Recon Commando: Vietnam

"Recon Commando: Vietnam" is a PTS themed immersive feature length documentary about a U.S. Army Reconnaissance Commando (Recondo) in the Vietnam War (1967) who records a heart wrenching audio tape letter home to his family for Christmas. His tales of dangerous and riveting enemy engagement, near death experiences and his unbreakable bond with his tight band of brothers nick-named "The Dirty Dozen", allows the audience to experience "A young man's war in a green hell". These Recon Commandos forge the tip of the spear and help lead the way for the 101st Airborne's "Screaming Eagles" while being brutally pommeled by North Vietnamese guerilla warfare tactics. This film was produced and edited during the COVID-19 pandemic by filmmaker Joseph "J.J." Barmettler. It uses the actual analog magnetic tape audio recording from 1967 and 53 year old photos and film footage from the Vietnam War that brings these lost souls back to life.

One festival comment: "The filmmaker finds a unique heart-touching and (chilling sometimes) way to tell a Vietnam war story. The archive footage and the sound effects take us on a journey with the soldier through his pain and the loss of his friends. A fascinating window into time from one man's perspective. The audio taped message home is at times chilling, at times saddening, at times shocking, and at times thoroughly heartwarming, such as when Dave talks about the camaraderie amongst his men."

  • J.J. Barmettler
    Director
    L.A. Heat, Alien Secrets, One Percenters
  • David Barmettler
    Writer
    Recon Commando: Vietnam
  • J.J. Barmettler
    Writer
    The Silencers, Rage, Riot, L.A. Heat, Alien Secrets
  • David Barmettler
    Key Cast
    "Himself"
  • Edward Winterhalder
    Co-Producer / Technical Advisor
    One Percenters, Outlaw Bikers, Gangland, Marked, Steel Horse Cowboys
  • J.J. Barmettler
    Editor
    Alien Secrets, Alien Secrets VR360 Experience
  • J.J. Barmettler
    Producer
    Beach Kings, Alien Secrets, One Percenters
  • Mary Fran Zeller
    Co-Executive Producer
  • Jeanne Barmettler
    Co-Executive Producer
  • David Barmettler
    Co-Executive Producer
  • Joseph Barmettler
    Co-Executive Producer
  • Ann Hug
    Associate Producer
  • Dan Barmettler
    Associate Producer
  • Dennis Barmettler
    Associate Producer
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Feature
  • Genres:
    War, Military, Biography, Action
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 21 minutes 30 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    March 1, 2022
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States, Viet Nam
  • Language:
    English
  • Shooting Format:
    16mm, 35mm, 4K, UHD, 2K, HD, SD
  • Aspect Ratio:
    16:9
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    No
  • Student Project:
    No
  • N/A
Director Biography - J.J. Barmettler

Joseph “J. J.” Barmettler
Filmmaker biography

Joseph Barmettler is a Los Angeles based filmmaker who grew up in Omaha, NE. His experience with feature films, documentaries and television series includes Producer of the MGM summer beach movie "Beach Kings", the quirky indie feature film "Alien Secrets" distributed by Warner Home Entertainment and TNT's action-comedy series "L.A. Heat". His screenwriting credits include the HBO World premiere of "Rage", and the Universal Home Video DVD releases of the science fiction film "Silencers" and the urban action packed "Riot" and "Pure Danger".

J.J.'s Producing credits include documentary television series like the award winning series "Adoption Stories" for Discovery, "TLC's "A Personal Story" and "Making It Home: Greensburg" and Bio Channel's outlaw biker show "One Percenters".

"Recondo Ranger: Vietnam" was inspired from an audio tape his uncle recorded while in Vietnam, acquired from his father twenty five years ago. He knew that he had to make a film based on his Uncle's authentic portrayal of a "Young man's war in a green hell" and the controversial Vietnam war. You can view some of J.J.'s filmmaker demos and films at https://jjbarmettler.com.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

Director Statement from J.J. Barmettler

This film encapsulates a time in United states History when our country (USA) was split regarding our involvement in the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights movement in America. Recon Commando is a unique take on the Vietnam War and represents an inspirational metaphor for Soldiers and Veterans experiences in battle and the humility of brave men in extreme life threatening situations. My uncle, Recondo Dave Barmettler was the "war hero" of my family during a time when America was overconfident about its place in the international landscape after World War 2. This was a much different war fought under the guise of guerilla warfare and where success was measured by gratuitous body counts. Dave was an idealist and studied philosophy in the Catholic Seminary for years before going to Vietnam. Responding to world events, he decided that he could better serve humanity and his country by enlisting in the ranks of "the Best of the Best" and he joined the 101st Airborne.

I always saw Dave as a calm and confident man who had experienced much in life and was generous enough to share his knowledge and his philosophies. Some of his friends and war brethren would refer to him as "Shane", nick-named after the character of the "Shane" book series about a cool and collected cowboy hero who represents a firmness and dependability that everyone can count on and he fosters a general feeling of well-being that nothing harmful can occur. He is the personification of stability.

The PTSD SPC 5 David Barmettler brought home was not what he nor anyone in our family was prepared for. My intention for this film is to provide a context for the audience to explore their concerns, fears, thoughts and inner workings of a soldier in war, struggling to survive so he can go home again, back to his family. I believe that any veteran or active-duty soldier will relate to, be inspired by and possibly even attain some form of reconciliation, compassion and hope for themselves, for others, and for an understanding and acceptance of self, after watching this film.

While I used fewer than a hundred images taken by David in 1967 Vietnam and his actual audio tape, much is war footage and photo stills shot by brave Army and DASPO (Department of the Army Special Photographic Office) Photographers and Film Cameramen working in hazardous war zones.