Larry Douglas Vietnam
A Company, First of the Eighth Cavalry, First Air Cavalry Division, 1967
by Sgt. Larry Gene Douglas (Cinematographer)
Shown in this film, shot in 1967 with a "home movie" camera, are various places in Vietnam, principally in Binh Dinh Province, primarily with the First Platoon of "A" Company, First Battalion, 8th Cavalry.
00:00-00:12: a scan of the area to the north in An Khe (Camp Radcliff), the First Air Cavalry base camp, prior to May 19, 1967.
00:13-00:21: a scan to the northwest showing large tents, trucks, and a building at the An Khe base camp.
00:21-00:26: an unusual open-sided building.
00:26-0032: Larry Douglas at An Khe base camp.
00:32-00:36: an unidentified soldier, An Khe base camp.
00:36-00:41: two Vietnamese women having tea. These may be workers at the base camp.
00:41-0051: a group of men standing around behind a deuce-and-a-half truck. This may pertain to the May 14 incident in which "An enlisted man of the 1st Plt caught his ring on a vehicle and tore his finger." He had to be medevaced out. The camera pans left showing parked Huey helicopters, then a concrete runway, An Khe base camp.
00:51-00:59: the camera tracks an incoming Huey helicopter, then views supplies stacked alongside a runway, and at the end of the pan a tail of a large aircraft can be seen.
00:59-01:04: Larry Douglas with an unidentified soldier.
01:04-01:06: four men, three of whom are sitting on a cot, are conversing.
01:06-01:24: the camera pans left from a mountain right at the edge of LZ Uplift, past a small wooden bridge or house frame. The mountain is Núi Chóp Dung ("True Summit Mountain" at 14.236111, 109.076028), likely filmed on May 17, 1967.
01:25-01:37: the camera pans right past the wooden bridge back to the mountain.
01:37-01:53: the camera panning to the right shows the long, tin-roofed huts found on LZ Uplift.
01:53-02:18: a soldier walks up a path, the camera pans right, showing two Vietnamese women, and continuing in that direction, shows dropped web gear and various personnel.
02:18-03:58: various Vietnamese people travel by bicycle or on foot down a road, and across a small wooden bridge. A horse-drawn cart with a man and a woman in the front seat stops and the woman unloads a cooler (probably of Coke to sell to the Americans). Many pedestrians and horse-drawn carriages are shown passing by the spot. An American soldier, on bridge guarding duty, watches as many Vietnamese, some carrying heavy loads on their shoulders, walk on to the road.
03:58-04:08: a view from a fast moving Huey, as it passes over jungle, then by a bald mountain, and over a solitary hooch. Probably May 21, 1967.
04:08-04:17: scenes of LZ Uplift. The camera pans to some hooches apparently just outside the perimeter.
04:17-04:28: the camera pans right from tin roofed huts to the hill overlooking LZ Uplift. At 04:21 (for 7 frames), a rocket is fired from behind a tree to outside the perimeter. At 04:23 (for 17 frames) 3 rockets are fired from an unseen chopper to the left side near the summit of the hill. For 6 frames at 04:27-28, a rocket is launched from behind a parked truck.
04:28-05:34: single Huey helicopters flying overhead. A Huey lands near a group of soldiers some of whom have their web gear on. The scene shifts to the hill that overlooks LZ Uplift. The Huey that had landed earlier, now takes off, apparently empty.
05:34-05:47: a group of shirtless men, two of whom cause a man who is shaving some consternation.
05:47-05:57: a soldier wearing a helmet walks down a path on LZ Uplift.
05:57-06:16: a supply ship Huey lands next to a group of men on LZ Uplift.
06:16-08:27: out in the field on the outskirts of a hamlet, Larry Douglas takes off his pack and all his web gear, only to have to put it all back on again. A boy is shown running to a group of boy cowherds resting in the shade with their 7 cows. Panoramic shots of the area follow. A man on a bicycle comes down the nearby road. A panorama shows clumps of tall bamboo in grassy fields. A close-up is shown of one of the machine gunners. A small Army truck drives down the nearby road, followed by a scene of a single Huey chopper flying overhead. A soldier, tucked into the shade of a tall bush, reads a letter from home. A soldier stands alone in a field without a helmet or web gear.
