Stephen Colbert recently paid a visit to Thule Air Base in Greenland to visit the guardians of the U.S. Space Force. Ahead of his latest USO visit, the late-night host discovered that the U.S. military branch watching beyond the skies has an official song—John Phillip Sousa‘s “The Invincible Eagle”—but it had no lyrics. Enter Colbert’s occasional songwriting partner and Navy veteran, Sturgill Simpson.
Located 750 miles north of the arctic circle and only 947 miles from the North Pole, the United States military’s northernmost installation provided Colbert and Simpson with 24 hours of sunlight a day during their visit. But that didn’t stop them from gathering at the local watering hole, the Top of the World Bar, for some drinks and karaoke.
“And while the Space Force may be the newest branch of the armed forces, your mission to protect our interests in space and expand our satellite communication capabilities is important to all Americans,” Colbert said to the guardians. “But there’s one thing about the Space Force I have to address: every other branch of the military has their own anthem. …But I recently found out that the Space Force is so new that, while you’ve got a 120-year-old Sousa march, it doesn’t have any lyrics yet. That ends tonight. Or today? Again, what f—ing time is it?”
(It is unclear when Colbert’s appearance was taped, but in September the Space Force revealed the original composition “Semper Sura” as its official song, replacing “The Invincible Eagle”, which served as an interim since the branch was founded in 2019.)
“Hail the Guardian’s vigil keeping / on the Earth both night and day,” the song begins. “Watching o’er you while you’re sleeping / but not in a creepy way. Hail the Guardians who gaze skyward / courageous, proud, and tough / For meteorites, satellites, and rockets / plus other science-y stuff.”
It wasn’t all business for Colbert and Simpson, who previously collaborated on an official song for Waffle House, “No Shirts, No Shoes, No Knuckleheads“. The two teamed up on The Righteous Brothers‘ “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” and joined Chief Master Sergeant of the United States Roger A. Towberman on what could also very well be the official Space Force song, “Radar Love”.
Check out highlights from the USO trip Stephen Colbert and Sturgill Simpson took to Thule Air Base.
Red, White & Greenland: Karaoke and Shots with Sturgill Simpson and Space Force | The Late Show with Stephen Colbert