A guitar played by the Army Special Forces medic who wrote the iconic song “The Ballad of the Green Beret” is on display at the U.S. Army Airborne & Special Operations Museum in downtown Fayetteville.
Barry Allen Sadler was an American soldier, singer, songwriter and author. He learned to play and compose music on the 1949 Gretsch acoustic guitar during his teenage years, according to a museum news release. Over time, he began to work out the chord progression of his hit song. Sadler served as a medic with 7th Special Forces Group in Vietnam from December 1964 to May 1965. During his tour, Sadler was asked to perform at an event that was recorded and broadcast in the U.S.
The performance of the early version of the song immediately garnered the attention of the American public.
In December 1965, Sadler met Robin Moore, who helped complete the lyrics and give the song its iconic name, the release said. Their album hit U.S. record stores in January 1966. Moore was the author of “The Green Berets.” The book, originally published in 1965, inspired the 1968 John Wayne movie. Sadler played “The Ballad of the Green Beret” on the guitar that is on display during the 1985 Static Line Awards Banquet.
The guitar was auctioned off at the end of the banquet, the news release said. The guitar will be on display in the museum’s lobby through June 6. To hear Barry Sadler sing "The Ballad of the Green Beret" visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8kj9qv6rmG8