08:27-08:49: Larry Douglas walks up to a small mess tent on LZ Uplift. Some guys come out and clown around for the camera.
08:49-09:04: the camera pans to Mount Chóp Dung above LZ Uplift, then to the tin roofed huts to its right.
09:05-09:37: a spotter plane is flying north of LZ Uplift. The camera pans left to an area of open grass outside the perimeter of the LZ.
09:37-09:47: final views of LZ Uplift. The company's last day on this LZ was June 19, 1967.
09:47-09:55: the camera pans left following a nearby ridge that terminates in a hill. At the foot of the hill a dirt road meets a narrow paved road.
09:56-10:20: the camera pans left from a hooch to a large tracked vehicle, then pans back to the right a ways. In the next scene, the camera slowly pans left to the main gate of a cemetery. It resumes panning to the left until it reaches a soldier with his back is to the camera standing in front of a rail fence. The next scene is another view of the hooch and the area to its left. The scene shifts to the rail fence area, where we see a shirtless soldier without a helmet, and next to him, a soldier wearing only a helmet liner, is bent over occupied with something out of view.
10:20-10:56: a parked (command ?) chopper sits in the middle of a dry sandy field with a village in the background. The camera focuses on the village about 100 meters distant, then pans left briefly. After this, we see men digging in, and as the camera pans left it passes a tracked vehicle and comes to rest with a view of a hooch. Panning again to the left, we see a shirtless soldier walking towards a rather large hooch. Panning still farther to the left, we see a soldier standing by a poncho shade tent attached to a track vehicle. We then see the business end of a plow, and the whole track vehicle moving forward.
10:56-13:13: a medical team, with ARVN support, introduces children to soap which they use to bathe in a nearby waterhole in a secure area. The scene shifts to the adjacent area, where American soldiers are walking around without their weapons, and several canvas tents are seen. The scene shifts back to the waterhole where children are bathing under the supervision of a U. S. medical team. Larry Douglas, sitting nearby, writes a letter home. See this photo which may have been of the same area.
13:13-13:41: three men are standing together (Larry Douglas, Richard Yelland (?), and an unidentified soldier to his right). The center figure points his .45 at Larry in jest.
13:41-14:34: the camera pans left from an abandoned hooch to an extended gray mass (a dead elephant ?), continuing from a graveyard of white sand mounds, to a track vehicle stacked with supplies. Beginning again farther to the left, the camera continues in that direction until it arrives at a tank, seen in profile. The scene then shifts back to the abandoned stucco hooch with which this sequence began. Then, starting farther to the left, the camera pans right until it reaches that same hooch again. Next the distant mountains are shown, the camera panning to the right until it stops where a man is sitting with his back to a coconut tree. Then the camera pans right beginning at the graveyard, showing a black soldier in a white T-shirt, then the rest of the graveyard.
14:34-14:54: the camera pans left beginning at a bay of the South China Sea, then up a low grassy ridge. The next scene shows two soldiers standing in this grass and scrub region at the coast, then panning left, we see a soldier standing atop a taller ridge with the sea in the background, from which the camera pans back to the right passing the two soldiers, then returns to them panning left. The next scene focuses on a crouching soldier, then pans left showing the bay of the initial scene.
14:54-15:46: the camera focuses upon a gray object partly obscured by foliage. Various views of the ruins of rare concrete and plaster houses are shown. In the same village, a reclining soldier is talking to two others partly obscured from view (15:29). We are given a brief view of a fallow field, then are shown the ruined houses again, the camera panning right showing heavy vegetation.
15:46-17:00: Larry Douglas opens a coconut with a machete and shows how to prepare it while Jerry Prater watches.
17:00-17:30: Larry shares a can opener with another soldier, as they each drink a beer. This appears to be LZ Pony.
