The Confederate Air Force History Preservation Project

Tennesse Ernie Ford's "Ballad of the Ghost Squadron"

There's a ghostly squadron standing down beside the Rio Grande.
A mythical Commander beckons with a ghostly hand.
Like the old and fabled Phoenix, they'll rise to fly again,
to perpetuate the spirit of the peace they helped to win.

Ghost Squadron,
Ghost Squadron,
Gallant planes and valiant men,
Gallant planes and valiant men.

Some rose to fight at Schweinfurt, Pearl Harbor, and Cologne.
They filled the skies of Britain, Ploesti and Bastogne.
They bore intrepid airmen
Across embattled skies.
The legend of their conquest
Enshrined in history lies.

Ghost Squadron,
Ghost Squadron,
Gallant planes and valiant men,
Gallant planes and valiant men.

In the late 1970s, CAF Colonel Tennessee Ernie Ford, a well-known entertainer on both radio and television, recorded the the theme song for the Confederate Air Force. A bombardier in World War II, Ford donated a Norden bombsight to the CAF and was a featured announcer at the annual CAF Airsho in Harlingen, Texas.

Nearing twenty-five years of age, the original master tape of Ford's song is doubtless in poor condition--assuming it still exists at all. (Attempts to find a copy for restoration through CAF Headquarters have been completely unsuccessful.) With the help of a few CAF members, including, but not limited to, Col. Phil Stallings, Col. Ken Norvell, and Col. Dan Barton, I have managed to piece together what approximates the full-length song from three separate tapes. The quality is less-than-perfect, though not beyond restoration.

I have an acquaintance in the sound engineering field who is willing to provide his services for free to restore a version of the tape and preserve it in a digital format if a suitable copy can be found. Unfortunately the best versions out there are truncated. What you see below is an approximation of the full tune. The airplane noises are byproducts of the BBC Television Program "The World About Us" and were not part of the original Ford theme.

Spliced "Ballad of the Ghost Squadron" - Tennessee Ernie Ford
(2:41) - MP3 FORMAT (3.8 MB) / WAVE FORMAT (28 MB)

As you can imagine, there is a substantial quality gap between the MP3 version and the original used in CAF videos. If anyone has a first- or second-generation copy of this song it would be of great benefit to this project to borrow it. Please contact me if you can help.

Jason W. Smith - Contact and Biographical Information


Remove the leading and ending hyphen ( - ) to email me.