Sergeant “Zeke” Clayton Ezekial Anderson “Sarge”
Researched and written by DC
Staff Sergeant for the first two seasons, promoted to Sergeant 1st Class in the third season. (We see him get his stripe from 2nd Lt. Miller in Ep #39- Doc Hock).
Zeke is from Boise, Idaho. A “lifer” in the regular Army, Zeke is into the 4th month of his third combat tour in Vietnam when he meets up with 2nd Lt. Myron Goldman.
Age: Thirty years old at the beginning of the series. [Click here for a note from Lee Russell, ToD advisor, concerning Zeke’s age.]
Physical attributes: Zeke is a powerful, large and handsome man in his prime. He’s a little more than 6 feet tall, broad shouldered and well muscled with very dark, brown-black hair and blue eyes.
- First Tour: Central Highlands, II Corps (July 1965-July 1966) with 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile)*
- Second Tour: Around Saigon, III Corps (September 1966- April 1967) with 11th Armored Cavalry (Blackhorse)**
- Third Tour:
- Firebase Ladybird, I Corps (May 1967- January 1968) with 2nd Platoon, B (“Bravo”) Company, 3/44th Infantry Regiment, 196th Light Infantry Brigade, Americal Division. Third Squad Leader (acting Platoon Sergeant)Tan Son Nhut, III Corps (Late January (Tet)- April 1968) Third Squad Leader (acting Platoon Sergeant)
- Fourth Tour: Camp Barnett, III Corps (May 1968- ?) with MACV-SOG. Team Sergeant, Team Viking.***
*Anderson was most likely part of either First or Second Battalion of the 7th Cavalry Regiment (1/7th or 2/7th Cav) of the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile)
**The 11th “Blackhorse” Cav was a traditional tank/mechanized infantry unit.
***Toward the end of season 3- Anderson would be a platoon sergeant again.
Of special note: In the real world, Anderson would not have served a fourth tour.
Ft. Benning, Georgia
Awards and Decorations:
- Distinguished Service Cross- Awarded Jan 6th, 1969. Ep # 53- Acceptable Losses for his actions and bravery in Ep # 50- And Make Death Proud To Take Us.
- Silver Star- Ep# 21- The Hill for his actions in the Binh Khe Valley December 9th, 1967.
- Bronze Star (with “V” for Valor)- Awarded three times. We only see it awarded the third time in Ep# 45- Thanks for the Memories for his actions in Ep # 44- Cloud Nine.
- Purple Heart- Ep #21, The Hill. It is likely Zeke had more than one of these as he was wounded many times in just his time under Goldman’s command.
- National Defence Service Medal
- Vietnam Campaign Medal
- Vietnam Service Medal w/ 2 oak leaf clusters
- Good Conduct Medal w/1 oak leaf cluster
- Vietnam Gallantry Cross.
- Combat Infantry Badge
Sgt. Zeke Anderson was introduced to Lt. Myron Goldman four months into his third combat tour in September of 1967. At the time, Anderson needed new recruits for his platoon back at Firebase Ladybird and chose Corporal Danny Percell and Privates Alberto Ruiz, Scott Baker, and Roger Horn. He was acting Platoon Sergeant (2nd Platoon) within Bravo Company, 196th Infantry Brigade as well as Third Squad’s team leader. Firebase Ladybird was under the command of Capt. Rusty Wallace. Anderson appeared in the pilot episode and was featured in all but one of the 58 episodes.
He was an orphan, given up by his mother who died shortly afterwards in a car crash. His father had run out on him before he was born. (He would later tell Goldman about his father in Ep #22- Saigon, Part 1.)
He is learning to play the harmonica. (Season one only.)
He was married and then divorced.
He has a daughter named Katie. His ex-wife’s name is Carol.
He wants to start a fishing guide business in Montana.
Zeke is a simple man, loyal and honest with an unquestionable view of right and wrong. He is as comfortable with a child in his arms as he is with a rifle.
Throughout most of the first season, Zeke is often bare armed, covered in sweat, dirt and ashes from hard work at the firebase or being out in the bush. He is rarely seen wearing a standard helmet, but almost always wears a headband when out in the bush. (He does however, wear a helmet through most of Ep #14- Under Siege.) During the first season, he is often seen wearing a bush (boonie) hat. Throughout the series, until its end, Zeke is shown carrying a shotgun as often as he carries an M-16. When out in the bush, he always has a K-bar (knife) sheathed on his left shoulder. He is cleaned up a great deal more during second season. During the third season, whenever out in the bush on a SOG mission, he wears a tiger stripe uniform shirt with the sleeves cut out, still wearing a headband.
