FORT BRAGG, N.C. — 82nd Airborne Division Commander Maj. Gen. Richard Clark has settled a lawsuit between the Fort Bragg-based paratrooper division and Lockheed-Martin. The 82nd Airborne will pay the defense contractor more than $7 million to settle royalty claims over the use of the trademarked term “C-130” in running cadences, including hundreds of expected recitations of the cadence during the division's annual “All-American Week” run today.
DOD Officials were alarmed when the 82nd Airborne Division racked up almost $1 million in unpaid fees during last year's All-American week, as the legendary running cadence was sung by every single company in the 15,000-man division for the entirety of the four-mile run.
“For over sixty years, the venerable turboprop aircraft has rolled down strips from Iraq to Vietnam,” said Clark. “Its ability to fly at lower airspeeds gives it a unique advantage over other airframes, allowing it to drop up to sixty-four troopers on a one-way trip.”
“Of course we are going to sing about it.”
Defense Department comptrollers believe the C-130 cadence is sung an average of approximately 16,000 times each day at installations all over the world. Even with a royalty rate of just $0.25 per song, Lockheed-Martin would accumulate approximately $1.5 million in annual revenue just from cadence royalties.
“This settlement will clear all prior claims against the Airborne,” according to Defense Department Spokesman Peter Cook. “But going forward, the troops will have to be more selective in their cadence selection.”
“We strongly urge our service members to examine other running cadences,” Defense Comptroller Mike McChord added. “I'm sure there are plenty of yellow birds with yellow bills, 96-year old grannies doing flutter kicks, and yo-yos to keep our service members in step.”
Lockheed Martin notes that there have been many variants of the C-130 over the years, including one specially-modified with rocket pods, designed for the aborted raid on the US Embassy in Tehran in 1980.
"Its mission was top secret, its destination unknown,” said company spokesman Rip Winklevoss. “Many of those troopers didn't even know if they were ever coming home.”
According to one Air Force official, the service is happy with the settlement because it was “very alarmed” at the number of C-130s allegedly involved in the run.
“We simply can't commit that many C-130s to an airborne operation,” the official added. “But let's be fair. Who are we kidding?”
“We never want to commit that many aircraft to the Army anyway.”