17:30-18:21: the area around one side of an LZ. One of the machine gunners walks up a trail the passes by a tank or duster parked in a berm. He turns and fast draws his .45, then resumes walking. Another view of the area around the LZ focusing on the ridge of mountains not too far distant is follwed by a pan of the entrance area up the hill on which the LZ is situated.
18:21-18:28: the camera pans from the opposite side of the LZ to the nearby mountain range. A column of smoke rises from an air strike on one of the mountains. The column of smoke is seen from another vantage point. Another explosion is recorded from a different spot.
18:28-18:34: two soldiers talk as they sit around an improvised table.
18:34-19:14: U. S. soldiers walk towards a Buddhist temple in a secure area. The associated village is shown.
19:14-21:19: scenes of the countryside down the road from the LZ, which appears to be Geronimo. The whole LZ can be seen in the distance (19:18). Women can be seen planting rice. Soldiers follow in columns of two behind a tank on the road leading out of the LZ. Another scene of women planting rice. The next scene shows women working in the distance. The camera pans 90° to the right, showing a soldier on flank, and arriving at the road where a tank is following behind. The camera pans left 180°, showing more of the flank element and the tank moving in front with two soldiers behind it. The next scene shows a man, a cart, and a couple of water buffalo, then pans left. One of the flank element is seen on a dry rice paddy. The camera swings from the right side, showing the flank element, to the tank, then left to the left flank element. The next scene shows a woman on her knees working with rice plants while the soldier walks on the nearby dike. A flooded field is briefly shown. A dike-path leads up to the front gate of what may be a cemetery or a village. The next scene shows someone standing in the front yard of a hooch darkly shaded by trees. The following scene is that of an expensive tile roofed house from which the camera pans right to an area too dark to make out. This sequence is repeated on a different camera setting, showing that the dark area is a hooch in front of which a man is standing. The scene shifts back to the adjacent road where two tanks are parked. The camera then returns to the tile roofed house, and panning left, the camera stops at a hooch with a couple of round mats leaning against it. Larry Douglas is then shown, without a helmet, walking up to the front door of this hooch. The next scene shows an area around a cave-like hooch.
21:19-21:31: a soldier walks by while a man in the background digs in. This is shown closer in, where it appears to be a mortar pit with a poncho tent erected behind it. The camera pans right to a group of men who are preparing to dig in. The camera continues to pan right past men working on poncho tents. Continuing in the same direction, we see a soldier emerge from a shade tent, and a line of soldiers digging in and preparing tents for their prones.
21:31-24:13: the scene changes radically to the South China Sea coast, where, panning left, we see a dozen boats docked by the shore. The camera passes by two Vietnamese men, one of whom has his hands on a rudder. As the camera pans still farther left, a group of soldiers is seen in the background. Part of this scan is repeated, and moving left, we see an unusual flat roofed open dock building under whose roof are congregated many Vietnamese, who overflow into the tent-like structures to its left. As the camera continues to the left, we see the whole village, and at the far left, a helmetless, shirtless American soldier is interacting with a Vietnamese woman. The next brief scene shows a boat turned on its side in the foreground, as a man walks by with an American tank in the background. Next, a large boat is shown, and the camera pans left to a Vietnamese man holding a rudder stick. Next we see American soldiers walking among the boats docked on the shore to the left. Then Larry Douglas, with his shirt, helmet, and web gear set aside, is shown digging in the sand next to a boat. The camera dwells for a couple of seconds on the left corner of the large open structure. The camera pans left over a village of densely packed hooches, with Americans dug in on the beach under shade tents. Another scan is made of long, arched roof, huts probably used to dry or store fish. The next scene shows an American tank parked very close to the shore, with boats in the background, some about 5 meters out. As the camera pans left, we see soldiers digging in almost right among the boats. Another view is given of the closely packed hooches of this village. The camera returns to the open structure, and pans left to the packed hooches. The next scene is that of a large fishing boat next to which a Vietnamese man is seen walking. The camera next pans right, past the aforementioned tank. After this, we see a large group of U. S. soldiers, apparently interacting with a least one Vietnamese, but the whole sequence is too dark to make out. Another view is given of the tightly packed village, and panning to the right we see a South Vietnamese flag, then the camera again passes by the large fishing vessel. The pan resumes moving to the right, but the setting is too dark to make out much detail.
