We called them rowdy songs, because they were not suitable for singing at family reunions. Rough and ready we were — fearless, courageous, and bold; but, we did not have the nerve to sing some of our anthems where our grandmothers could hear. I think perhaps we did not give them enough credit. They surely had seen much more of life than we, and known its heartache and beauty. I suspect now from the vantage of years that they were much harder to offend than we surmised.
If you are among “them what’s been shot at” you’ll know how readily oaths and profanity spring to the lips in the heat of battle. When the balladeer sets pen to paper, if he is honest, if he tells it like it really happened, the “warrior’s vernacular” must be there. Otherwise, a lot is lost in the telling. The yarn won’t be worth much of a damn.
There’s more to the warrior’s vernacular than just profanity. There’s the salacious phraseology with sexual innuendo; there’s the toilet humor. When we were young, we thought they were most to be admired who could come up with the dirtiest lyrics, and shout them the loudest. It could hardly be called singing. After we grew up and acquired some dignity, we discovered that there is a place for subtlety in the dirty yarn spinning and singing. But, while there may be a touch more of class in what we write in our old age, let us do no harm to the realities of yesteryear.
Dick Jonas was born and raised in the Suwannee River valley of northern Florida.
He served four years as an infantryman in the Georgia Army National Guard while attending Valdosta State College. Upon graduation in 1965 he entered the Air Force, receiving his commission through Officer Training School. In 22 years service he flew 3,000 jet fighter hours in the F-4 and F-16. During 125 missions in Vietnam he earned the Distinguished Flying Cross with two oak leaf clusters and the Air Medal with 12 clusters.
After retirement from the Air Force, in 1986, he became an Aerospace Science Instructor in the Air Force Junior ROTC program.
During 1991 and 92, in 325 performances he played the leading role in Guv: The Musical, a stage production of the Mill Avenue Theater in Tempe, Arizona.
Dick retired from the teaching profession after 15 years of service, in June 2004. He is now a fulltime entertainer and music producer. His aim is to preserve and perpetuate the legacy of America’s warrior musicians —
The songs we sang about the planes we flew and the people we knew in the wars we fought.
He is known as "America's Foremost Military Aviation Song Writer and Balladeer." He has produced nineteen albums of his kind of music, and published two books — RBAAB: The Red-Blooded, All-American Boy and PTF: Passing the Flame. The two books contain lyrics and war stories of the songs on his CDs.
Dick is an actor, a writer, a guitar-player, a singer, and a businessman. He also flies. He and his wife, Mary, reside in Chino Valley, just north of Prescott, Arizona.