Brothers, Fathers, and Sons
It is estimated that over one million children were orphaned or became homeless during
the Vietnam War.
Anderson, Baker and Johnson catch a chopper ride back to Brigade. All three men are excited as they will get most of the afternoon off and can thus go to Mama-san Linda's. But while in flight, the slick gets re-routed to do a medavac. On their way in to do the pickup, the slick takes fire and gets hit, one of the door gunners getting killed. The chopper goes down in the jungle, the pilot unable to keep it in the air.
Johnson, Baker and Anderson drag the wounded pilot from the burning wreckage of the ruined slick before it explodes. The pilot is badly wounded, and the men know he won't survive. And Baker's back is badly burned and lacerated. Within moments they are ambushed by a pair of VC, pinning them down. While Johnson and Baker cover him, Anderson makes an attempt to slip over in order to get a better shot at the snipers.
Zeke takes his shot, killing one of the snipers, but misses the second. He checks on the one he killed, rolling the body over only to discover it is just a young boy. He quickly returns to Johnson and Baker, telling them they have to get going as quickly as possible. Baker wants to bury the dead pilot, but Zeke tells him they have no time and cuts the man's dog tags off. The three then set off through the jungle as quickly as possible before the VC come looking for them.
Back at Ladybird, Wallace and Goldman discuss where the rescue teams need to look, but the downed chopper could be just about anywhere. Wallace is clearly upset, asking if the Air Force won't lend a couple of ships.
The three men cut north through the jungle as quickly as they can, but Baker lags behind because of his wounds. Zeke estimates they are only 40 or 50 miles from the base, but less than five miles from the Cambodian boarder. A Huey passes overhead and they wave to it, Baker shouting. He then suggests they light a signal fire, but Zeke explains how foolish that would be.
The VC find the helicopter, and the dead boy. It is clear that one of the VC is the father, who kneels and gathers the boy into his arms, crying in anguish and despair.
Johnson sees Baker has a magazine, thinking it is a Playboy, only to see it's a surfer magazine. Johnson asks him if he actually reads this stuff, and Baker tells him he mostly looks at the pictures. Johnson snorts, saying he'd rather have a Playboy- now there's some pictures. Zeke says he prefers Popular Mechanics. The three men then stumble upon what appears to be a band of Montagnards. Unfortunately they are all dead, caught in the middle of an artillery attack. Zeke tells them to search around for anything they might be able to use. While wandering through the destroyed camp, Johnson finds a young woman who is still alive and calls his buddies over.
She is crying out in pain, and Anderson kneels down next to her, realizing she is pregnant and giving birth. The three men have no idea what to do for the girl as they stand and discuss what to do for her. While they argue about what's best to do, the baby is born, the stunned men staring as it cries out.
None of them want to touch the child, but finally Zeke kneels and picks the infant up, laying him on his mother's chest. He then tells the men they need to leave and there is nothing more they can do. He then tries to tell the woman he's sorry, but there is nothing they can do for her- only to realize she has died.
Baker and Johnson argue with Anderson about the fate of the child. Zeke is adamant that they leave the baby behind- his responsibility is to them, and that the child will be okay. Johnson finally agrees with him while Baker remains unhappy. But as they prepare to leave, the baby starts to cry and Baker goes back. He gathers the infant to him, begging Anderson to keep him. Zeke tries to reason with him, but Baker has made up his mind to keep the child. Johnson sides with him despite Zeke's orders.
The mother of the dead VC boy arrives now, back where the boy was killed. The father, now angry and bitter, joins his friends who have found the trail of the Americans responsible for his son's death and they decide to track them down.
As the three soldiers continue to make their way through the jungle back to Ladybird, Johnson and Baker fuss over the baby. Anderson grows more irritated by the minute. He finally points out that the crying child needs milk. As Johnson and Baker coo and fuss over the infant and try to get him to drink some water, Anderson groans in disgust, noting they are in real trouble.
Meanwhile, Goldman and his men find the downed chopper and four dead, but Myron is unable to determine who those men are.
Johnson and Anderson decide to try to get some milk from a goat they see at a nearby farm. But the woman who owns the goat discovers them and starts hitting them with a switch, yelling in Vietnamese. The two men try to explain they only want a little milk, but she continues to hit both men with the switch till Zeke finally gets it from her. He grabs her around the waist, picking her up off her feet as she continues to yell at them, telling Johnson to take the goat and calls her a witch.
Away from the farm, Baker tries to get the baby to drink the fresh milk from his canteen. Anderson in complete disgust finally shows the guys how to do it when he rips up his towel and soaks a portion of it with the milk. He then shows Baker how to feed the baby with the milk soaked cloth.
The VC father with his companions finds the destroyed Montagnard encampment. They can see the Americans were there and continue tracking them.
