Nick Wetherby’s blog

9 06 2008

Sigh. It’s always the same. One wants only to check facts for a quick replay on a forum, and gets carried away for an hour. Or two…

On IMDB Platoon site of movie connections I found following:
References: Pinocchio (1940) Moby Dick (1956)

While Moby Dick is clear (and recognized at last), what the **** Pinocchio has to do with Platoon?!? 

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Actually I was checking something for IMDB discussion, but found Ric Wetherbee Public Journal instead. Good written stories in that blog, still have to check the other entries, but actually I shall be working now… anyway, some lines:

QUOTE: (…) when assigned to Vietnam as a spec 4, and instant squad leader, (for the first time) it was evident that my bag of tricks had to change for this setting. Just how does one motivate men to risk the ultimate sacrifice, day after day trying to do something they do not wish to do in a place they do not want to be? For me, this was going to require something I had yet to invent. The Army’s way of doing it was not going to be adequate here. We had to escalate to a higher plane than simply following orders. (…)

Nearly forty years later, I should not be surprised when meeting some of these same men, that they might still hold me in contempt. I believe that those for whom I had daily life and death responsibility, understood. Others did not, and likely never will. I didn’t’ need their approval then, and while it would be nice to move on and put it behind us, I still do not.

It was a horrible, nearly impossible task we were given. We found ways to make it work.

The 1986 movie Platoon was incredibly cathartic for me. It was the first realization that I was not the only person who had made inhuman adjustments in order to find ways to lead in that setting.

While I did not shoot any of my own men, I did all the other things of the Sgt. Barnes character in the movie. In the plot, he was easily percieved as the bad guy. For me, Oliver Stone did a marvelous job of recreating this almost mystical persona who successfully drove his men to get the job done.

We were not asked to win a popularity contest. But we were also not equipped with any sane, humane way to carry out the tasks. It required finding our own way, and that’s how some of us did it. I am not saying that my choices were right, and certainly, often were not popular. But when I was scrambling to find a way to do what needed to be done, these choices worked for me.








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