Published on September 5th, 2014 | by Millennium Magazine Staff0
“Hard Work,” Soldier’s Cadence Featured in Advertising Campaign
Pictured above Command Sgt. Maj. Lamont Christian
By Wallace McBride, Fort Jackson Leader
FORT JACKSON, SC — Command Sgt. Maj. Lamont Christian said he was surprised to hear a cadence he wrote more than a decade ago for sale on iTunes. He was even more surprised when it appeared on a recent television commercial for a sports drink.
Today, Christian, a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., is the commandant of the U.S. Army Drill Sergeant School. But, in 1984, he was participating in Basic Combat Training here, where he was first introduced to the “Hard Work” cadence theme.
“We were a basic training platoon set to go to Airborne School after basic training,” he said. “My drill sergeants were airborne qualified, so all the runs we did, all the PT sessions, were geared toward getting us ready to graduate Airborne School after finishing basic training.”
The original lyrics to the “Hard Work” cadence reflected this specialized training, he said.
“I took it with me through my career and used to sing it all the time during my time at Fort Bragg, (North Carolina),” Christian said. “When I became a drill sergeant in 1993, it was one of the cadences I’d sing to inspire the Soldiers.”
Christian said he wrote new lyrics for the cadence to reflect overall Army values, and not the specific experiences of airborne Soldiers. He said the “Hard Work” theme lends itself to telling any story about the Army experience.
During his tenure as an instructor at the Drill Sergeant School at Fort Benning, Georgia, the cadence caught the attention of a company that documented the military’s rhythmic pacing. A sound technician visited the post with a microphone and cassette recorder and captured the Soldiers as they used the cadence to keep pace around a parking lot at Sand Hill.
“Years later, my son was looking for cadences online to listen to while he worked out,” Christian said. “He pulled up these cadences on iTunes and asked, ‘Hey dad, who is this?’”
It was Christian’s voice on the recording, chanting his “Hard Work” cadence.
“A few months later, we see this … commercial, and the cadence was sampled for it,” he said. “My sister, who’s stationed at Fort Sill, (Oklahoma), recognizes it right away as being me.”
Christian said he had no interest in pursuing financial compensation for the lyrics, but wanted the company to recognize its origins.
“My sister called Pepsi Cola — Gatorade is a Pepsi product — and (the company) went on to tag the commercial as being a ‘U.S. Army running cadence,’” he said. “I think they sent me some Gatorade, a towel and said, ‘Thanks for your service.’ But I wasn’t looking for anything monetary.”
Christian said the fast pacing of the cadence provides a lot of flexibility for workouts. The commercial was directed toward athletes, and drew a parallel between the discipline found in sports and the armed forces. He said the cadence also has found more than one use on post. While designed to be used for double time — 180 steps per minute — it’s not unusual for drill sergeants to use the cadence for regular marching.
“Some people are familiar with the cadence being a marching cadence,” he said. “But, it has a tendency to be used to be motivate Soldiers as they get the end of a good run.”
Christian said he uses the cadence today at the Drill Sergeant School for instructor candidates as an example of the influence they have over students.
“They don’t realize the impact they have on the Soldiers based on the things they do every single day as a drill sergeant,” he said. “Their ability to inspire people has a far reaching impact.”