel (BR 1193) Benefit Tacoma Y.M.B.C. Boys' Work Fund
The Tacoma News Tribune, 21 May 1935. Advertisement for Robert Crawford recital.



Robert M. Crawford playing the piano
Robert M. Crawford playing the piano


Bernarr A. MacFadden Liberty Magazine announcement, 10 September 1938
Bernarr A. MacFadden Liberty Magazine announcement, 10 September 1938


Oldsmobile Advertisement, December 1942


Let's All songbook cover
"Let's All Sing" (Image from the Song Book of the Officer Candidate School, Miami Beach, Florida)


Donald Duck
Donald Duck (Image from the Song Book of the Officer Candidate School, Miami Beach, Florida)


Popular Songs 1922-1943
Popular Songs 1922-1943 (Image from Air Force Airs) 


"Duke the Spook" songbook cover
"Duke the Spook" song score cover