Napalm Sticks to Kids (Music Video of the Week)

Music Video of the Week, 14 Jun 2021

Covered Wagon Musicians | Vietnam War Song Project – TRANSCEND Media Service

1972 Vietnam War Song. All the songs were written and sung by active-duty GIs at the Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. The group, founded in the spring of 1971, started their own publication called “Helping Hand”.

The most memorable and startling track is “Napalm Sticks to Kids“, a vivid account of US forces indiscriminately dropping bombs on Vietnam, hitting pregnant women, children, and other civilians. The focus of the song is chemical weapon Napalm B – a jellied gasoline mixture, with polystyrene, benzene, and gasoline. Declared a war-crime since 1980, the US government extensively used this weapon during the Vietnam conflict, dropping 388,000 tons on Indochina between 1963 and 1973. (Continue reading below)

The record booklet credited the song to “Air Force and Army GIs attached to the 1st Air Cavalry in Vietnam. Recited by Sgt. John Boychuk….a group of GIs sat down one night in a hootch in Vietnam to write these words. Each person made a verse about an incident in which he had taken part and the poem expresses their collective bitterness toward the military that had turned them into murderers”.

Some have questioned the booklet’s claim regarding the origins of this song – in terms of who wrote it and the nature in which it was composed. Several Vietnam veterans have claimed that this song was commonly heard ‘in-Country’, and used in a “humorous” way. However, this particular record and version of the song were used to present an anti-war perspective about the war in Vietnam, and express opposition to the use of napalm, as seen on the LP cover and in the booklet that came with the record.

The song made a special reference to the company Dow Chemical, which produced napalm and agent orange under a 1965 government contract. Several other suppliers stopped production of these weapons because of protests and bad publicity. But Dow Chemical continued as the sole provider of napalm and agent orange because of its commitment to the government.…

“We shoot the sick, the young, the lame
We do our best to kill and maim
Because the kills all count the same,
Napalm sticks to kids
Flying low across the trees, pilots doing what they please
Dropping frags on refugees…a group of gooks in the grass
But all the fighting ‘s long since past
Crispy youngsters in a mass…
Drop some napalm on the barn, it won’t do too much harm
Just burn of a leg or an arm…children cowering in a pit
Dow Chemical doesn’t give a shit, napalm sticks to kids
They’re all VC when the bombs explode…killing gooks is macho fun
If one’s pregnant, it’s two for one…
What the hell let’s drop the bomb”

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This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 14 Jun 2021.

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