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On the Road to Tokio

by Almanac Singers (1942)
(also known as "The Ballad of Carlson's Raiders"; tune adapted from "The Buffalo Skinners")
[In 1942, the Almanac Singers included: Bess Hawes, Pete Seeger, Millard Lampell, Woody Guthrie, Arthur Stern, and Sis Cunningham]

    Come listen, friends, and I will tell a tale you'll like to hear
    Of Colonel Evan Carlson, a man who knows no fear.
    He's famous for his Raiders, the facts you all should know;
    How he led a band of brave Marines — On the Road to Tokio.

    When Carlson was a young man, he roamed the world around
    And while in far-off China, a secret there he found
    From the Chinese Eighth Route Army, he learned the word Gung-ho
    And now this word is spoken on the Road to Tokio.

    He helped the Eighth Route soldiers and ministered to their needs
    And wondred in amazement at the bravery of their deeds
    Their courage it was unequaled, their watchword was Gung-ho As they fought the mad invaders, the hordes from Tokio.

    The Secret of this Army's strength our hero soon did learn
    He brought his knowledge home and caused the Brass Hats great concern
    He praised the Eighth Route Army and he let the whole world know
    They were China's bravest fighters in the War with Tokio

    Soon the Brass Hats came to see the folly of their ways
    They needed Colonel Carlson in those mad Pearl Harbor days
    For the foe of the Eighth Route Army had become our country's foe
    And they called on him to lead the way, on the Road to Tokio

    A thousand men did Carlson choose and he picked them one by one
    With the raid on Makin Island, their job it had begun
    They killed 400 Japanese — they struck a fearful blow
    And the Raiders lost but thirty men, on the Road to Tokio

    'Twas just before the break of dawn that they put their boats to sea
    And rowed ashore in a roaring tide to meet the enemy
    The landing was successful, indeed they saw no foe
    Then all at once, hell broke loose on the Road to Tokio

    Among the Raiders there was one from a famous family
    It was young Colonel Roosevelt and greatly loved was he
    Where fighting was the heaviest, that's where he chose to go
    Though well he knew the dangers on the Road to Tokio

    Now of the usual social rank, there wasn't any trace
    You couldn't tell an officer unless you knew his face
    They ate the same and they wore the same, for Carlson had it so
    The officers fought beside their men, on the Road to Tokio

    It's this they say of Carlson — how he calmly strolled around
    Smoked his pipe and snapped his galluses with bullets raining down
    And shouted Ahoy, you Raiders! — they answered back Gung-ho!
    It became the Raiders watchword on the Road to Tokio

    'Twas the seventeenth day of August in 1942
    For forty hours the Raiders fought and saw the battle through
    They left no Japanese alive — they captured nary foe
    They left those bastards bones to bleach, on the Road to Tokio

    It's Raiders, ahoyHi, Raider, they go where the going's rough
    Guadalcanal and Tarawa — wherever the fighting's tough
    For each knows what he's fighting for, that's what he had to know
    Or he wouldn't be with Carlson on the Road to Tokio

    And now my song is ended for I've told you all I know
    There isn't any secret to this thing they call Gung-ho
    How to work and fight together — that's what we've got to know
    If we want to go with Carlson on the Road to Tokio.