Sergeant Major Franklin Dennis Jones spent 77 days at an army base that was continuously bombarded by the North Vietnamese. And Julie Richardson is shooting a film about it.
Would you sacrifice your life for the enemy?
That was the predicament in which two marines found themselves one fateful night in Khe Sanh.
On January 20th, 1968 at the height of hostilities during the Vietnam War, a North Vietnamese officer walked onto the Marine base at Khe Sanh, Vietnam and surrendered. Angry at being passed over for a promotion, the now prisoner confided to Army intelligence the nature of enemy strength just outside their lines. Rather than the small force that US intel thought to be skirting the hills surrounding their base, the North Vietnamese Army had amassed multiple divisions and enough ammunition to continuously bombard this small outpost, day in, day out, around the clock for six months. And when was this major offensive being launched? That very night.
This is the beginning of the Siege of Khe Sanh.
GUARDING CHARLIE, a film in the making, is the tale of the two Marines who stood watch over this valuable prisoner from the barrage of forces both within and without of Khe Sanh until he could be flown out the next morning.
For seventy-seven days, the North Vietnamese hammered the Khe Sanh combat base with continuous ground, artillery, mortar and rocket fire. Even Operation Niagara, a huge aerial bombardment campaign by the Americans did little to help the besieged Marines. None the less, the forces at Khe Sanh held strong. Eventually a combination of US and South Vietnamese troops were able to break through the North Vietnamese line and relieve the battered Marines.
Director Julie Richardson salutes her friend, Sergeant Major Franklin Dennis Jones (Ret.), on whose story this is based and who now suffers long-term effects from Agent Orange, and of all those who have in the past and those who today continue to serve; this story honors you all.