"Gun Trucks of Vietnam"
Premieres Sunday, November 11 at 9 PM ET/PT on Smithsonian Channel
The one-hour special GUN TRUCKS OF VIETNAM explores the ingenuity of American servicemen and the ongoing legacy of one of America’s fiercest fighting units. Featured is rare audio and exclusive never-before-televised 8mm films – some shot directly by soldiers during combat.
GUN TRUCKS OF VIETNAM reveals the incredible story of the U.S. Army gun truckers, innovative young men who were assigned trucks that were woefully under-equipped for protecting vital convoys. They scavenged parts and weapons to turn these unarmed trucks into five-ton killing machines during the Vietnam War. The truckers were tasked with leading and protecting convoys – groups of men, vehicles, equipment and supplies – that were the lifeblood of U.S. Army camps spread throughout Vietnam. The gun truck crews were the first convoy drivers ever to be on the front lines, making them prime enemy targets. They played a vital role in the war and engaged in battle at iconic locations like the An Khe Pass and Ho Chi Minh Trail.
The program introduces viewers to the soldiers who served, the trucks they built and the battles they fought. It also highlights Vietnam vets who have built accurate replicas of the trucks and are driving them on America’s roads today. Veteran gun truckers share their untold stories of battle, illustrated by originally shot, previously unseen color footage, to reveal powerful acts of bravery in the face of life-changing events. GUN TRUCKS OF VIETNAM also highlights how gun truck soldiers changed the war in Vietnam and how their legacy continues to save lives in Iraq and Afghanistan. Today’s new generation of American soldiers studies the role of gun trucks as part of their training to develop new strategies and military technology, such as the hunter box, based on lessons learned from these legendary Vietnam warriors.