Very much appreciate that you took time out to respond to my recent e-mails to you.
I'd like to add that the friend referred to in "Letter To A Friend" is Bill Henry, a former Platoon Commander of our 2nd Platoon, Hotel Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Regiment of the Marine Corps 3rd Division. Bill, along with his fine lady, Maureen, live in Starkville , Mississippi , met in Millington, Tennessee  after he suffered severe wounds in a helicopter crash along Vietnam 's DMZ. After having been medevac'd for surgery, Bill was later sent to Millington's hospital which was nearest to his home for recuperation. Maureen, a commissioned Navy Lieutenant and registered nurse, tended to Bill's wounds during his stay, a romance began & they married not long afterwards.... It is their story of which has prompted me to completely re-write my original screenplay of * GRUNTS * and to add a Navy nurse to the scenario... The "AMERICAN ANGELS" of the Vietnam war were the "Nurses" (Of All Branches), "Red Cross Workers", "THE USO" & "Donut Dollys"...!!! 

About my biographical sketch, hope you do not mind that that I feel more comfortable using your submission form as a guide (Printed & posted upon my desk). 

To begin, Hi, my name is Michael Regan. A graduate of Hicksville High School 's Class of 1966. My former spouse, though we've again begun to date and can now be regarded as a partners, is Suzan Lavery. We were not classmates at Hicksville High School . Suzy graduated from Syosset High School . Suzy and I married on June 24, 1972 until 2014.
We met a few weeks after I had returned from Vietnam in February, 1969 when I accepted, along with my parents, an invitation to visit by the Lavery family in Syosset. Once again, I expressed my condolences at the loss of their son, and brother, Gregg Lavery. Gregg was a great friend and a great machine gunner with 2nd Battalion, 4th Regiment of the Marine Corps 3rd Division who lost his life in a fire-fight near Qua Viet in March of 1968. I had sent a written expression of condolence from Vietnam at that time. We had gone through training together at Parris Island , S.C. , infantry training at Camp Lejeune , N.C. and Guerilla Warfare Training at Camp Pendleton 's Las Pulgas, California ... Some months after the visit to the Lavery home, Suzy's dad, Gene, sent me an invitation to his new bar opening, "Gene's Sand Bar" in Freeport ... Suzy was at that grand opening and a romance began to blossom. Into something that was, and is happening again, pretty cool...!
We have two sons... Gregory, who with his fine lady, Stephanie, have given us two granddaughters, Samantha, age 4, & Allison, 1... Timothy, with his fine lady, Meredith have given us a granddaughter, Alexandra, age 7, and Harrison, 3...
That Thomas Wolfe Quote, "You Can Never Go Back Home Again", is absolute B.S... Back in good 'ole Hicksville again, after a foray in California of close to a decade... And loving every minute of it...!!!

O.K., I can now admit. My favorite place to meet friends during school break between classes was just outside that gate near the shop classes for a smoke. After school was the Sweet Shoppe down in town next to the Bakery...
Favorite teacher, hands down, was Mr. Salver, who taught "American History"... He was one of those few teachers we ran into during those wonderful years who absolutely loved his job and it very much showed... His students responded likewise... Very much doubt that Mr. Salver had to fail anyone in his classes... A "Class Act", indeed...!!!

Favorite Non-Academic activity of mine at Hicksville High School  actually started while in Grammar School at Saint Ignatius Loyola on Broadway. For a mere $3.00 you could purchase a "Full Summer" pass to both the gym & and outdoor facilities... Mr. Hogan, who would later become the Principle of Greg & Tim's classes, would usually officiate. We kids would spend about four of five hours playing Indoor basketball, trampoline, rope climbing, weights and Outdoor track & field, tennis, hand-ball against that huge cement wall of which still stands or, when you wanted a bit of solitude, whacking a tennis ball back & forth with a racket against that same wall. And even "Archery", adult instructor included, nestled within that grassy alcove to the left of the science & chemistry labs... An absolute shame for the kids of today's Hicksville that the program, for whatever reason, was discontinued... Ran like a charm, though, I believe into the early 60's... Hope some re-thinking takes place at the School Board and the program is "Re-Opened"

My education beyond High School was only 12 credits, Business Marketing & Management. from CW Post College as Hess offered me a gasoline franchise in Oceanside , L.I.

Served in the United States Marine Corps, primarily as an infantryman, half of that tour as a corporal & a squad leader, mostly within the jungles along Vietnam 's DMZ. Received my Honorable Discharge in July of 1970...

