War Stories

Lights Camera Action

by Vaughn brauer
September 1968

Lights, Camera, Action

Vaughn Brauer

In September 1968 I assumed command of D Company 2/35th Inf. At that time the company, along with most of the rest of the 4th Div, was conducting Short Range Patrol (SRP) screens near the Cambodian border. These SRPs were 4 man patrols equipped with a radio and positioned in a stationary location for 48 hrs where they could observe likely enemy routes of infiltration. They were not to engage directly but rather to direct mortar or artillery fire on any enemy observed. While we were there, an Army photographic unit arrived to film this type of operation. I don't know if it was intended to be a documentary, training film or what. They spent several days at our company position filming the entire process including patrol briefings, moving to position, observing an enemy patrol, calling in mortar fire, the company mortar platoon firing their weapons etc. They used South Viet Nam troops and captured NVA clothing, equipment and weapons to depict the enemy. After filming was completed, the team departed our location and I never heard anything about it again. In 1972, while stationed in Florida, I attended the wedding of a friend of mine. I got into a conversation with his best man and discovered, much to my surprise, that he was the lieutenant who was in charge of the film unit that had been at our location. I asked him about the film and he told me that he had been wounded in a mortar attack not long after he left our position and didn't know it had ever been finished. I've often wondered if that film was ever completed, what it was used for and if it still exists.