SP/4 (Specialist 4) Roger Horn
Researched and written by DC
Private 1st class (PFC) in the beginning of the first season and would eventually make Specialist. (We never see the promotion – but lists his rank as SP/4 in Gray-Brown Odyssey.)
He is from Chicago, Illinois
Age: Early 20s
Physical attributes: Roger is a little more than 6 feet tall, slender and well built with black hair and green eyes.
- 1st and only Tour – Firebase Ladybird – RTO/Rifleman
Awards and Decorations:
- Army Commendation Medal (With “V” for Valor) – Ep #21 – The Hill (for his rescue of Percell in Ep #4 – War Lover after Percell was shot.)
- Purple Heart – Ep #21 The Hill for wounds sustained in Ep #8 The Good, the Bad and the Dead.
- National Defence Service Medal
- Vietnam Campaign Medal
- Vietnam Service Medal
- Combat Infantry Badge
Specialist Roger Horn arrives at Firebase Ladybird in August of 1967, after being chosen by Sgt. Zeke Anderson to be in his platoon. He’s made RTO- Third Squad, Bravo Company, 196th Infantry Brigade and under the direct command of 2nd Lt. Myron Goldman. Horn appears only during the first season before his character was wounded and shipped home. This character is mentioned in season two- Ep #22 (Saigon part 1) in a letter sent to the guys, but never again after that.
He is a war protester.
He plays the harmonica.
He paints a peace symbol on the front of his helmet.
Roger is a gentle, soft-spoken young man with a sensitivity to all things around him. He has a natural curiosity about local people and religions. He is a musician. He is easily liked by the men of Third Squad and impresses Anderson no end with his ability to play the harmonica.
He is shattered in the pilot episode when he’s forced to kill an NVA soldier in order to save his buddies’ lives as well as his own, thus making him a soldier. In Gray-Brown Odyssey we see how far he’s come when he’s forced to leave a wounded Goldman behind with a captured VC woman. He tells her in a chilling voice that if she harms his friend, he will hunt her down personally and kill her- Goldman shocked at the young man’s fury.
Yet, despite his change to soldier, Horn never lost sight of what he viewed as a politically incorrect and unjust war. Toward the end of the season and butting heads with an exhausted Goldman, Horn can’t understand the futility of taking the same hill over and over again, only to give it back. But in the end, he makes the decision that his friends are worth everything and that’s why he’s there; finally bringing home to him what Anderson meant back in the pilot episode. It nearly costs him his life. Severely wounded in an effort to save his friends’ lives, Roger is shipped home. At the beginning of season two, we find out in a letter to his friends that he plans to attend UC-Berkeley, thus bringing closure for this character.
Points of interest by episode (not an episode synopsis):
Pilot Episode: Is found by Zeke Anderson at Chu-Lai while playing his harmonica. Tells Zeke that he is from Chicago and would gladly show him how to play. He also makes it clear he is a war protester (conscientious objector) but Zeke recruits him anyway, saying he will make him a soldier. At Firebase Ladybird, he is made RTO. Leaves his M-16 back in the chopper, Goldman saying he is going to have him court-martialed. In an effort to save his buddies, he gets into a struggle with a wounded NVA regular and ends up killing him with his knife. Anguished over killing someone, he tells Anderson the war is wrong. He will be changed forever as he does now become a soldier.
Notes from the Underground (Ep #2): Horn finds the tunnel entrance after pulling a board with a nail out of Ruiz’s backside.
Dislocations (Ep #3): Horn tries to explain to an unsympathetic Taylor why Depp is angry about being moved from his village. Blows the village well with Taylor. Is seen holding the hand of a child while they move the villagers to their new home.
War Lover (Ep #4): Still questions why they are there. Anderson informs Sgt. Michaels that Horn is a new breed of soldier, a thinker. He is keeping a journal. Drags Percell to safety after he is wounded, then saves both their lives when he is forced to kill the NVA who shot Percell. He will later receive a Commendation medal for saving Percell, in Ep #21- The Hill.
Sitting Ducks: (Ep #5): Horn is fascinated with the local Buddhist monks. He figures out that the temple bell is being used to signal their patrols, and cracks the code. He is horrified by what the monks have done and in fury shoots the temple bell down.
Brothers, Fathers and Sons (Ep #7): Horn does not appear in this episode.
The Good, The Bad and The Dead (Ep #8): Is on an advance LP (listening post) with Sgt. Decker. Wakes up and finds Decker asleep. Horn sees an NVA scout and is forced to go after him with a knife in order to maintain silence, but ends up getting stabbed in the side. The men, including Anderson, tease him gently to keep his mind off the pain.
USO Down (Ep #13): Horn starts to play his harmonica with two of the downed USO band members until Anderson arrives and, furious, puts an end to it. Tells Horn he should have known better and that he was disappointed in him.
Under Siege (Ep #14): Wires up a radio so Taylor can snipe over the loud speakers to the NVA. Baker makes mention to Johnson that Horn went to college.
Gray-Brown Odyssey (Ep #16): After their jeep hits a landmine and Goldman is blinded, Horn is sent to get help for the wounded L-T. It is here that we get a real feel for just what Horn has become when he runs down the VC in the jungle and drags her back. Before leaving Myron, he threatens her- saying he will personally hunt her down and kill her if she harms his friend- bringing home to Goldman that this sweet gentle kid is now a soldier.
Blood Brothers (Ep #17): Horn does not appear in this episode.
The Short Timer (Ep #18): Says goodbye to Taylor.
Paradise Lost (Ep # 19): Hey, another guy in a skirt- what’s not to like? He becomes attached to a sweet little girl in the village. Is shown with Anderson and Goldman, hammering and building a shelter. Joins in with the rest of Third Squad in “entertaining” the villagers when he is part of the “band” playing harmonica. Is painted with a huge peace sign on his forehead. Is shattered when the little girl is killed when the village is shelled. It is Anderson who finally convinces him to give her up, that she belongs to the villagers.
The Hill (Ep #21): Gets decorated with a Purple Heart and Commendation for saving Percell’s life. Gets into it with a frustrated Goldman a number of times on the reason why they continue to take the same hill and then give it back. Gets into it with another lieutenant at Chu-Lai when he doesn’t salute properly. While trying to take the hill one more time, decides he won’t do it and leaves his friends behind to go back down. He later changes his mind when Taylor comes down, wounded- finally realizing why he’s there. Despite being wounded, he throws a satchel charge into the enemy bunker, thus saving his buddies’ lives. He is unfortunately so badly wounded that he will be shipped home, his tour now finished.