Zeke has a ready smile and a certain amount of mischief in his eyes and about him. (Goldman remarks to Nikki in Nowhere to Run that he thinks Zeke is in on some secret.) He is unquestionably loyal and brave, placing his men’s lives above all else. Although he and Goldman do not see eye to eye upon meeting, Zeke recognizes the possibility of a good officer in the young lieutenant and with patience, brings him along as a combat officer, eventually winning the younger man’s respect, trust and friendship.
Goldman would eventually become his closest and best friend. The two would work together under the most desperate of circumstances despite the differences in their rank and backgrounds.
It is only during the first season that we see Zeke try to play the harmonica. After Horn is badly wounded and sent home, the harmonica is never mentioned again in connection with this character. (Although in the beginning credits of the second and third seasons, there is a very brief shot of him in the chopper, playing.)
He is not above teasing any of his men, or the L-T, for that matter. Nor is he shy about speaking his mind. He has the unqualified loyalty of all his men as well as their respect. But it will be the men of Third Squad, and eventually Team Viking who will become closest to him along with the L-T.
Despite his ease and confidence in and out of the field, Zeke is troubled and afraid of what will become of him when he goes home. He was deeply hurt by the failed marriage to his wife, and has only seen his little girl a couple of times. He allows himself to become involved with a civilian stationed at Tan Son Nhut- Dr. Jennifer Seymour. She will become a constant in his life, even after her return to the States and his return for a fourth tour.
Despite his strength and gentle good humor, Zeke hides a core of vulnerability that few if any know about with the possible exceptions of Myron and Jennifer. Part of that vulnerability is his loyalty to his comrades. He is easily brought to tears when they are killed, belying the tough sergeant image most see in Seasons 1 and 2. (Reference Ep# 8- The Good, the Bad and the Dead, Ep# 27- Sleeping Dogs and Ep# 31- Nightmare.)
Zeke will sign on for a fourth tour after proposing to Jennifer in the States, telling Brewster he did not like unfinished business. It is clear he came back for his men, and most certainly because of the grieving and distant Myron Goldman. He will remain by Lt. Goldman’s side, even in the last episode- Payback- when it becomes apparent that the war has changed. We will never know if Zeke makes it back to the States and to Jennifer.
Points of interest by episode (not an episode synopsis):
Pilot Episode- first appearance. Zeke picks Corporal Danny Percell, and Privates Alberto Ruiz and Scott Baker. He will also take Roger Horn after hearing him play the harmonica, despite the young man’s point of view on the war. He meets Goldman for the first time in Chu Lai and neither is impressed with each other at first blush. Tells Goldman he is in the 4th month of his third tour. Makes Horn RTO after telling him he will fight. Keeps Myron from getting killed when he yanks him down during Goldman’s first firefight. Goldman says he will court martial him. After chasing down Ruiz, they discover the headquarters of the NVA that had attacked Ladybird earlier. Tells Wallace he finally found an officer he likes. When Horn tells him the war is wrong, Anderson shoves an M-16 in his hands and replies, “Maybe, but that’s not the point.”
Notes from the Underground (Ep #2): Wears helmet when Goldman orders him to. Anderson and Goldman still at each other, sniping at each other in front of the men. Anderson tells Goldman that he can wear the rank, but he has to earn the respect. Goldman snaps that he’s seen that movie too. We see him with a shotgun here and he tells Goldman he did tunnels in III Corp. Goldman goes with him into the tunnels, the two still sniping at each other down there. Yells at the NVA: “I’m the nightmare your mamma warned you about!” Gets trapped in cave in, Goldman having to save him. We get our first piece of his past when he tells Goldman the reason he is on his third tour- that his wife and daughter had left him. And that some buddies got killed during his second tour, so he signed on again to keep others from getting killed.
Dislocations (Ep #3): We see his contempt for the higher ups when his platoon is ordered to move a village. After being ambushed, stays behind with Percell and Ruiz to give Goldman, the rest of the platoon and villagers a head start. Goldman tells him he better make it back or he will send the cavalry after him. Tells the story of his great grandmother escaping from a nursing home. When under mortar fire and under orders to leave the villagers, tells Goldman he doesn’t like unfinished business and will not leave the villagers behind. Stands with Goldman in silence when Ruiz and the rest of Third squad mouth off to Major Rigby.
