The script "So Alone" is based on Jack
Cunningham's experiences of serving in the Marine Corps/ Navy Combined Action Program (CAP.) This special Civil Action/ Anti-Terrorist
unit was one of the most unique fighting contingents in America's history. Small teams of four to fourteen Marines and Navy
Corpsmen lived and served '24/7' in farming villages of sometimes thousands of peasants.
Although, the Combined Action
Program (CAP) was part of the Marines, it worked very closely with the Republic of Vietnam and received that Country's highest
unit awards for both "Gallantry and Civil Actions."
Prior to the American CAP teams taking over, many of these villages
were once under Communist physical and political control. For unknown reasons, few Americans back in the United States ever
heard from our News Media that the Communists were known and feared for their heartless tactics. But they were!
and death were regular tools they used from their arsenals for controlling their own people.
On the other hand, the Americans
of the Combined Action Program were known by the poorest of the Vietnamese poor for their kindness, friendship, help and protection.
In order to be accepted as a volunteer, an American had to have some extraordinary qualities. Qualities that would make the
(mostly teenage) Americans winners dealing with all cultures, societies and nationalities.
CAP performed many of the same
Civil Action tasks around the villages that Peace Corps members would have achieved if they were assigned. The unit daily
earned its nickname "The Peace Corps Volunteers with Rifles"
The American s' duties included everything from medical treatment
to security for the villagers. Oftentimes the Marines and Corpsmen provided extra assistance -- building bridges, schoolhouses,
wells, homes, irrigation ditches, delivering babies, breeding pigs, etc.
Well beyond what was called for in their duty
CAP supported the peasants, so much around their villages that many of the Vietnamese families adopted the young
Americans. They became anti-terrorist specialists because of their kindness to the people.
Our Navy Corpsmen treated
300 to 500 peasants a month in each of the villages. These medical services, coordinated by our Navy Corpsmen, were called
"MedCaps." These "MedCaps" were a major part of the success of the Combined Action Program.
To this day, Vietnamese
village peasants still remember the names of the American Cap Veterans, who served so proudly and faithfully in their villages.
the peasants loved and trusted the young Americans, the Communist revolutionaries despised them that much more! Only half
of the 5,000 Marines and Navy Corpsmen, who served honorably in CAP, survived the heavy combat. And 70 percent of those survivors
were hurt at least once. A full 45% of the Americans were wounded more than once.
Cap Veterans are the ultimate survivors.
terrorists were constantly thwarted by CAP Teams in their hideous campaigns to intimidate the peasants into submission. Often,
the regular Vietnamese Communist Army was called in to strike against CAP. This led to many fierce firefights, where CAP Teams
were out-manned by ten times their number.
In many cases, entire CAP Teams were wiped out to the last man, but the following
day, another CAP Team would be back in the same village.
The script "So Alone" is based on Jack Cunningham's experiences
living in the village of Phu Da, which was one of the villages outside the gates of the Fifth Marine Headquarters in An Hoa
Valley. Located about 20 miles southwest of Da Nang, the large Marine Base was located in one of the hottest combat war zones
in Vietnam. The base was surrounded by a number of notorious, Communist staging areas for thousands of dedicated North Vietnamese
Army Regulars and Viet Cong Terrorists. The Que Son Mountains, Charlie Ridge and the infamous Arizona Territory were within
easy site of Phu Da. Any Veteran, who served at An Hoa Valley, knows what type of neighborhoods the CAP Veterans of Ninth
Company; Second Cag lived and served in.
The Americans finally left Phu Da in August 1970. Seven months later, in March
1971, the Communists slaughtered the village, burning 2,000 homes and killing and wounding 250 men, women and children. Jack
Cunningham was one of the last Americans to serve in this village.
The stories surrounding the CAP program would make
a great, interesting television series. 'So Alone' is just a two (2) hour introduction. Since CAP cared daily for the village'
sick, especially the children, the story of CAP is a cross between Mash, St. ElseWhere, China Beach and a realistic Tour of
Duty. A television series on CAP will also lean a little towards "Highway to Heaven."
The "SO ALONE" script was copyrighted