Circa 1965-1966 Vietnam
by Chad E. Covey
We are, we are, we are, we are, we are the engineers.
We can, we can, we can, we can drink all of forty beers.
So come, so come, so come, so come, so come along with us.
For we don’t give a damn for any old man who don’t give a damn for us!
Fort Belvoir is where we started out, but Riley we called home.
Till Johnson called the General on his Army telephone.
General Seaman said to saddle up, we’ll sail across the sea.
It’s secret where we’re going but the girls drink Saigon tea.
We hit the beach at old Vung Tau and raced upon the sand.
Rifle at the ready we were greeted by the band.
There on that beach, we made our vow that what will be will be.
Then inward went and pitched our tent to see what we could see.
Di An was our base camp where we did put our trust.
But by the time of Christmas, we were choking on dust.
The Colonel said to carry on we’d get a change of luck.
The monsoon came and by July we were up to our ass in muck.
Combat engineers are what we are and castles we do wear.
Roads and bridges, mines and airfields are our usual fare.
But when times get tough and bullets fly and the infantry is in flight.
Then in we come a blazing to set the battle right.
Saigon was our favorite place where we would go to rest.
For drinking up the Ba Muoi Ba we were the very best.
And, if you want the Big Red 1 to raise an awful fuss.
Then for building bridges or blowing them up, you can count on us.
We landed on the beach in Vietnam uncertain we’d come home.
But here we are in Myrtle Beach drinking and singing this silly poem.
Two score and three years have come and gone and quickly slipped away.
But here we have had our fun and live to drink another day.
Sing slow and quiet
Our tour of duty now is done our dead we’ve laid to rest.
They made that final sacrifice; they passed that final test.
Because of them our country’s free, because of them we boast.
So raise your glasses high to them for this our final toast.
LAST REFRAIN WITH GUSTO !!!!!!!
Performed by the “Butter Bars”
A.K.A. the RTS (Really Terrible Singers)
September 15, 2009
North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Chad Covey composed the first two verses of this ballad in September 1966, soon after returning from serving with the First Engineer Battalion during the Vietnam War. It is sung to the tune, We are the engineers! Five lieutenants: Joe Coppolo; Gary Likins; Blair Smoulder; Chuck Humphrey; and Chad first sang it at a battalion reunion in Lake George, NY in 2005. Over the years Chad added five more verses. The song is often sung at annual reunions. The quintet was initially called “The Butterbars”, but they are now called “Howie’s Lieutenants” in honor of Lt Colonel Howard Sargent, battalion commander from 1964 to 1966.