My hobbies & pastimes include jogging, where you'll find me once or twice a week jogging for a few hours, usually starting at about 1:00 AM in the morning, at the Hicksville Junior High Track... "I've got the whole track to myself because no one is allowed on the track after dusk... "Hey, I won't tell if you don't...!!!" (LOL)... Golf is my next love in sports... Not that great at it, but simply love being out there with some pals. Brings me back to a wonderful time of my early to mid teens caddying at the Muttontown Golf & Country Club on 25A. The experience taught me all about etiquette, the wonderful beauty of silence, how to enjoy guzzling a quart or two of ice-cold water at the drinking fountains located throughout the course, courtesy (Carrying the other caddy's bags to the next tee while he tended the pin) and even picking up a few pointers on the game while caddying for Muttontown's PGA Pro, Hicksville's own Frank Zeray, and whoever his student might be... Have to admit that those nickel/dime blackjack games back at the caddy yard between loops were fun, too...

Making a long story a bit longer, my hobbies include picking on a Fender T-Bucket Electric Acoustic guitar while watching either the New York Yankees or the New York Giants taking on an opponent. Favorite hobby is reading. My sons turned me onto "Kindle" over a year ago and having a ball with it. My own favorite genre is mystery/suspense (My dad got me rolling really young with all those "Hardy Boys" novels he would give to my two brothers and I). The prices are great at "Amazon" and when you purchase a book on-line the book appears on your Kindle in under five seconds (!!!)... Lotsa' freebies, too...
One thing no one knows about me...??? I often go to my yearbook, turn to our Principle, Mr. Galloway's yearbook address to our Class Of 1966.... Here it is, in it's entirety:
 
 Our great United States , as never before, bears the mantle of leadership and that leadership is not a luxury, but rather a great responsibility, a great burden and a heavy duty. The words of our Declaration of Independence , "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness", should have for all of you a real meaning. That you as a graduate of Hicksville High School and not just the national leaders should prove your leadership by continuing your personal responsibility for the stewardship of human freedom. It is difficult to think of a more fundamental contribution your class can make in a free society. Another contribution should be the instilling in your selves of a spirit of public happiness found in your hearts and in the hearts of your children that will insure the ultimate victory of free men in their struggle against the forces of oppression. Remember us kindly and may "God Bless You And Care For You Always"
Leon J. Galloway
HHS Principal
Since 1957

Now the hard one... Tell us what we need to know.

My first thought which comes to mind is to share what my parents never, ever spoke, within that wonderful Cape Cod we all shared as a family home at 11 Marvin Avenue here in Hicksville . From the day I was born until I left at age 22, what it was that I, and my five sisters & brothers, never heard from our parents was an ethnic or religious slur in any way, shape or form... Many of us, myself included, have slipped from time but, speaking for myself, within seconds I catch myself as my memory diverts back to my home life while growing up in Hicksville...

The many facets of which makes up each of us as individual "Americans", including our ancestral roots, the many fine cultures of which our families both represent and have contributed to these United States Of America... Whether it be our Ethnicities, Religions, Experiences in Life or be it of Artistry in Architecture, Invention, Labor, Fine & Decent Moral Ethics & Manners, Music, Poetry, Entertainment, Culinary, etc., basically, we are all here for the same reason. That being, and to borrow From Mr. Galloway's address to Hicksville High School Class Of 1966, "Life, Liberty And The Pursuit Of Happiness"
Can you imagine what it would be like if, at this very moment in time, every child could enter his or her home knowing that they will never, ever hear from their parents an ethnic or religious slur...??? Or a slur against any other categories I've fore mentioned... Heck, it worked quite well on Hicksville 's Marvin Avenue ... See absolutely no reason why it couldn't  work "EVERYWHERE"...       
And wouldn't it be awesome if our entertainment industries, including, Motion Picture, "TELEVISION", Journalism, Radio, Music, Writing, etc., actually cleaned up both their vocabulary "AND" actions & joined the movement...!!! We parents & grandparents could actually, and safely, send our children off to the Saturday Matinee's knowing that there are many, many "G" rated films for them, including us as parents & grandparents... Would even be greater if we parents & grandparents could let our children safely sit in front of a television set because of all the "Family Entertainment"     
 Go Comets...!!!
Michael Regan

 

PS...My Former Wife, Suzy, And I, Early 70's, Lakeside On Eastern Long Island's Hamptons ...
Photograph (Below) Was Snapped At A Time Before A Vicious Liberal Media Turned The Tide Against Anyone & Anybody Who Was Connected To The War In Vietnam ... Though My Own "Family" Experienced, No Doubt Along With Many, Many Other "Families", While Seeking To Defend Their Sons Honor, Much Of The Onslaught Of That Media Attack, Which Has "Not Fully" Abated, Suzy's "Lavery Family", As Did Many, Many Other "Families", Amid Inconceivable Grief, Pain And Mourning, Experienced The Absolute Brunt Of That Media Travesty...
Our Marriage Would Also Fall Victim
The Lavery Family's Son, Gregg Lavery, Suzy's Brother & My Good Friend, An Incredible Marine, Machine Gunner And Just An All Around "Great Guy", Lost His Life During A Fire-Fight Near Qua Viet, Vietnam's DMZ, On March 18th Of 1968 While Serving With The Marine Corps 2ND Battalion, 4TH Regiment Of The Marine Corps 3RD Division... 
May Your Wonderful "Living Spirit", Gregg, Be "Safe", "Happy" & "Secure" As You Await Your Re-Crossing Of The "Great Divide"... I'll Be Standing By With An Ice Cold Six-Pack Of Coors...
Your Pal
& "Semper Fidelis"
Mike

