Barry Sadler and the story behind The Ballad of the Green Berets

Author: Eric Sof

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The song named Ballad of the Green Berets has become a symbol of the elite unit of the U.S. Army. The author of the song is Barry Sadler. He was an enlisted man and a Green Beret. During the Vietnam war, Sadler was a special forces medic where he stepped on a pongee stick and was seriously injured.

He entered “Hall of fame” as the author of The Ballad of the Green Berets, which was on the bestseller list or whatever for several weeks. He was both author and a singer.


Barry Sadler, in full Barry Allen Sadler, (born November 1, 1940, Carlsbad, New Mexico, U.S.—died November 5, 1989, Murfreesboro, Tennessee), American soldier, singer, songwriter, and pulp-fiction author who is principally remembered for his best-selling song “The Ballad of the Green Berets.”

barry sadler
Barry Sadler | Biography & Ballad of the Green Berets (Photo: Britannica)

He also wrote a series of novels called Casca, the Eternal Mercenary, which was quite popular. He was a friend of the Soldier of Fortune. Soldier of Fortune Magazine publisher Robert K. Brown, a Green Beret in Vietnam, hooked up with Barry. The latter became a frequent guest at the notorious Soldier of Fortune conventions in Las Vegas. He performed singing to the conventioneers and, of course, the Ballad of the Green Berets. He was a long-time favorite.

Death of Barry Sadler

Barry Sadler spent a great deal of time in Central America, where he was shot in the head in 1988 under mysterious circumstances in Guatemala City. Witnesses and the police said he accidentally shot himself. Others claimed he was the victim of a robbery or assassination attempt. Soldier of Fortune magazine paid for a medical flight to bring him to the United States, but he died from the injury a year later at the age of 49. Enjoy as this never gets old. Sadler is not among us anymore, but his song is eternal.

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