War Lover (Ep #4): Has a past with Sgt. Earl Ray Michaels from his prior tour. Earl Ray accuses him of being just like him. Zeke later tells him he is not, that Michaels gets high on the war whereas Zeke just wants to survive it with some dignity. Helps to pull Goldman off of trip wire with Michaels’ help. Gets into a fistfight with Michaels over a little girl left in a burned out village. Tells Michaels he still has nightmares about what happened. Zeke helps to blow the bridge.
Sitting Ducks (Ep #5): Calls Myron General Goldman. Asks Johnson if he cares about the company he keeps. Tries to help Goldman keep the men under control without undermining his authority. Assures Myron that he doesn’t need the men to like him, just needs to keep them alive.
Burn, Baby, Burn (Ep #6): Like Myron, Zeke has no tolerance for racism as he tries to help Myron keep the men under control. Gets in Ennis’s face, telling him to call him Sergeant (not Sarge). Tells Ennis that what frightens him more is that he could have ended up just like him, and that Ennis has “white trash syndrome” real bad. Zeke knows Johnson did not kill Ennis and stands behind him. Tells Tucker that he will have to go through him in order to get Johnson, then decks him in front of the platoon. Furious, he shouts at all of them “NOT IN MY PLATOON! NOT IN MY PLATOON-THIS IS WHERE I LIVE!” Tells Taylor he is real disappointed in him.
Fathers, Brothers, Sons (Ep #7): Survives a helicopter crash with Baker and Johnson. They stumble across a Montagnard woman giving birth and take the baby with them when the mother dies. We get glimpses and hints of his past when he mentions that he was an orphan too. Is undone and shattered when, in the end, the baby is accidentally killed by gunfire. First clear look at his vulnerability.
The Good, The Bad and the Dead (Ep #8): Zeke tells Taylor and Baker that he and Decker used to be “hip-pocket buddies” in the past. Uses the phrase: Drop your fun, grab your gun, it’s time to be a soldier, son- when he bails Decker out of the stockade. Convinces Goldman that Decker could be an asset to the platoon. In conversation with Goldman- Goldman tells Anderson that he has to be Decker’s biggest fan. Anderson finds Decker drunk after Decker shoots an NVA scout. Zeke finds Horn badly wounded. Assures Horn that he will be all right and that he done good. Realizes that he has disappointed Goldman no end, when the two men get into it about loyalty, friendship and trust. Carries Decker back to the LZ, but Decker is dead, leaving Zeke in tears with the loss of a friend.
The Battling Baker Brothers (Ep #9): Becomes part of the welcome party when Scott’s twin brother Carl arrives at Firebase Ladybird. Along with Goldman, watches the Bakers skateboarding. Tells Scott that the next time he has a party, to be sure to invite his sergeant. Goes after both the boys with Goldman and Third Squad after they had been captured.
Nowhere to Run (Ep #10): Convinces Goldman that Percell needs some understanding after Danny shoots a boy in the village by accident. At a boom boom bar in Sin City, tells a very drunk Danny he can’t marry the prostitute he is with because Zeke married her last week. Danny manages to deck him before Zeke is finally able to shoulder him up and carry him out of the bar. Tells Goldman that he makes it a policy to never bet with an officer. When the men are unloading from the truck, he yells: “Sixth floor- Ladies’ Lingerie, you can try them on but you can’t take them with you!” Tells Goldman- “I hear that”- after Goldman told him it was none of his business about what was on his mind.
Roadrunner (Ep #11): Gets a letter from his ex-wife about their little girl. Is knocked unconscious and almost killed when the platoon gets mortared while out on a patrol. We get another glimpse of his past when he tells Goldman he swore he would never go back to the Dong Ho Valley. Mentions that his last unit was the 11th Cav. That only 138 men survived out of 3 companies and a battalion of ARVN. Said he would rather go to Hell than go back. Goldman can plainly see he is terrified. Asks the chaplain at the firebase to write a letter home to his daughter. His confidence is gone as he butts heads with Goldman. Yells at Taylor and threatens to ship him to the DMZ. Johnson tries to talk to him and lend him his support. The pilot they rescued asks Zeke to write his own little girl when it is apparent he will not make it. When the NVA close in, Anderson finds his center and his courage, becoming once again the sergeant the men know and trust. After the pilot dies, he writes the letter home to his little girl, telling her that her father would be home soon.
