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The 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) is the most secretive entity in the United States military’s arsenal. Rarely will anyone know that a soldier is a member of it in the present sense, and it’s only after they die in combat or retire that anyone hears the word “Delta.”

It was only after a decade as a Delta operator that soldier/songwriter Tom Spooner retired and shared his tribute to his comrades in arms. It was during his sixth rotation to Iraq—out of a total of 11 to Iraq and one to Afghanistan—that Spooner penned the song “Old Soldier.” (Click here to listen to the song)

“I’ve always done a lot of writing,” Spooner said, “and 2005 and 2006 were really hard years for us. We lost a lot of guys. Lots of wounded. We were just dealing with combat, and I had a buddy of mine, who played music and played in coffee houses, who asked me to write a song. It was 2007, and it was helpful to deal with the things that were going on.”

After Spooner wrote “Old Soldier,” he got with a fellow Delta operator and used their electronic listening devices to record the song in a dusty hovel somewhere in war-torn Iraq. Spooner said he couldn’t identify the singer of the YouTube hit because his friend is still an active-duty operator. The lyrics are listed below.

When asked what spurred his creative vigor, Spooner said, “Inspiration was hard times, and it wasn’t getting any easier. We lost a lot of teammates. The bigger loss was the regular Army guys we were with. By the end of 2006, we had lost a lot of guys. Our unit was about 60 percent wounded.”

After serving at the “tip of the spear” for America’s armed forces, one might think that was enough, but not for Spooner. Since his medical retirement in 2011, he continues to serve his brothers in arms by raising awareness for veteran suicide. “Veteran suicide is epidemic,” Spooner said. “On average, 22 veterans take their lives every day. Nobody can really comprehend the cost of freedom.”

To help raise awareness and save troubled Veterans and their families, Spooner is raising money for Elder Heart, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to stemming the tide of veteran suicide. For more on Elder Heart, visit elderheart.org.

When you listen to “Old Soldier” here, listen closely and drink it in to get a feel for what it’s like to live the life of a soldier. And for more from Tom Spooner, check out the upcoming July 2014 issue of TACTICAL WEAPONS, available digitally and on newsstands on May 20, 2014. To subscribe, visit https://www.tactical-life.com/subscribe/tactical-weapons

OLD SOLDIER

An old soldier puts his bags inside the truck,
He thinks, “I can keep it together now, with a little luck.”
He’s going to that place he has been so many times before.
They call it this and that; he just calls it war.

He kisses the kids goodbye as they cling onto his neck.
He says, “Remember to say your prayers, you know I’ll call and check.”
He looks into the woman’s eyes he’s loved for all these years
And says, “ I love you more than life itself” and wipes away her tears.

(Chorus)
You don’t know the cost of freedom until you pay the price.
Have you ever thought about it even once or twice?
Thank God for the ones who raise their hands knowing the sacrifice,
’Cause you don’t know the cost of freedom until you pay the price.

His brothers are all around him now, to his left and to the right.
A familiar comfort fills him up inside, as they head into the fight.
The explosions blast and the shots ring out as they run into the fray,
On the altar of freedom now its time for one of them to pay.

No you don’t know the cost of freedom until you the price.
Have you ever thought about it even once or twice?
Thank God for the ones who raise their hands knowing the sacrifice,
’Cause you don’t know the cost of freedom until you pay the price.

Later they all gather in those sacred fields of stone.
The example of love their brother offered up just hurts down to the bone.
The flag is being folded now and the bugle starts to sound.
The rifles crack in the distance as their tears fall to the ground.
A good man gave his life for yours, and his family’s all alone.
All they know is that their hero is never coming home.

You don’t know the cost of freedom until you pay the price.
Have you ever thought about it even once or twice?
Lord bless the families who bear the years of sacrifice.
You don’t know the cost of freedom until you pay the price.

Our old soldier puts his bags inside the truck.
He thinks, “ I can keep it together now with a little luck”


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