 

 

 

* GRUNTS *

 

LOG LINE: The Romance Between A Journalist Professor, J.J. McCourt, And A Registered Nurse, Jeanie Layne, of A New York University , Circa 1968, Sours As Events And Politics Of The Vietnam War Overtake Their Otherwise Tranquil Relationship And Further Events Put Them Both Within The Vietnam War Zone.

CONTACT INFO:
Michael Regan
6 Jefferson Avenue
Hicksville, Long Island , New York 11801
Telephone: (516) 342- 6874
E-Mail: freedomhill69@hotmail.com

 

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Though The Motion Picture Is "Fictional" In Nature, The Photograph, Displayed below, Provided The "Inspiration". Just A Few Of The Incredible United States Marines From Hotel Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Regiment (2/3) Of The Marine Corps 3rd Division I Was Lucky Enough & Fortunate Enough To Have Served With In Vietnam.

 

Top Row (Left To Right)
Larry Swink, Winterton, Frank Costanzo, Ramon "Poncho" Arroyo, Dave "Sgt Bro" Brombaugh, James Vaughan...
Bottom Row (Left To Right)
Al Clark, Joe Williams, Ted Amato, Myself...

______________________________________________________________

 

Both the screenplay and synopsis are registered with "Writers Guild". They are also registered under both the title * The Grunt * (Slang for infantryman), registration #R22465 and the synopsis, * Grunts * (Preferred because the story relates to numerous infantryman rather than one), registration #R22464.
With sincerest of regards,
Mike Regan


p.s.  A link to The "Rhythm Aces" tune entitled "Third Rate Romance" plays a significant role within the story line and can be viewed by clicking the hyperlink below. Though the tune was actually released a few years after the time frame represented in     the screenplay,  hopefully it will be regarded as one of those "Bloopers" that have been found in even the best of motion pictures... Hank Williams 1970 "All For The Love Of Sunshine", for instance, which played mid-way into "Kelly's Heros", was based on a fictional event taking place 25 years prior (WWII)... "Thanks" 

 

(Left Click Below)

http://youtu.be/aTT-Jmi1nOc
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  *  GRUNTS *
    A Screenplay By
     Mike Regan


 
Our story begins at an antiwar rally at New York ’s Syracuse University in the winter of 1968. Various camera angles depict chaos as National Guard helicopters hover, bullhorns from police wail out threats and thousands of students chant anti-war slogans.


Dissolving into later evening, we see a group of about fifty of the students partying in the sitting room of one of the University’s local fraternity houses. Smoking marijuana, laughing and listening to music, the mood is one of victory. Some of the students, along with a few teachers, are watching television on the far side of the room. We now focus on to our two main characters, J.J. McCourt, a Journalism Professor and Jeanie Layne, a Registered Nurse and teacher. Caught up in the excitement of the anti-war movement and events of the day they, like the others, are suddenly quieted as a newscast concerning events of the day is broadcast. As it ends, the group lets out a cheer, the volume is lowered, and the party atmosphere continues resumes.
  

During an embrace, Jeanie, peering over the shoulder of J.J., gradually becomes aware of an additional broadcast. The network depicts a scene of the carnage and destruction of South Vietnam ’s imperial city of Hue . After weeks of fierce fighting, the outnumbered 5th Marines have just re-captured the city and we see both Americans and South Vietnamese uncovering the graves of hundreds of Hue’s citizens, including women and children, who were tortured and murdered while the city was occupied by North Vietnamese Regulars. Watching the silent newscast, Jeanie's expression is one of confusion and re-thinking.

She begins a discussion with J.J. about the broadcast, but his own thinking is of indifference and apathy. Jeanie’s thoughts, though, have obviously changed dramatically and, with the conversation ending in a violent argument, she storms out of the frat house. McCourt, frustrated, simply sits and stares at the television set. Accepting a marijuana joint from a fellow classmate, he takes a long draw, leans back, and falls asleep. He awakes the following morning to be told by a friend that Jeanie has left the university. Days later he learns that she has accepted a commission with the Navy and after brief training as an officer, has left for Vietnam ...
  