Pushin’ Too Hard (Ep #12): Zeke is less than thrilled they are taking a lady reporter out into the field with them. Tells Percell he’s as clean as a Mississippi sheriff on Election Day. Tells the entire platoon they can not go out into the jungle smelling like a house of ill repute on a Saturday night. Butts heads with Wallace over continuing the mission. Is furious with Vicky when Cook is killed showing off for her, and then destroys her film. He tells her he is going to make it. That someday he will drive by a VA cemetery and look out there and get to thinking about what he did over here and that he has to know that not one of those tombstones is out there because of something he did. Tells Wallace- “It don’t mean nothin’,” just before Wallace dies. Tells Myron he is in charge when Wallace is killed. Zeke will take the flame thrower and save the platoon. He would later receive a Silver Star for his actions in Ep #21- The Hill. Tells Vicky in the end, that when he gets home he wants to be treated like a human being.
USO Down (Ep #13): Is less than thrilled when the entire platoon is forced to help the remaining members of a USO troop after their helicopter gets shot down. The lead singer, Long John, makes him nervous and edgy. When Long John slips away from them, Zeke volunteers to go back and get him. He is furious with the kid upon finding him, but it would be Long John who saves his life when he pushes Zeke out of the way and throws himself on a grenade. Upon meeting back up with Goldman, Zeke is visibly upset and asks Myron what the difference is between being brave and being lucky.
Soldiers (Ep #14): Helps Taylor and Ruiz switch their R&R to Hawaii so they can be with Percell.
Under Siege (Ep #15): This is the first real time Zeke and Myron start to connect as a team when a new captain ships in. Fights Heath every step of the way about Ladybird’s defenses. Goldman also defends him against the new captain who has little respect for Zeke’s experience. When it appears hopeless and all seems to be lost, Heath giving up- Zeke tells Myron he refuses to give up and the two men prepare for the upcoming battle with what they have. The next day, Colonel Dalby arrives and tells Heath he hopes there are more days like this. Heath, still stunned, turns to see Zeke who says nothing.
Gray-Brown Odyssey (Ep #16): Zeke does not appear in this episode.
Blood Brothers (Ep #17): Zeke continues to build the trust and friendship with Goldman he obtained in Under Siege when Goldman carefully lowers his guard, telling Zeke about his mother’s suicide and how he is unable to match up to his father’s standards. It is Zeke who realizes Alvaro was on drugs, showing Goldman the needle marks. He places Ruiz in supply to help the young man settle down. Goes with Myron, Baker, Taylor and MG Goldman to rescue Ruiz from drug dealers and an old friend who has gone bad.
The Short Timer (Ep #18): Blows a kiss to Percell and Baker. Gets into it with Sgt. Ralph Carlton when Taylor says he was tricked into re-upping. Ends up in a fist fight with Carlton, until Taylor pulls him off.
Paradise Lost (Ep #19): Not every man can wear a skirt and combat boots and make it look good. Is curious about an ex-GI called Kithem, convinced he was once in Special Forces. Teaches the men of the village how to use an M-16. (Get a taste of his humor here as he explains what an M-16 is and how to use it.) While helping to build stuff at the village, ends up with blisters on his hands. When one of Major Tung’s men shoves Ruiz, Anderson grabs him and threatens bodily harm after warning him and the rest of Tung’s men to never touch one of his men again. Heavily painted in bright colors, he joins the rest of the men in entertaining the villagers, singing backup with Baker. Is saved by Kithem, who turns out not to be a deserter.
Angel of Mercy (Ep #20): Tells Goldman they have captured a genuine NVA colonel. Takes a piece of shrapnel in the leg. Tells the nurses as he is limping by- “Now ladies, don’t judge a man by the way he moves on one leg.” Offers comfort to a dying soldier in the same room as Goldman. Tells Goldman that Myron has more than he does, that all he has is Sin City and guys around him, but still has no one. Throws a grenade in supply room. Tells Tuyet he will give her one of his Purple Hearts as she is what they call a hero.
The Hill (Ep #21): Tells Horn he has to salute a lieutenant at Chu-Lai and that there is no getting out of it. Tells all the men to look their best for the awards ceremony the next day, as they are good soldiers- damn good soldiers and not to be ashamed of it. He is awarded the Silver Star for his actions in Ep #12- Pushin’ Too Hard. He is also awarded the Purple Heart. Tries to assure Myron that all they can do is follow orders whether they agree with them or not. Tells a wounded Taylor to go on back down the hill, that he done good. After Horn is wounded, asks him why he came back up the hill. The first mention of Agent Orange is in this episode.
