The 101st Airborne Division, or the Screaming Eagles, is a fictional team of US Army soldiers from the 1987 film Hamburger Hill based on the real exploits of US troops in the Battle of HIll 937 in May 1969. Hill 937 was nicknamed "Hamburger Hill" because the sheer amount of fire that the NVA sent down after the Americans turned the oncoming soldiers into raw hamburger meat. The Screaming Eagles did manage to take Hill 937 after an exhausting three-day battle and several casualties sustained - although the film does exaggerate the amount of American KIAs, it was one hell of a fight. Ultimately, the leadership of Lt. Terry Eden and the sheer willpower of the small band of troops (along with the technological advantages of the U.S. forces) allows them to drive the NVA from the top of Hill 937 and make Hamburger Hill an American hill.
Battle vs. Lusthog Squad (by El Alamein and Lasifer)
"An' it's one, two, three, what are we fightin' for? Don't ask me, I don't give a damn, next stop is Viet Nam!"
"Hey Alphabet, get your ass over here!" Private Joseph Beletsky smiles as he sits next to Motown's radio, Country Joe MacDonald's Fixin' to Die Rag playing loud and clear for all to hear. Beletsky holds his M16 loosely at his side and picks at his teeth with his combat knife. Private Vincent Languilli sighs to himself as he gets up from his comfortable corner away from the rest of the squad. Walking over to Beletsky, Languilli asks, "What is it now, man?"
Smirking, Beletsky asks, "Hey guys, know why there's a hooting noise comin' from Alphabet over here?"
"I'm not hooting - " Languilli begins, but Beletsky finishes, "Because of all the v-owls!" The squad erupts into laughter, and Languilli smiles in spite of himself. "Sit down, brother, join the crew!"
"And it's five, six, seven, open up the Pearly Gates! Well, ain't no time to wonder why! Whoopee! We're all gonna die."
As the soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division, the "Screaming Eagles," talk, joke, and relax, their squad leader Lieutenant Terry Eden talks on the radiophone to headquarters. His men were going to go and try to assault "Hill 937," some distant dot on a map supposedly held by NVA soldiers - although Eden doubted it. But now, they were reassigned and were moving out from the jungle to head into the inner city - Hue. Eden didn't like the sound of that. During the Tet Offensive, early the year previous, Viet Cong forces made an enormous assault on the city and took it for three weeks. Eden would rather sit nice and pretty on a hill than have to worry about holding an entire city - especially when the enemy was disguised as the shoeshine boy or local grocer on every corner.
The Battle of Hue has been long and bloody so far, and the last thing the Lusthog Squad needs is to bring one of their own back in a body bag. With Crazy Earl dead, and Cowboy in command, it was time to scout the area.
“So you wanna go into combat, Rafterman? Well, too bad! Take some photos of us kickin' ass!” Animal Mother yells, armed with his M60 and gum in his mouth, there was no stopping this force of nature.
“Gentlemen, we're taking Hue. We're the Lusthog Squad. We're life-takers and heart-breakers. We shoot 'em fulla holes and fill 'em fulla lead! ” Cowboy, the new leader of the group, exclaimed, and armed with their rifles, the Lusthog Squad went into Hue City hoping for something more, but getting something less. The city looks like a post-apocalyptic mess that needed cleaning. The Hogs were going to give it that – one gook at a time.
“All right, men, saddle up! Pack your toothbrushes, your guns, and the pictures of your girlfriends, because we’re headed to Hue!” Eden announces to his men as they sit in the dirt. Groaning, the Eagles respond with a mix of profanities and woeful lamentations, but they obediently begin to gather their belongings and head towards the helipad.
Sergeant Adam Frantz hangs back and approaches Eden cautiously. “Hue City?” he asks. “Man… damn Commies hit there, what, a year ago? Why do we have to head over there?”
Eden looks over his shoulder and sighs as he sees his men cheerfully talk and load up on the Hueys. “There’s a group of crazy bastards rampaging across the city…” he mutters. “Our men. We’re being sent in to … apprehend ‘em.”
The ghost of a smile appears on Frantz’s lips. “You’re kidding! We’re babysitting? Ha!” Relaxing, Frantz slings his M-16 rifle over his shoulder and turns back to get aboard one of the Hueys. Eden watches his friend go, but anxiety still paints his face.
“In this dirty old part of the city... where the sun refuses to shine…. People tell me there ain’t no use in tryin’.”
The music blares from the loudspeakers on the Huey transport choppers as they make their way over the tops of peaceful Hue city, still damaged from the ferocious battle that took place there about a year ago.