We pick up our story some months later in South Vietnam . McCourt, too, has left the University. After accepting a Lieutenant commission from the Marine Corps, the Marines take advantage of his experience, give him a Journalism 4321 MOS (Military Occupation Service) and imbed him within a Marine Corps infantry outfit operating within the country’s I Corps section, his initial awareness is two-fold. First is the obvious frustration of fellow troops because of the unwillingness of American military leaders to utilize the infantry for an offensive north of the 17th Parallel. Second is the humor and ingenuity of these troops. This awareness is immediate as McCourt steps from the ramp of an H-46 helicopter, good naturedly waves to a group of rag-tag grunts, and is greeted with whistles and humorous taunts because of his starched utilities and other brand new gear just received from the rear.
  

A grunt, though, comes to his aid and sees to it that J.J. McCourt's gear is replaced. We finally see McCourt left standing in a pair of torn jungle boots, a muddied pair of camouflaged pants, a sleeveless sweat shirt from the 5th Air Cav, a soiled bush hat and a sawed off shotgun. Ingenuity is confirmed as he observes the same grunt heat up a can of coffee by igniting (By use of a cigarette) a chunk of the explosive, C-4, within a make-shift sterno.
 

  As time goes by, McCourt is gradually accepted into the platoon. Fire-fights come and go, casualties are sent off and replaced as new grunts enter the platoon or as the old-timers go back home (Dubbed “The World” by the troops), long talks about the idiocy of military tacticians continue and the war simply drags on. A very rare mistake of rear area supply screws up distribution, but the event turns to humor when J.J.'s Echo Company, without water for two days in the midst of enemy territory, is blessed with a pallet of Coors beer meant for another Company, Foxtrot, that is enjoying the serenity of a peaceful area five miles to the east. With little chance of a re-supply as dusk settles in, the beer is consumed by the thirsty Marines and bedlam and hang-overs take over their small out-post. A short camera cut reveals a contingent of Communist North Vietnamese Regulars a couple of hundred yards away staring in both wonder and amazement at the Marine outpost with all it's music, laughter and bedlam.

One NVA soldier turns to another and, in Vietnamese, says, "Chúng ta phải cẩn thận với những Thủy quân lục chiến điên ... Nó phải là một cái bẫy...!" ("We must be careful with those crazy Marines... It must be a trap...!")
   

Halfway into his tour, McCourt is summoned to the Regiment's rear at Quang Tri to resolve a problem with paper work. Having to stay the night, he wanders into the base’s Officers Club. Nicknamed the “Animal Pit”, the spacious building has live music provided by an Oriental band, close to a hundred slot machines lined along two walls and a long bar running the length of another wall. As he enters the club and takes in the surroundings, J.J.'s eyes become riveted toward a table far off in the corner. Sitting at the table, chatting, laughing and drinking, is a group of Navy nurses. Among them is Jeanie Layne. He walks over and the relationship resumes. Both shocked at seeing each other for the first time since their split-up so many months ago in Syracuse , they move to another table and attempt to pick up where they left off. Their laughter and reminiscence include talk about the first time they had met. Being newly arrived teachers at the University, they had struck up a conversation at the campus restaurant, really hit it off, and were interrupted by a “Rhythm Aces” recording of “Third Rate Romance”. Amused at the coincidence, they had left the coffee shop together, J.J. musing that he wished he had a set of wheels so they could fulfill the song’s theme. The reminiscence sours, though, as their talk leads into Jeanie leaving campus without a word. Again, they split.
  

Toward the end of his assignment in South Vietnam , we see J.J. McCourt, drained from events of the past months, sitting atop a sandbagged bunker at a perimeter near the DMZ. Most of the fellow grunts he knew from the platoon have either been wounded or finished with their own tours and gone back to “The World”. Friends have died. Without warning, we hear a rifle shot. As McCourt keels over from being hit, more rifle fire is heard, now joined by the dull thud of mortar rounds being released from tubes. We hear a Marine yell, “Incoming…!”, and dissolve as the rounds explode within the perimeter.
  

Our story now comes full cycle as we return to Syracuse University . A snow storm is raging on campus as we see a ’55 Chevrolet, windshield wipers slapping away the snow, as it slowly approaches from around a curve and brakes in front of the frat house. Dressed in USMC Blues, J.J. emerges and struggles up the walkway with a crutch. The story comes to its conclusion as he enters the living room, sees Jeanie Layne standing by the fireplace, pauses for a moment, and then jingles the car keys. She turns, their eyes meet, both smile and move toward each other for an embrace. No words are spoken.
We finally see the Chevy with both Jeanie and J.J. aboard leaving campus and freeze the scene as the car stops, a door opens, and the crutch is seen being thrown from within. The “Rhythm Aces” kick in with “Third Rate Romance”.