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Walking Dead--The Facts Behind the Story

This film is entirely a work of fiction. It's interesting, however, to note that the writer and director was himself a United States Marine - although not a combat veteran - and may well have chosen the title from the nickname of the 1st Battalion, 9th Marines, a combat unit of the 3rd Marine Division, which was known far and wide as 'The Walking Dead.'

The 9th Marines was one of the first Marine Corps combat units sent to Vietnam in 1965. They made the peaceful landing at Danang expecting enemy resistance and were instead met by gaggles of schoolgirls bearing flowers as well as a horde of civilian journalists. It was about the only peaceful operation the 9th Marines experienced in Vietnam. Of the regiment's three battalions (1/9, 2/9 and 3/9) the first battalion always seemed to be the hard-luck outfit. They got the tough jobs up around the DMZ where they were in regular bloody contact with fresh units of NVA moving south to reinforce the Viet Cong. Legend and lore in the Marine Corps during the Vietnam War held that if you wanted to see action, you went up on the DMZ. If you wanted to get your ass shot off, you went with 1/9, The Walking Dead.