Saigon (Eps 22 and 23): Tet. The platoon is transferred to Saigon. A lot of information here: Anderson and Goldman are introduced to McKay here. Goldman sees picture of his little girl, says she is pretty and a doll. Tells Goldman about his father- that he was a club boxer with a glass jaw and that he ran out on his mother before he was born. That his mother gave him up to the state, and later died in a car crash. He later finds his father in Elizabeth, NJ and watched him for a day with his new family. Keeps Goldman and McKay from taking a swing at each other. First time we see him truly cleaned up and in civilian clothes. Meets his ex-wife in Saigon. He is still very much in love with his wife and tells her he can have a fishing guide job if he wants when he gets back to the States. She finally tells him she is marrying another man. In a sad moment, he says goodbye to Carol and tells her he has nightmares and that he wants her to be happy. Rescues Stacey Bridger in the streets of Saigon. Tells Stacey a part of him dies every time one of his friends is killed and that he was tempting fate himself being on his third tour. Tells her about the day his daughter was born. Tries to talk a very messed up Marine down who has already killed a prostitute. But in the end can’t save the kid who will take his own life.
For What It’s Worth (Ep #24): Zeke meets Dr. Jennifer Seymour after rescuing her from one of her patients. She bandages his arm, and is quite taken with him and his compassion for the well being of his men. Says: “I like to think my job is to keep people from getting killed.” Is with Ruiz when the latrine is blown, fatally wounding the base chaplain. Major Darling dresses Zeke down about his opinion that a GI did the fragging. Goldman assures him that his instincts are sound and that he relies on them. Teases him about not being able to con Jennifer out of her records on a door gunner. When speaking with McKay about Goldman- uses the phrase- “I keep tellin’ ya, the boy ain’t shy.” McKay notes he’s one of those quiet mothers. Dresses in civvies (looks very handsome) when he goes to dinner with Jennifer. Tells her his marriage is definitely over. Breaks into her office with the keys she had given him earlier, in order to figure out who may have done the latrine bombing, but in doing so, breaks Jennifer’s trust.
True Grit (Ep #25): This showcases the depth of concern and commitment Anderson has for his men. And Jennifer realizes just what he is willing to sacrifice for those same men when Martsen goes over the edge, suffering from battle fatigue. After Shively shames Martsen into going back to duty, Anderson tells him he doesn’t have to do this. He tries to keep Martsen from panicking when they do go out, but then Martsen comes undone. Jennifer tries to keep Anderson from going after Shively, telling him it would be a mistake. Anderson, furious and hurt, yells at her, saying he can accept the consequences- what will Shively do, send him to Nam, make him a grunt? And that he should have broken Martsen’s leg rather then let him go back out. He then threatens Shively with harm if the man were to become responsible for harming another one of Zeke’s men. Outside, Jennifer tells Zeke she needs him, and in a gentle moment, he meets her eyes and tells her- “I do anythin’ I could for you.” He walks her to her quarters where they share a drink and a kiss.
Non-Essential Personnel (Ep #26): Dr. Grennly, a former colleague and lover of Jennifer’s gives Zeke reason to wonder what Jennifer sees in him. New L-T tells Anderson that Goldman speaks very highly of him. Ruiz warns Lt. Escobar that Anderson is the best in the business. Anderson gets into it with the base doctor and Dr. Grennly about their callousness concerning a wounded soldier. See him briefly in civvies, and then later, in Class B uniform when having a drink with Jennifer. Zeke tells Jennifer she could have any man she wants what is she doing with him? She tells him she is where she wants to be, with him. And that if he stopped feeling sorry himself, he’d realize she’s in love with him. He tells her that if she stopped feeling sorry for him, she’d realize that maybe she wasn’t. Tells Grennly before he leaves that all he is getting out of the war is basic pay. And that he hopes Jennifer sees him for the man he is.
Sleeping Dogs (Ep #27): Anderson’s compassion is shown when he talks to Goldman about a troubled man named Gregg Block. Wants to get him another stripe so that he can go home. Goldman is reluctant and tells Zeke that he can make the call on this, trusting his sergeant to make the right decision. Earlier, Zeke watches Block cut the finger off of a sniper. Makes a deal with Sgt. Major Toliver to get Block’s promotion, but Toliver will later back out. Zeke tells Goldman that if you had to be perfect to be in the Army, he’d be somewhere else. It is Anderson who will hunt Block down when the man goes over the edge, eventually killing him. Zeke is shattered, hating himself for being unable to help Block. Trembling and near tears, he is comforted by Jennifer that night, who says he did exactly what she knew he had to do, despite his doubts of ever becoming involved to begin with.