24:13-25:08: the scene shift to another part of the country, where we are shown thick vegetation. The camera scans the background mountains of this region. The camera pans right down a shallow waterway and stops to view "Bullet Bouchard" who lights up a cigarette. More of this shallow, slow moving river is shown as the camera pans left. The camera, panning to the right, reveals a long line of closely packed hooches on the opposite bank of the waterway. The camera then returns to another quick view of "Bullet" Bouchard. In the next scene, the camera pans left down a ridge, before returning to several quick views of the waterway.
25:08-25:45: Larry Douglas and his squad are taking a break in the weeds. The camera shifts to pan a great ridge of pure white sand, then comes back down and to the left back to the area where Larry and his squad have set up. Two views of Larry writing home are presented. The segment concludes with another view of the great white sands.
25:45-25:49: a field is shown lined with coconut trees.
25:49-26:34: the South China Sea is seen from a mountain in the coastal range. The next scene is of terraces on the hill opposite, and views of the steep and rocky side of the mountain. The camera passes by the barrel of an M-16 rifle, then pans left over the steep side of the opposite coastal mountain, and on to the more distant sea coast. A soldier takes a smoking break. The checkerboard pattern of fallow rice paddies below can be seen in the background. The camera pans the coastal plain below where four fires are producing white smoke.
26:34-27:00: view of a Buddhist temple including a bronze statue mounted on a pillar. A small tile roof building is seen with a stone plaque in front of it.
27:00-27:34: the camera scans left showing a ridge in the coastal range. Panning left, the camera shows a soldier with "bug juice" attached to the side of his helmet. Farther to the left, the coast of the South China Sea is seen in the distance. The camera pans left showing a soldier sitting on a small ridge about 10 meters away. This is followed by a brief view of vegetation on the mountain, and the large mountain in the distance. The camera pans left showing the opposite ridge and the valley at its foot; continuing to the left, the coast is seen farther in the distance, then the summit of the ridge that they are then on. The camera pans back to another view of the coast. A few seconds are spent on an additional view of the coastline.
27:34-28:31: a fertile but dry rice paddy at the foot of the mountain is seen. A tall hill is filmed. In the next scene, the camera shows the South China Sea coast, then panning left, shows the coastal range. On the ridge opposite, we see the smoke arising from an HE explosion. The camera pans in each direction showing the area around the column of smoke. The camera fixes on the column of smoke on the opposite mountain, then pans right to the sea coast. The camera slowly pans back and forth showing the valley below, then the sea coast. We next see the smoke rising from an air strike some way off in the distance on a ridge in the coastal range.
28:31-28:59: Larry Douglas displays an M-79 grenade launcher, opens it up, and extracts its shell. After displaying the shell, he reinserts it into the chamber and closes the weapon. He then holds it the way in which it would be held to fire its projectile.
28:59-29:54: the camera pans left to the ridge where an air strike has left a column of smoke. It continues left, showing the terrain of the mountains in this region. Another view is given of the sea coast and the round top mountain across the way. The camera pans back and forth over the same area.
29:54-30:14: a view of a beach on the South China Sea. Another view is given of a mountain that extends right to the sea. A second view is given of the beach. This area of water sealed off from the sea at the coast is called Đầm An Khê (14.717444, 109.051750). The most likely time at which this was filmed was 23 June 1967 (see Map and Correlation).
30:14-31:10: women and children from a local village are gathered up together for interrogation or a medical program. Some of the officers involved are shown. The camera pans back and forth showing the surrounding area and a discussion among the officers. A view of soldiers on a break, reading the "Stars and Stripes." The camera pans left revealing that they are sitting just outside the Buddhist temple previously viewed.
31:10-31:21 (end of the film): a brief glimpse of a road. The last scene shows a wide panorama of dry rice patties in front of a village.
Film Digitalization: Rob Douglas, Son of Sgt. Larry Douglas.
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