The Siege of Firebase Gloria (1989)

 

 

Director:  Brian Trenchard-Smith

Starring:  Wings Hauser (Cpl. Joseph L. 'Nard' DiNardo), R. Lee Ermey (Sgt. Maj. Bill Hafner/Narrator), Robert Arevalo (NVA Col. Cao Van), Mark Neely (Pvt. Murphy), Garrison Hershberger (Capt. A.J. 'Bugs' Moran, chopper pilot), Clyde Jones (Pvt. 'Shortwave' Coates), Margi Gerard (Capt. Kathy Flanagan, MD), Richard Kuhlman (Ghost), John Calvin (Capt. Williams, CO), Albert Popwell (1st Sgt. Jones), Michael Cruz (Vietnamese Child), Erich Hauser (Spider, patrol member), Guel Romero (Hauk, patrol member), Don Wilson (patrol member), Nick Nicholson (Combat Photographer).

one unit caught in the Tet Offensive

 

This is an o.k. war movie.  A unit led by Sgt. Major Bill Hafner (R. Lee Ermey) and his right hand man, Corporal Joseph L. "Nard" DiNardo (Wings Hauser) come upon An Lap Village only to find signs of a massacre: heads of villagers on stakes and dead bodies stacked in a corner.  They conclude that this is the work of the local Viet Cong and grow suspicious:  something is coming down.   This is confirmed when they received information reporting heavy enemy troop movement in the area.

They head over to Firebase Gloria only to find it in a totally disorganized state with a totally incompetent commanding officer.  Their reports of heavy troop movement falls on deaf ears.  So what do our heroes do?  They fake an attack on the firebase by firing off grenades from a couple of grenade launchers and then fire one onto the headquarters of the commanding officer.  The CO is wounded enough to take him out of action.  And so the Sgt. Major becomes the CO. 

The new CO moves quickly to organize an effective defense.  And this is certainly needed for they face 5 to 1 odds against the Viet Cong Dong Nigh (spelling?) Regiment during the Tet Offensive.  And the question becomes, will the firebase survive against such odds. 

 

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.


Historical Background:

 

see Full Metal Jacket (1987)

 

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