I Wish It Would Rain (Ep# 28): Anderson uses shotgun here. Along with Goldman, warns Percell and Taft that they can not go into Cambodia. Along with the rest of Third Squad and the L-T, is forced to go over the border to retrieve Taft who has gone mad with grief over the loss of Short Round. Upon returning to the base, Zeke takes Taft to Jennifer. The next day tries to share some down time with Jennifer, when Taft goes completely over the edge. Helps Jennifer to talk Taft out of the ammo dump, keeping him from blowing it up with a grenade.
Popular Forces (Ep #29): Scarfs up medical supplies for the new Popular Forces he has helped to train. Teases Jennifer about not getting in her way when she is mad. She tells him to be careful before he leaves on the mission. Goes with Third Squad and Goldman to take the new Popular Forces guys to the first check point. Keeps Goldman from decking McKay when he loses Alex. Tells Goldman to go with McKay to find Alex. With the rest of Third Squad, ends up “prisoners” of Vinh and his men in order to save them from the NVA. Tells Goldman “I heard that,” when Myron says he likes Alex and wants to keep her. After Taylor and Percell tell him back at the base about Jennifer killing a VC, goes to her quarters. He eventually gets her to open up to him, she finally breaking into tears in his arms.
Terms of Enlistment (Ep #30): Zeke and Jennifer plan to take R&R together in Tokyo. Zeke and Ruiz set up an ambush to buy time for Taylor to get another GI off a mine. Uses shot gun here. Asks Goldman about marrying Jennifer and gets Myron’s blessing. Is horrified along with the rest of the unit when Thayer tries to hang himself. When his back pay doesn’t come in from Chu Lai, is forced to sell his medals (2 Bronze Stars/1 Silver Star) for $60.00 to buy engagement ring for Jennifer. We get a brief bedroom scene of Zeke and Jennifer here. Shows Goldman the ring. Asks Goldman to not report him for breaking curfew when Darling refuses to let him go after Jennifer in Saigon. Both men go into Saigon to rescue her. In a heartbreaking decision, Zeke convinces Jennifer to accept the commission to Major and go back to the States, with a promise to go to her the moment his tour is up. He will not show her the ring.
Nightmare (Ep #31): During a body retrieval mission, Anderson tells Goldman about Staff Sgt. Earl “Doc” Hawkins in a trembling voice, collecting the man’s shattered eyeglasses. Uses the phrase, “I heard that,” when Goldman informs him they have work to do. He’s in a Class B uniform when he informs Doc’s wife he was killed in action. Tells Goldman how bothered he is by Doc’s wife being with another man. Speaks to Percell about what will happen to him after trying to prevent Abigale from being raped. Is completely disgusted with Abigale when she refuses to help Percell. In a showdown in a bar in Cho-lan, tells the pimp and bouncer that he is real tired, had been running and killing all day. And that he was hungry, and when he is hungry, he gets mean. Threatens to kill them so he can go on home and eat. Goes out with Goldman and most of Third Squad in an effort to locate McKay whose chopper was shot down earlier.
Promised Land (Ep #32): [April 4th, 1968] Zeke escorts the body of a friend, Sgt. Art Binion, home to the States when Binion’s wife requests it. Goldman drives him to the airport. Zeke tells Myron he is concerned because he hadn’t been stateside in two years. Both are horrified when they find out at the airport that Dr. Martin Luther King had been assassinated. He is in a Class B uniform throughout most of this ep. When he speaks at Binion’s funeral, he is in full Class A uniform and medals. He gives the flag from the casket to Binion’s wife.
Lonesome Cowboy Blues (Ep #33): While looking for a Special Forces contact (Sgt. Jackson), Zeke rescues a Vietnamese boy during a resulting firefight. Gets into it with an MP over whether the boy is VC or not. The kid calls him John Wayne. Despite Goldman’s warning, starts to become very attached to the kid. Volunteers to go on a suicide mission to lure the K-22 out. Goldman won’t let him go alone, and goes with him, carrying the radio. First time we see him really war paint it up. Uses a different type of M-16 with a collapsible stock. Upon his return, the entire unit cheers for him at the barracks.
