Saddle up!

11 05 2008

Today a sudden thought popped up in my head (I love the mental pop-ups in the morning!), that Barnes’ “Saddle Up, Lock and Load” might have something to do with his past in the Cavalry. Did a little research, and found that this phrase was popularized by… John Wayne in Sands of Iwo Jima.

Quote: This imperative phrase originally referred to the operation of the M1 Garand Rifle, the standard U.S. Army rifle of WWII. Its meaning is more general now, referring to preparation for any imminent event.
To load a Garand, the bolt would be locked to the rear and a clip of ammunition loaded into the receiver. The command lock and load was immortalized by John Wayne in the 1949 movie 
The Sands of Iwo Jima

QUOTE: In some ways, The Sands of Iwo Jima is the most significant film in the John Wayne canon. Newt Gingrich called this 1949 film “the formative movie of my life.” Sgt. Barnes, a character in Oliver Stone’s Platoon (1986) quotes Wayne’s battle cry from the film, “Saddle up! Lock and Load!” And the film’s climactic scene, the raising of the American flag over Mount Suribachi, inspired Ron Kovic, whose life story became the source for Stone’s Born on the Fourth of July, to volunteer for service in Vietnam, a tour of duty that would leave him a paraplegic. Nor was its power lost on the U.S. Marines. They often used the film to drum up support and encourage enlistment.

Ironically, Wayne, who angered John Ford by avoiding service in WWII for fear it would interrupt the momentum of his career, would be identified in many people’s minds as having won that global conflict single-handedly, thanks to films like The Sands of Iwo Jima

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