It´s been more than 30 years since American troops left Vietnam, but deep in the Mississippi woods, a group of men tried to recreate the experience with role-playing.
There´s a farm outside of Jackson, Miss. where the Vietnam War never ended.
Jeff Foster led soldiers on daily patrols. Fletcher Isaacs planned an attack on the Viet Cong.
Our whole purpose is to interdict supply trains to stop the flow of supplies coming out of Cambodia,’ Isaacs said.
Here, it´s always 1968.
Each man was attempting a full retreat from modern life. For five days each summer, they report for duty in this make-believe army to remember a war many are still trying to forget.
None of the men ever fought in the Vietnam War.
I know some people that just don´t understand why I do this. But, you know these are the people that were protesting the war at the time,’ Isaacs said.
The objective of this war is authenticity. Every soldier has a role. Of the few re-enactments in the country, this is the largest. Most who come here choose to portray American soldiers.
Those who sign up to play the enemy get a discount. Several years ago, local Vietnamese groups were asked to play along for realism. They declined.
You don´t want to offend anybody. And I think people can misunderstand what we´re trying to do. To me, it´s a way to show appreciation to the veterans that were here and to kind of understand what they went through,’ said Eli Geery from Ashland City.
You can read about it. You can imagine it. You can watch movies, but until you´ve really sweated a gallon out your pores and humped a lot of weight, you don´t get the experience,’ one of the men said.
The role-playing event started five years ago. Organizers said more people have signed up for the experience each year.