“Now my girl you’re so young and pretty, and one thing I know is true… you’ll be dead before your time is due.”
Alphabet leans back in the chopper and sings along to We’ve Gotta Get Out of This Place by the Animals.
“WATCH MY DADDY IN BED AND DYIN’! WATCH HIS HAIR BEEN TURNIN’ GRAY – YEAH! HE’S BEEN WORKING AND SLAVIN’ HIS LIFE AWAY! OH YES I KNOW!” Burly machine gunner Duffy strums an air guitar and the two join together in an off-key melody: “WE’VE GOTTA GET OUT OF THIS PLACE! IF IT’S THE LAST THING WE E-EVER DO! WE’VE GOTTA GET OUT OF THIS PLACE! Girl, there’s a better life for me and you!”
The choppers kick up dust and blow nearby palm trees violently around and they descend slowly on landing pads. Marines in dark green fatigues wave them down. Over the roar of the rotors and the blare of the music, Frantz and Eden step out and meet the Marine.
“Papers?” the soldier shouts, squinting.
“We’re the 101st,” Eden says. “We’re ready for business.”
The Lusthog Squad stomps through the broken-down Hue city, guns blazing at the NVA gooks in the city. A boom box radio sits on the cracked cobblestone ground and plays out Sympathy for the Devil by the Rolling Stones. Eightball sits next to the radio and turns the volume dial up and down repeatedly, sending the music crashing through the city in loud waves followed by brief spells of silence.
"Please allow me to introduce myself..."
Two Vietnamese men appear around a corner and stop in shock as they spot the Lusthog Squad soldiers, who instantly train their rifles on the civilians. Pleading in rapid Vietnamese, the men drop to their knees and wail in fear.
"Well, well little gooks..." Animal Mother says, towering over the Vietnamese civilians, with his finger on the trigger on his large, black gun.
"Get out of my way!" He follows up with a yell, pulls the trigger, and the 7.62x51mm NATO rounds tear through their chests like nothing, Animal Mother walks around their gibbed-corpses, leading the rest of the squad.
"...I'm a man of wealth, and taste..."
A Vietnamese woman peeps timidly from a second-story window, tears streaming down her face in fear. Unable to stifle a cry, she, too, attracts the attention of the rampaging Americans below.
"What the fuck!" Animal Mother yells, blood spattered all over him. Cowboy looks up, spots the woman’s figure looking out the window, and sprays his M16 up at her. The bullets miss and her terrified form disappears back into the building. “Give me a LAW rocket,” mutters Cowboy. “I’ll flush this gook out.”
“I’ve been around for a long, long time, stole many a man’s soul and faith…”
"God dammit..." Cowboy mutters. Squinting and looking down the road, he notices a group of soldiers approaching with American weapons. Turning briefly to spit, he looks up and grunts, “Who sent the prima-donna squad over here? We’ve got it under control.”
The soldiers are the Screaming Eagles. Eden approaches Cowboy and says, “Who’s in charge here?”
“Not anymore. You’ve caused far too much trouble over here, and my men are going to escort you back to base.” Eden jabs a finger into Cowboy’s chest, pushing him back a few steps. Cowboy retaliates by slamming the butt of his M16 across Eden’s chin. Blood flies from Eden’s mouth and he stumbles back into his own men. Duffy steps forward and lowers his M60 machine gun at the Lusthog Squad. “Careful, piece of shit,” he growls. “I’m not afraid to turn this gun on you.”
“Wait!” Frantz steps forward and holds up his arms. “This isn’t how this is supposed to go! Just put down your weapons, EVERYONE, and let’s get back to base!”
“We’re not going anywhere,” Animal Mother says. “You know what I think, Cowboy?”
“These motherfuckers picked the wrong damn fight!” Animal Mother pulls the trigger on the M60 and sweeps it down at his waist, spraying the Screaming Eagles. As the shocked 101st Division scrambles for cover, several of the soldiers are thrown into the air and chopped up by the massive machine-gun rounds. x3
“Please to meet you, hope you guess my name! But what’s puzzlin’ you is the nature of my game!”
Duffy holds his ground and returns fire with his M60, killing two of the Lusthog Squad soldiers and destroying the radio. x2 Eden crouches behind a low brick wall and grabs Frantz’s radio as the sergeant takes wild shots with his M16. “Those bastards are shooting at us!” he screams. “Send air support, ASAP!”
