Bravo! The Project - A Documentary Film

Posts Tagged ‘Quang Tri Province’

Documentary Film,Film Screenings,Khe Sanh,Marines,Vietnam War

August 23, 2012

Marines of Memphis

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The night before last, Betty and Ken Rodgers screened BRAVO! to a small but very enthusiastic group of viewers, mostly Marines from differing eras, in Bartlett, Tennessee, a “burb” as the locals call it, adjacent to Memphis. The screening was arranged by Mr. Cobb Hammond, a securities broker, military historian and writer with a lot of familial Marine Corps tradition, and Mr. Skip Funk who was at the Siege of Khe Sanh with H & S Company, 26th Marine Regiment. Skip and Ken Rodgers had the same company commander, Captain Ken Pipes, while in Vietnam, but at different times. The screening was hosted at LSI Inc., which is owned by Mr. Mason Ezzell who was a pilot in the United States Air Force and flew during the Vietnam War.

Besides arranging the screening, Cobb toured Betty and Ken around Memphis, to Beale Street, the heart of the blues music tradition of Memphis, along the Mississippi River, and also to Sun Records, owned by the late Sam Phillips, one of the birthplaces of rockabilly music. Elvis started his recording career there, as did Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Johnny Cash. Howling Wolf got one of his early recording breakthroughs at Sun. The Rolling Stones cut tunes there.

It was good to meet the men at the screening. We met a Marine who was awarded the Silver Star for action at Hue City in 1968. We met a Marine who enlisted in 1948 and served two tours in Vietnam. We met a Marine who enlisted in 1954 and served for thirty years. A veteran of the United States Air Force who attended was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his service in Vietnam. Mr. Barry Hart, Marine from Paris, Tennessee, attended. Barry was an early supporter of BRAVO! and personally knows one of the men in the film, Mike McCauley. While Skip Funk was trapped in Khe Sanh with Ken Rodgers and the other Marines and Navy Corpsmen in the film, his father took a voluntary special assignment and left Washington, DC, to fly B-52s out of Guam over Khe Sanh. Father was covering son. He was covering us all.

Most of the Marines who attended the screening are affiliated with the Walter K. Singleton Detachment of the Marine Corps League. Walter K. Singleton was a Bartlett/Memphis native who was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions on March 24, 1967 while serving with the 1st Battalion, 9th Marines in Quang Tri Province. The Walter K Singleton Detachment of the Marine Corps League also was an early supporter of BRAVO!

After the screening, a number of the viewers rose from their seats and made various comments about war, Vietnam, democracy, the film. After the film, Betty and Ken discussed how these spontaneous moments of dialogue gratify the effort put into creating this piece of history, film, art.

Special thanks to the Walter K. Singleton Detachment of the Marine Corps League, to Mr. Mason Ezzel, to Skip Funk and especially to Mr. Cobb Hammond.