Sins of the Father (Ep #34): Informs Goldman that he doesn’t like having a bunch of rednecks in the platoon. And that no one can make Cassidy into a soldier. He later kills a VC woman only to find she has an infant with her. Gets in Cassidy’s face, telling him they are not baby killers. Goes to base Chaplain about what he has done and where he will go. Takes the infant to an orphanage with Alex, and meets Christine Pierson who invites him to her American Lit course back at Tan Son Nhut. Tells Alex it is not the best neighborhood for her to do her Brenda Starr impersonation. This is where he and Goldman become at odds with each other, both over Cassidy. After coming to Christine’s class, becomes embarrassed and leaves. He then tells her that he is not the best reader. And finds out that Goldman thinks very highly of him. In a discussion the next day, he finds out just how much he loves children. Zeke will eventually return to Christine’s class in an effort to try and find a better future for himself.
Sealed With a Kiss (Ep #35): Zeke meets an old friend from Ladybird who is now part of the CIA. Chris Pearson convinces him to stay in her classes a little longer. He goes with Goldman on a Seal mission to retrieve documents from a downed chopper. Kills the scorpion that bites Goldman. Keeps Goldman going when he wants to give up and send Zeke ahead to the LZ. Gets into it with Major Darling after the mission when he’s told they were decoys. Goldman tells him in the Dispensary that his job is also to keep men alive, and that he saved Myron’s life out there. And that he will make it when he gets back to the real world.
Hard Stripe (Ep #36): Zeke once again runs into his buddy, Jim Doyle- but this time out in the bush. Talks to Goldman about Smitty getting his stripe and Goldman promises that Johnson is next up for his. Zeke figures out that it was Doyle who murdered Smitty for something the young man saw. Angry, he goes with CID and the MPs to take Doyle down. In the end, he faces Doyle alone in an alley in Saigon and ends up killing him. Shares a drink with a very shaken Goldman who says he is no longer sure what it all means. Zeke tells him that he does, that it don’t mean nothin’. They then toast to “nothing.”
The Volunteer (Ep #37): Tells Goldman that he’s been over here so long that the bush feels more like home and that he is more comfortable out there. Gets upset with Taylor out in the bush when he can’t keep his mind on his job at point. Ships him back to the base with the dust off. When trying to make it to McKay’s bird, Goldman is shot and Zeke runs back to get him. McKay is forced to leave them both behind. With little choice, both Zeke and Myron decide to call artillery down on their position, accepting that they will most likely die. As the artillery rains down, Zeke ask if they will be remembered for this and Myron replying- “It don’t mean nothin’.” In a final act, both jump up, Zeke helping Myron, to take out as many of the enemy as they can.
The Luck (Ep #38): Along with Goldman, is now a POW. Laughs hysterically with Goldman when one of the NVA guards urinates on a fellow guard by accident. Manages to get free, Goldman telling him to go on without him. He is badly beaten after being recaptured. After escaping together and coming under their own platoon’s fire, are confronted by a furious Percell who thinks they are VC, Anderson having to talk him down. Back at the base, Percell, Taylor, Johnson and Ruiz tell Anderson that he is their “luck.”
Doc Hock (Ep #39): This episode marks a turning point for the entire cast when Doc Hockenbury ships in and Alex is killed in a bombing in Saigon. Goldman tells Zeke that he has decided to come out of the field; Zeke assuring him he’s making the right decision. But it is clear he is stunned. He breaks up a fight between Hockenbury and Taylor, and is less than thrilled that the new medic is a conscientious objector. Zeke is promoted to Sergeant 1st Class by the new L-T, Miller. Asks Doc if he knew Jennifer Seymour back at Fort Sam Houston. In a quiet moment, shares a drink with Myron, both men clearly sad with Myron’s decision to leave the field. Tries to restrain Doc out in the field, saying the boy was going to get him killed. Later, sits down with Hockenbury and again asks him about Jennifer. In one of the saddest and sweetest moments to date, tries to reach out to a destroyed Myron when he tells him that he knows that there is nothing anybody can say to him, but the men wanted Zeke to tell him how sorry they were. Unable to reach Myron at that moment, he leaves him with his grief. Although Zeke and Myron would always remain friends, this would mark a turning point in that friendship that would leave Zeke trying to reach Myron and bring him back from an abyss over most of the remaining third season.
