84 Charlie Mopic

Institute History


Vietnam, 1969:

Lt. Drewry and a newscameraman join a recon unit of hard-core men. OD is the leader, black, serious, commanding presence; Cracker, a good old Southern boy, defers to OD; Pretty Boy, good-looking all-American; Hammer, short, macho, moody; and Easy, skinny, homely radioman. Drewry is wet behind the ears and eager to command, but the others are squarely behind OD. The story of their life in the jungle unfolds through the lens of the newscameraman, who is recording their mission as a “Lessons Learned” training film.

The first day of the three-day mission is rough on Drewry and the Cameraman. They aren’t in condition like the members of the unit. By the first stop Drewry is sweating hard. He tries to pull rank, but OD shuts him down. Along the way, the men teach Drewry—and the Camera—how a real war is fought. During the course of the mission Drewry interviews the men on camera.

The next day the unit almost runs into a platoon of NVA troops, but they hide in the brush. The NVA are only a few feet away. Drewry impales his arm on a bamboo stake booby trap. He suppresses a scream and the enemy passes. Pretty Boy bandages Drewry’s arm and gives him antibiotics. OD reconnoiters and spots a regiment-size camp nearby. OD lets Drewry pick out their own camp for the night. OD outlines the mission for the men.

Early the next morning the unit begins their mission. They booby trap their camp and leave it for the enemy to find. They position themselves above the enemy camp and Drewry watches the unit work like a well-oiled machine. OD decides they won’t shoot the NVA soldiers, he has Easy call in an air strike. The unit is on the move again.

On the way to their rendezvous point the unit’s route is block off by an NVA patrol. The unit decides to attack instead of going around the patrol. One NVA is left alive and Drewry stops Hammer from killing him and takes him prisoner.

Disaster strikes. The unit is ambushed. Pretty Boy is shot several times by a sniper. He is in the open beyond the reach of his friends and still alive. OD sees there is no chance of saving Pretty Boy and shoots him with Drewry’s .45 pistol. The NVA prisoner is wounded in the sniping and OD orders Drewry to kill him. Drewry has no choice. He stabs the NVA soldier clumsily and OD has to finish the job. The unit continues toward the rendezvous point carrying Pretty Boy’s body.

The unit is ambushed. OD and Cracker are wounded. Cracker dies. Easy tapes OD together and the men continue through the jungle. The unit has to leave the bodies of Pretty Boy and Cracker behind. Hammer takes the lead and steps on a land mine and gets blown to bits.

OD, Easy, Drewry and the Cameraman reach the rendezvous point a Vietnamese vilage. It has been destroyed by the VC.

The rescue helicopter arrives, but the VC open fire on it from the jungle. Drewry is wounded, but he, Easy and the Cameraman make it to the helicopter. Drewry and the Cameraman go back for hte gravely wounded OD. Drewry and OD make it to the helicopter as VC bullets kill the Cameraman.

The helicopter flies away.


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