Civil Service Mariners

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Service song of the U.S. Merchant Marine and its history
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By Courtesy of American Merchant Marine at War, www.usmm.org

Early publicity photo of Jack Lawrence from the 1950's.  Photo courtesy of Mr. Lawrence.
Early publicity photo of Jack Lawrence from the 1950's. Photo courtesy of Mr. Lawrence.

The official U.S. Merchant Marine service song was written at the U.S. Maritime Service Training Center, Sheepshead Bay, N.Y., in 1943. The song, “Heave Ho,” was written by Lt. j.g. Jack Lawrence, one of the musicians in the base band. Lawrence went on to become one of the great 20th Century songwriters and is known for songs such as “Beyond the Sea” (popularized by Bobby Darin), "Tenderly" and "All Or Nothing At All." Popular entertainers such as Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, and Tony Bennett have all sung his songs.

Lawrence wrote the U.S. Merchant Marine service song to help tell the story of life at sea during World War II: the merchant marine defying the elements and the actions of the enemy. The song remains part of our country's proud heritage and honors our merchant marine fleet that today still serves proudly.

Heave Ho! My Lads! Heave Ho!

VERSE
Give us the oil, give us the gas
Give us the shells, give us the guns.
We'll be the ones to see them thru.
Give us the tanks, give us the planes.
Give us the parts, give us a ship.
Give us a hip hoo-ray!
And we'll be on our way.

CHORUS
Heave Ho! My Lads, Heave Ho!
It's a long, long way to go.
It's a long, long pull with our hatches full,
Braving the wind, braving the sea,
Fighting the treacherous foe;
Heave Ho! My lads, Heave Ho!
Let the sea roll high or low,
We can cross any ocean, sail any river.
Give us the goods and we'll deliver,
Damn the submarine!
We're the men of the Merchant Marine!