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In September 1971, a platoon of recruits arrives in Ft. Polk, LA, for infantry training before leaving for war. The final week takes place in Tigerland, a swamp similar to Vietnam. Jim Paxton has enlisted; he wants to experience everything and write books later. He befriends Roland Bozz, a cool Texan with a gift for getting into trouble and for helping misfits get discharges. At least one sociopath in the platoon hates Bozz, even as the sergeants grudgingly recognize his leadership abilities. As the platoon heads into its week in Tigerland, Paxton's body gives out, Bozz makes plans to go AWOL, and the sociopath gets hold of live ammo. Is the Louisiana swamp more dangerous than the DMZ? Written by
Fairly authentic and very much like Fort Polk in the early 70s.
While it was filmed at a Florida National Guard site, "Tigerland" totally reminded me of Fort Polk, LA., firing ranges, maneuver areas, waist-deep water and all. The movie was fairly authentic and the characters similar to those same ones at my AIT in 1974. The difference between the Tigerland year, 1971, and mine of 1974 is all the drill sergeants and instructors knew they weren't going back to Vietnam, as it was pretty much all over, so training was very relaxed - not a challenge at all. That was the precursor to all our troubles in the 70s and 80s, which I know for a fact as I stayed in until 2004. I never heard anyone mention "Tigerland" but the Army did have realistic Vietnam training villages at different bases across the U.S. Vietnam Vets tell me that up to 1972 Basic & AIT could be pretty rough and rugged, because the trainers had been there and were mandated to train Vietnam-bound men those skills to make it, although that was not always the case. Both a drill sergeant at Polk and later one of my Vietnam Vet NCOs, when we had become instructors at a basic training brigade at Fort Bliss, told me there was nothing they could do to get anyone ready and people just had to find out and figure out for themselves. This movie rates high.
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