BACKGROUND This is the story of just one of more than 2.7 MILLION American men and women who went to war in Vietnam resulting in more than 58,000 of them killed many thousands more wounded and all of them forever changed by their experience. One young Marine, Ron Irwin spent 13 months in Chu Lai, Republic of Vietnam. The experience was truly crazy [51-50] and it happened in The Republic of Vietnam.
One day Ron was walking down the street on which he lives in Burbank, California when he met a man by the name of Richard Perry and his brother Kyle. They began to chat and discovered many things about each other. Ron was a Vietnam veteran and so was Richard and Kyle's father. Ron had already written a book about his wild and crazy life including his 13 months in Vietnam. Ron thought that with some adjustments his book could become either a great moive or maybe a TV series. Richard agreed and as it turned out Richard was also an award winning screenwriter.
They began collaborating on "Boketto-san in Love" a movie and their work continues. But as Richard and Ron continued to work on that project it became very evident to both of them that Ron's 13 months in Vietnam could be developed into one of the most powerful stage plays of our time. Ron feels a strong need to present his vision of a terrible war and hopes that by doing so he may inspire millions of others touched by the Vietnam war to began to share their stories as well, for each man and woman who was there has their own unique view of the experience. Here then is a condensed look at where 51-50 is heading.
To help us accelerate the development of this play while at the same time helping American Vietnam War veterans we have created a very special collectible tee shirt which you may see and purchase by simply clicking on the image to the left. Buy it and three great things will happen. ONE: You will get a very cool tee shirt you can wear with pride. TWO: You will be helping Vietnam War veterans because a portion of each sale will be donated to Vietnam Veterans of America. THREE: You will receive one FREE ticket to the play when it opens. But for that you need to send an email to: email@example.com confirm your purchase and give us your contact information.
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Ron's first day in Vietnam was wildly different then the first day of his first tour in Asia. His first day on tour one was marked by great food with hot sake served by a beautiful Japanese woman. Day one in Vietnam was being decked out with lots of bullets, hand grenades, a rifle and bayonet and other 7-82 gear and then put on a airplane and flown to Chu Lai where he enjoyed some tracer rounds whizzing bye before being attacked by a Viet Cong rat. WELCOME to VIETNAM Marine. "Oh shit, what have I gotten myself into."
A Viet Cong rat attacks Ron as he lays down to sleep. His instant instinct was to stab the rat.
But as he swung his bayonet towards the rat on his chest it dawned on him that if he did that he would kill the rat and probably himself as well. So he STOPPED one second before disaster.
Welcome to Vietnam, now sleep tight and pleasant dreams.
David Hamilton interviews Ron Irwin for the Los Angeles Post Examiner.
Part One: Click below.
After 13 grueling months of basically pure hell it was Ron's very last night in Vietnam. Not long now. Soon he would awaken and then not long after gone forever would be the brutal heat, the sweltering humidity, the massive extremely aggressive mosquitos, the daily spritz of Agent Orange, the increasingly common mortar attacks and the nearly constant sound of screaming jet engines and cannon fire. YES! Tomorrow morning Ron would be FREE. But that night he wanted a small party with his tent mates. But a party, any decent party for young Marines meant beer and there was no beer at their base, no nearby 7-11 - nothing. But Ron knew that the Korean Marines had beer. So Ron simply borrowed the Colonel's jeep and headed off to try and buy some beer from his Korean Marine buddies that were billeted somewhere out there. You see there were no roads, no street signs and absolutley no lights because lights make great targets. Ron just headed off out of the compound on a beer run to some place somewhere out there. He drove along very slowly in pure darkness until suddenly his headlights revealed THIS V