Private Frank Gaigin of the Eagles runs up to cover Duffy’s retreat and takes a bullet to the stomach, shattering his midsection. Falling back in shock, he lands in the arms of “Doc” Johnson, who’s already trying to deal with another wounded soldier. “Crazy fools!” Motown shouts next to Doc, as he drops off shots from his M79. The explosions tear across the narrow street, and another Lusthog Squad member falls to the floor, killed by the blast. A random shot from a LAW rocket streaks overhead and blows a chunk out of an office building above the Eagles, raining massive hunks of concrete and debris. Coughing under the dust, the Eagles try to regroup as they fall back in disarray. The Lusthog Squad pushes forward viciously, M16s and M60s ablaze with fire, spewing lead left and right. Private Elliott McDaniel of the Eagles stands up and pulls his arm back to throw a grenade, but is riddled through his body and falls back dead. The live grenade rolls to the floor and comes to a stop next to Doc, working on Gaigin. The wounded soldier next to Gaigin is now dead.
“Grenade!” Doc screams in horror. He stoops over to pick up the grenade and lobs it as high as he can back at the Lusthog Squad, but the grenade blows up in midair, harming no one.
Donlon and Rafterman take cover behind a torn-apart brick wall away from the ensuing firefight between the two military squads. A 101st Division Squad Member shoots Cowboy in his left shoulder with an M16 as he is closing in on the Lusthog's Squad cover.
"AHHHHG! FUCK! GOD DAMMIT! DOC JAY, RAFTERMAN, FUCKING HELP ME!" Cowboy drops his M16 rifle onto the bloody pavement and takes cover behind a crate, clenching his wounded shoulder with his right hand. He pulls out his M1911 handgun with his left hand and hopes for the best. Rafterman and Donlon hear his cries and load their weapons. Donlon unloads his handgun's magazine into an Eagle squad member, before being pelted with bullets to the stomach by another 101st Division member armed with an AK-47.
Rafterman takes cover with Cowboy and reloads his M14, noticing Doc Jay hiding in the doorway of a nearby building.
"Doc Jay, we need you! Cowboy is injured! Shot in the shoulder!" Rafterman yells, getting the Doctor's attention, Doc Jay looks Private Rafterman's way and grabs his M1911A1, rushing over to his squad mates.
"Rafterman, help me get Cowboy up and get him inside the building I came from. I'll need you two to cover me with your guns!" Doc Jay orders, yelling over the massive amount of gunfire hailing left and right from both sides. Rafterman fires his M14 while Doc Jay limps over to the nearby building with Cowboy. Rafterman manages to injure two Eagles before being executed with a bullet to the heart.
(Eagles, 14 men alive. Lusthog, 15 men alive)
As the Lusthog Squad fires from cover, the burly figure of Duffy appears down the alley, sprinting as he fires his M60 at the hip. The bullets chip at the buildings and send sharp concrete fragmentation raining down on the Lusthog Squad. Duffy hops over a low wall and shoots at several shocked Lusthog Squad members, ripping them apart. x2 Their corpses fly back and lie tattered in the street. Duffy has attracted a lot of enemy fire, though, and round after round slaps into his massive chest and arms. The 5.56 rounds lack stopping power, and in his rage, Duffy presses onward, Galvan following close behind. Galvan aims down his sights at a fleeing Lusthog member and fires a few rounds into his back, but the injured warrior pushes through the pain and disappears into a doorway. Galvan stops and prepares to throw a grenade into the doorway, but Duffy keeps pushing forward.
A bloop from an M79 grenade launcher echoes across the battlefield, and explodes behind Duffy. Galvan is thrown to the side, riddled with shrapnel. The live grenade rolls from his hands and lies in the street – and the explosion kills the man hiding in the doorway. Duffy bursts in on Doc Jay and the injured Cowboy, and he grins as he lowers the M60 and presses the trigger – but his belt of ammunition jams at the most inopportune of times. Recovering quickly, Duffy swings the barrel and cracks Doc Jay in the jaw, but Cowboy’s M1911 provides sufficient stopping power to injure the hulking brute. Duffy stumbles back and grabs at his stomach, right in time for a second shot that shatters his skull, throwing brain matter across the wall.
Doc Jay wipes his bloody mouth and jaw onto his sleeve, gets off the grimy floor of the building, picks up his M16, and dusts it off. He and Cowboy look at the bloodied corpse of Duffy on the ground before hearing footsteps and gunfire closing in on them, they turn around and delve deeper into the building for cover.