Anderson and the guys are on the move again, but the baby is crying. Anderson calls Baker an idiot and finally in disgust takes the baby. Cradling the child, he says the poor thing doesn't have a hope in hell, and would have been better off if he had never been born. Later that night, they bed down in an open meadow. The infant cries and wakes them and Anderson finally gets up and walks with the child, whispering and softly singing "Baby Love" or at least his own version of it. In the background, there is a battle going on and the exploding mortar shells flash in the distance.
The next day, Anderson decides to name the infant and picks the name Judd- after a man he knew who came to the orphanages back in Idaho and looked after the kids. Johnson and Baker now realize that Anderson was an orphan too. They get ambushed as they start to cross a streambed. Losing the goat and tossing out a few grenades, they flee with the baby into a stand of bamboo, the child crying as they run. The bamboo is thick and the band of VC who ambushed them is close behind. Unfortunately, they reach a point where they can't push past the canes, and do their best to hide. Judd is still crying and Anderson is gently trying to silence him, finally placing a finger over the baby's mouth. The VC draw close enough finally for Baker to toss out a grenade and the three Americans make a run for it, finally escaping the thicket and the VC.
Later they rest up, catching their breath, and assess the situation. They are running low on ammo and the baby is now cold and shivering. Johnson makes the decision to try and lay a false trail, sending Baker and Anderson on ahead.
The embittered VC father comes across the other VC who had been chasing the American soldiers through the bamboo. Most of them are badly wounded and being attended to. The father realizes that these are the same Americans he is seeking, and continues to track them.
While Anderson and Baker keep moving, Baker complains about the baby's constant crying. Back at the stream, Johnson tries to set up a false trail before he takes off to meet up with his buddies. But the VC father is not easily fooled and picks up the real trail. When Johnson finally meets up with Anderson and Baker, the VC are right there behind them. Anderson decides he needs to buy them more time, so he gives Johnson and Baker the baby and sends them on ahead while he deals with the VC personally.
At the top of a ridge, Anderson finally meets up with Baker and Johnson. But Judd is desperately ill now and possibly dying. Anderson realizes they have few options left. They are low on ammo, the VC are not far behind and the baby can not survive much longer without proper medical attention. He decides that they had better light a signal fire and hope they get rescued before the VC find them.
They get a large brush and wood pile together and, upon seeing a Chinook in the distance, Anderson has them light up the fire while he continues to hold and comfort the sick baby. Another plane flies overhead and they wave to it. The VC meanwhile have spotted the smoke of the fire and close in on the Americans.
Minutes later, they are ambushed and Johnson is shot. Tucking the baby against the rocks, Zeke and Baker start to fire back, Zeke yelling at Johnson to talk to him. Baker manages to get next to the wounded man, yelling to Zeke that Johnson is still breathing. Telling Anderson he thinks he can get a better shot, he slips partway down the slope to a new position behind another large boulder, Zeke covering for him. A explosion nearby from an RPG blinds Baker with the debris.
Zeke is now on his own, and almost completely out of ammunition. He is also now wounded when he gets shot in the leg. Still, he manages to take down the last of the VC, with the exception of the boy's father whom he manages to wound as well. Now Zeke is completely out of ammunition. Casting around for options, he sees Baker's rifle and manages to scramble over to the weapon. The boy's father, despite being wounded himself, continues to shoot up at the outcropping. In horror, Zeke sees the bullets spraying around the infant whom he had left back at the top of the ridge.
When no more shots are being fired at him, the father makes a rush on the ridge and comes around the outcropping that the Americans had been hiding behind. But what he finds is completely unexpected. Anderson is sitting on the ground, his back to the VC, sobbing and rocking the now dead infant. He stares at Anderson, who can do nothing and so shouts his anguish and fury at the stunned man. He demands that the father look at the baby, to see what they had done. That the child had nothing and that he got nothing. "We killed him, you and me! He wasn't even a person yet!"
A Huey is now sweeping in on the position and the father looks up, confused. He has a clear opportunity to kill the man who killed his own son. Instead, he simply backs away and leaves while Anderson continues to sob and rock the dead infant.
Anderson, Baker and Johnson are rescued, but the three men are clearly affected by the death of the child. As Baker's eyes are being treated while they are on the slick, the three men hold hands, with Johnson being the one to hold the dead infant's tiny hand.
ToD Advisor's Episode Notes: I don't remember too many changes to this script. The costumers, Hollywood Raggs, enjoyed the challenge of recreating the "border print" patterns of the Montagnard costumes. The VC official, Trang, is probably the VC District Chief, as he has his own escort.This was the episode where the lady wrote the show an angry letter about the baby being killed at the end. She had only wanted an evening's entertainment and hadn't wanted to be so moved and upset by the program.
|Worth another look: Distraught not only over his two men being wounded, but by the innocent baby's death, Zeke shouts at the VC who is responsible. He no longer cares that the man could kill him, but is simply devastated by the baby's death, cradling the infant and crying in his anguish and defeat at the confused VC.|
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