U.S. Military History: U.S. Army—Flag, Song, Motto, and Oath

Ross Dunfee

Flag—The Army Seal was used originally during the American Revolution to authenticate documents. It displayed the designation “War Office,” which was synonymous with Headquarters of the Army, and the Roman year MDCCLXXVIII (1778), the first time it was used. It remained unchanged until 1947, when the War Office banner was replaced with “Department of the Army” and the date was changed to 1775, the year in which the Army was established. It was not until 1956 that the Army adopted a flag because a flag was needed for joint service ceremonies. The seal, filled with symbolism to represent Army values, is the emblem on the flag.

Song—Only the verse, first chorus and refrain are listed here. If you want to hear the song in its entirety, ask an Army veteran to sing it.


March along, sing our song, with the Army of the free.

Count the brave, count the true, who have fought to victory.

We’re the Army and proud of our name!

Were the Army and proudly proclaim:

First Chorus:

First to fight for the right,

and to build the Nation’s might,

and the Army goes rolling along.

Proud of all we have done,

fighting till the battle’s done,

and the Army goes rolling along.


Then it’s Hi! Hi! Hey!

The Army’s on its way.

Count off the cadence loud and strong;

for where’er we go,

you will always know

that the Army goes rolling along.

The song was originally written by Field Artillery First Lieutenant Edmund Gruber, while stationed in the Philippines in 1908 as the “Caisson Song.” Do you know what a “caisson” is? The song was transformed into a march by John Philip Sousa in 1917 and renamed “The Field Artillery Song,” then adopted in 1952 as the official song of the Army and retitled, “The Army Goes Rolling Along.”

Motto—While there is no official motto of the Army, the saying “This We’ll Defend” has been a part of Army culture since the Revolutionary war. Those words were first used by the Continental Congress War Office in 1778. Today it is inscribed on the Army emblem to signify the Army’s constant readiness to defend and preserve the United States. Trusted Army professionals are the faces of freedom, life, and liberty and are ready when needed to preserve peace.

Oath of Enlistment—I, [_______], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.

Support Our Troops–Arizona is proud of our U.S. Army patriots and honors them by placing flags along the principal roads of Robson Ranch on various holidays throughout the year. Contact Stephen Reeves, president, at 425-330-1181 or, [email protected] or, www.supportourtroopsaz.org to learn more about how Support Our Troops–Arizona honors and serves our veterans.