Lieutenant Eden and Sergeant Frantz of the Eagles are spearheading the massive counterattack. Worcester is following close behind. The dust from the explosions is thick in the air, though, and several of the Eagles are separated from their group, including Alphabet and Bienstock . Animal Mother’s imposing figure looms out from the dusty fog, the big M60 barrel pointing down into the two Eagles’ faces. Alphabet screams moments before his stomach is blasted out of his body and onto the wall behind him. He stumbles back, wailing in agony, clutching at his insides. Bienstock raises his M16 and unloads the clip into Animal Mother, who stumbles backwards and falls over a low wall, feet sticking up in the air. Bienstock drops his weapon and rushes over to Alphabet, who’s choking on his blood and gasping for air.
“Alphabet! You’re gonna be okay man, just… just hang on,” Bienstock manages to tell his friend. Doc Johnson is passing by and Bienstock pulls him to the side, but the medic shakes his head. “It’s too late for him.” Bienstock closes his eyes and lowers his head, gripping Alphabet’s hand tightly as his friend fades away.
Bienstock stands back up and picks up his discarded weapon, grabbing a fresh magazine and slapping it in his M16. “Let’s finish this, Doc.”
Cowboy, Doc Jay, and Eightball have slipped back into the rubble of a building and watch as several of their men are mowed down moving from cover to cover. x 5 Aiming down the sights with his rifle, Eightball kills an injured Eagle with a shot to the neck. The Eagle stumbles back and falls to the ground, blood fountaining from the wound.
“The shots are coming from over there!” a voice cries out. A grenade lands next to their position. Cowboy stands up and lobs the grenade away from his position – right at several of his other men. They shout and pick it up but the grenade blows up. x 3
Hue grows quiet as the echo of the explosion dies out. The crunching footsteps of the approaching Eagles alerts the hidden Lusthog Squad members to their whereabouts. Doc Jay breathes quietly into his hand to stay quiet, but Eightball and Cowboy pop up and let loose with freshly-loaded M16’s. The Eagles are taken by surprise, thinking the battle is won. Exhausted, confused, and demoralized, the rounds tear through the shocked GI’s and scatter their blood to the four winds. x 8 The only survivors are Lieutenant Eden, Sergeant Frantz, and Sergeant Worcester. The Lusthog Squad hits the dirt as soon as their magazines are empty and they bury their heads into the rubble.
“Show your goddamn heads, assholes!” Frantz snaps, raging at the open air. “I’ll blow your fucking heads off!” He throws a grenade randomly down the street in rage. It explodes, lonely and quiet, and silence resumes. “Piece of shit cowards!”
Debris flares up Eightball’s nose. In spite of himself, he can’t stifle a cough.
“Little fucker, hiding in the dirt.” Frantz points to the Lusthog Squad’s hiding spot.
“Stand up.” Eden says wearily. “Just… stand up. This ends now.”
The Lusthog Squad members put down their weapons and raise their hands high in the air. Eden moves forward to apprehend them, but Frantz’s anger takes control and he blasts the Lusthog Squad down with his M16. x3 The corpses shake as the bullets hammer their bodies, and they fall prone in the dust. The Eagles are in a sea of spent casings and blood, discarded magazines and brain matter. The stench is all but unbearable.
Eden turns to reprimand Frantz, but can’t find the strength to do so. Collapsing to his knees, he coughs violently, heaving an empty stomach out onto the street. Frantz slumps, blank-eyed, staring into the distance. Worcester looks around, past the empty alley, and up at the gray sky.
From somewhere out beyond where the battle raged, a lone Vietnamese child squats in a shelled-out building with a sniper’s scope. The three Americans make perfect targets standing still. A first shot knocks Worcester over a pile of rubble and leaves him lying still. Eden looks up, on his hands and knees, and takes a bullet through his eyes. Frantz, hunched over, looks up, and his eyes rest on the spot where the sniper lies. The child shakes and a tear escapes her eyes as the American stares at her. Unable to suppress a sob, the sniper throws down the rifle and disappears back into the building.
Sergeant Adam Frantz sits alone surrounded by corpses. A rock tumbles down a pile of bricks and rests at his feet. Looking up, he spots a bird of prey circling overhead. He closes his eyes and goes to sleep.
It was a very close battle - I mean super close. The weapons weren't the deciding factor here though - the Eagles were more mentally fit to fight a war and with superior leadership in Eden and Frantz, they were able to hold their ground even under murderous fire. While they proved to be savage opponents, the Lusthog Squad wasn't able to match up to the discipline of the Eagles.