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Who is this Jody gal Anway???

In the United States Military cadences song by marching or running soldiers are often dubbed “Jodys” or “Jody calls”. This name “Jody” refers to a recurring civilian character, the soldier’s nemeses, who stays home to a perceived life of luxury. Jody stays home to drive the soldiers car, date the soldiers girl friend, hangs out with the soldiers friends, and eats mom’s great cooking.

These Jodys have been seen in popular movies such as Stripes, An Officer and a Gentleman, and Full Metal Jacket.

Common themes in Jodie Calls include

  • Home Sickness
  • Gripes about military life
  • Insults of other units, services or the enemy
  • Battles, exploits, or events specific to one’s own unit
  • Humorous references

While obscene, offensive and violent Jody calls were previously the norm now days they are now almost unheard of. Previously “R” rated Jodies have been cleaned up and modified making them acceptable for a wider audience.

There are currently no “official” female versions of Jodies, other females who take the female soldier’s boyfriend, ect…, I expect one will materialize soon.

Other suggested names are Jenny, Jacky, or Jane.

History of Cadences  

The first use of a beat based marching tool seems to of been started during the Revolutionary War. According to Sandee Johnson, soldiers who had difficulty marching were ordered to attach a stack of hay to one foot and a piece of straw to the other.  Therefore when marching the drill instructor would call out “Hay-foot, straw-foot, Hay-foot” and so on. This hay-foot, straw-foot technique persisted until the end of the civil war.

One of the first recorded history of a cadence call was documented in the spring of 1944 by Colonel Bernard Lentz. Colonel Lentz was the fort’s commanding officer at the time and published a well referenced account of the events.

…as a company … was returning from a long tedious march through swamps and rough country, a chant broke the stillness of the night.  Upon investigation, it was found that a Negro soldier by the name of Willie Duckworth, on detached service with the Provisional Training Center, was chanting to build up the spirits of his comrades. 

            It was not long before the infectious rhythm was spreading throughout the ranks.  Foot weary soldiers started to pick up their step in cadence with the growing chorus of hearty male voices.  Instead of a down trodden, fatigued company, here marched 200 soldiers with heads up, a spring to their step, and smiles on their faces.  This transformation occurred with the beginning of the Duckworth Chant.

            Upon returning to Fort Slocum, Pvt. Duckworth, with the aid of Provisional Training Center instructors, composed a series of verses and choruses to be used with the marching cadence.  After that eventful evening the Duckworth Chant was made a part of the drill at Fort Slocum as it proved to be not only a tremendous morale factor while marching, but also coordinated the movements of close order drill with troop precision

It is believed that this very first cadence by Pvt. Duckworth went something like this:

Call: ‘Sound-off’ 
Response: ‘1-2’ 
Call: ‘Sound-off’
Response: ‘3-4’
Call: ‘Count Ca-dence’
Response: ‘1-2-3-4-1-2 [break] 3-4 

This “Duckworth chant” as it first became known, did not just stop at Fort Slocum. Col Lentz saw the great utility in keeping moral and raising soldiers spirits that he ordered these Duckworth chants recorded and sent throughout the military force.  

References & Other Great Jody Calls

Army Historical Society paper on the Jody Call

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