Last year a friend asked me if I had ever heard of a movie called “Operation Dumbo Drop.” I said that of course I had. He said he had watched the movie recently with his grandkids and from the moment he heard the words “Ban Don,” he froze, for the words “Ban Don” had a special meaning for this guy.

The movie, “Dumbo Drop,” with Danny Glover and Ray Liota, is about a squad of U.S. support soldiers, led by two Special Forces captains, getting an elephant for a remote village to replace their elephant that was killed by the VC. Getting the replacement elephant transported to its new home is the point of the story and eventually involves strapping a parachute onto the pachyderm, hence the title, “Dumbo Drop.”

Putting aside the idea of two SF captains playing elephant nannies with a squad of REMFs, it is a cute movie, funny and fun to watch, the violence is minimal, and the movie overall is one of those that makes the Vietnam War seem like it was an uproariously good time. But, some movies are like that.

The truth is that there actually was a Ban Don village. Ban Don was a small, remote village northwest of Ban Me Thout in the Darlac Province near the Cambodian border in the Republic of Vietnam. During the war, few people had been there except for Special Forces soldiers. Next to Ban Don was a Special Forces camp, A-233 at Tran Phuc, which was under B-23 of the 5th Special Forces Group.