Garry Owen

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Garry Owen


(ɡærɪˈəʊɪn) noun

Also known as Garryowen, Gary Owen and Garyowen, is an Irish tune adopted as the march tune of the 7th Cavalry. It also refers to a call out for help.

Garry Owen Rule

In the 7th Cavalry Gaming Regiment, a member may call a Garry Owen in a situation of emergency, whether in game, or on TS3 etc. All members are to respond at once! Members are expected to drop whatever they are doing to assist the member in emergency need. A Gary Owen should only be called in the case of a legitimate emergency. Failure to follow this rule may result in Court-Martial! This rule shall be in force at all times.

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The tune emerged in the late eighteenth century as a favorite drinking song of rich young roisters in Limerick. It obtained immediate popularity in the British Army through the 5th (Royal Irish) Lancers.

A very early reference to the tune appears in The Life of the Duke of Wellington by Jocquim Hayward Stocqueler, published in 1853. He describes the defence of the town of Tarifa in late December 1811, during the Peninsular War. General H. Gough, later Field Marshall Hugh Gough, 1st Viscount Gough, commanding officer of the 87th Regiment (at that time known as the Royal Irish Fusiliers), after repulsing an attack by French Grenadiers "...was not, however, merely satisfied with resistance. When the enemy, scared, ran from the walls, he drew his sword, made the band strike up 'Garry Owen', and followed the fugitives for two or three hundred yards."

Garryowen was also a favourite in the Crimean War. The tune has also been associated with a number of British military units, and is the authorised regimental march of The Irish Regiment of Canada. It was the regimental march of the Liverpool Irish, British Army. It is the regimental march of the London Irish Rifles (now part of The London Regiment (TA)). It was also the regimental march of the 50th (The Queen's Own) Foot (later The Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment) until 1869.

Garryowen became the marching tune for the 69th Infantry Regiment, New York Militia, (the famed "Fighting 69th" ) in the mid-1800s. The "Fighting 69th" adopted Garry Owen before the Civil War and recently brought it back to combat in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

It later became the marching tune for the US 7th Cavalry Regiment during the late 1800s. The tune was a favorite of General George Armstrong Custer and became the official air of the Regiment in 1867. According to legend it was the last tune played before the Battle of the Little Bighorn.

The name of the tune has become a part of the regiment, the words Garry Owen are part of the regimental crest.

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Gary Owen, Gary Owen, Gary Owen
In the valley of Montana all alone
There are better days to be
In the seventh cavalry
When we charge again For dear old Gary Owen.

I can hear those Sioux bucks singing, Sgt. Flynn
I can hear those tom-toms ringing, Sgt. Flynn
I can hear those Sioux bucks singing,
I can here those tom-toms ringing,
But they don't yet know the tune to Gary Owen.

It's first call I hear it sounding, Sgt. Flynn
And it sounds like taps a-rounding, Sgt. Flynn
Oh me lads, here's something fancy
Take a break, it's Private Clancy
And you'll feel better when he strikes up Gary Owen

For it's Boots and Saddles sounding, Sgt. Flynn
Along the line the men are bounding, Sgt. Flynn
So let' saddle-up and fall in
For the trumpets are callin'
And the band is tuning up for Gary Owen.

For it's forward we're advancing, Sgt. Flynn
And the breeze guides are a-lancing, Sgt. Flynn
Walk, trot, gallop, charge by thunder,
We will ride those cut throats under.
Drive your sabers to the hilt for Gary Owen.

We are ambushed and surrounded, Sgt. Flynn
Yet recall has not been sounded, Sgt. Flynn
Gather round me and we'll rally
Make one last stand in the valley
For the Seventh Regiment and Gary Owen.

You are cut, and scalped, and battered, Sgt. Flynn
All your men are dead and scattered, Sgt. Flynn
I will make your bed tomorrow
With my head bowed down in sorrow.
O'er your grave, I'll whistle Taps And Gary Owen.

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