The Ties that Bind (Ep #40) [May 1968]: Everything changes when Zeke, along with Goldman, Percell, Taylor, Johnson, Ruiz and Hockenbury ship over to Camp Barnett to become Team Viking. No longer a platoon sergeant and nearing the end of his third tour, Zeke tells Myron that he thinks he should take his 3 weeks leave and go home to see his daughter. Distant, Goldman tells him to use it or lose it, and not to worry about the men, that he was staying. Zeke tells him that he is more worried about the L-T than the men. We see him again in a Class A uniform when he goes to visit his ex-wife- Carol and his daughter- Katie. Tells Carol she has done good and that he was proud for her.
Lonely at the Top (Ep #41): Zeke is in civilian clothes for this entire ep. He goes to Fort Sam Houston and meets up with Jennifer. Asks her if she wants to fraternize with him in an unlawful manner. Tells Jennifer he doesn’t know about being happy. That he was happy at some point in the past, he is reasonably sure he will be happy at some point in the future. But that he has never been very good at being happy in the present. He also tries to explain to Jennifer why he feels he needs to go back. While at a drive-in where a young man who’s just finished basic training is bragging, Zeke goes over and tells him about what death sounds like over in Nam. He proposes to Jennifer and gives her the ring he had bought for her back in Nam. He has a nightmare where he sees his men killed. Wakes up shouting next to Jennifer who comforts him. In the end, Zeke and Jennifer know he must go back. He has unfinished business. She gives him back his ring, but it is clear she loves him and will wait for him.
A Bodyguard of Lies (Ep #42): Zeke returns to Vietnam to find things have changed. Although Myron has found his balance, he remains distant from him, and Percell is filled with despair and rage. Upon finding the guys, who greet him warmly, announces that he is there for the duration. Brewster asks him why he has signed up for a fourth tour and Zeke explains that he doesn’t like unfinished business. Tells Hockenbury his monkey is out of uniform. With Goldman and the rest of Team Viking, is horrified when they stumble across the massacre of Phu-An. Tells Goldman he did not sign on for this. And that he strongly advises Myron to go through proper channels. First time we see him in tiger stripes- the sleeves are cut out- leaving him bare armed. This is typically the way he will wear this particular uniform.
A Necessary End (Ep #43): Anderson calls Hockenbury over on the landing platform about the peace sign painted there. Silently kills one NVA regular with a knife in the back during a snatch mission. Chases down and kills an ARVN who betrays them, pulling him down and killing him with his knife. Shoulders up the dead ARVN killed by the traitor, telling Taylor if they see it done for their people, they might do the same for them should their time come.
Cloud Nine (Ep #44): Zeke is clearly disappointed when Myron refuses to help bring back Percell and instead wants to write him off. Goes with only Johnson into Cho-Lan to get Danny. Shoulders up and carries Danny out of drug parlor after repeatedly slamming him against the wall. Tells Danny “I heard that,” after Percell tells him he feels as if an entire NVA division went through his body. Helps to blow up NVA truck. Tells Danny he has to keep moving forward, a day at a time and that he is there for him.
Thanks for the Memories (Ep #45): Thanksgiving at Camp Barnett. Although we don’t see it awarded, Zeke has a new medal pinned on his shirt. He clearly respects and admires Brewster. He discusses with him the colonel’s theory of a major fuel depot. And tells him what had happened on the Parade ground during the award ceremony left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. Slips out at dawn on Thanksgiving Day with Team Viking and Brewster to locate the fuel depot. Helps to blow up the depot. Shares Thanksgiving dinner with the men, and convinces Percell to join them.
I Am What I Am (Ep #46): Talks to Percell about coming back and tells him he can lean on his friends. Talks to Goldman about Myron’s father, tells Myron is he sorry about the news concerning his father. Myron asks him to bring everyone back safely. McKay tries to pull rank on Zeke during the mission to steal a helicopter, refusing to listen to Zeke’s obvious experience. Zeke forces his hand and McKay capitulates and does it his way.
World in Changes (Ep #47): Zeke referees between Johnson and Taylor before a mission. Uses the phrase: “This a quick snatch in a bad neighborhood.” When Fontaine tries to take control of the mission from Goldman, Anderson, with Percell, makes it quite clear- at rifle point- that they follow Goldman. Helps to rescue Taylor and Johnson when they are captured. Tells Johnson he will be fine when he says good bye to him. And that despite everything that had happened to him over here, he didn’t let any of it change who he was or what he came over here to do.
Green Christmas (Ep #48) [December 25th, 1968]: While speaking to a news reporter, Zeke becomes emotional as he asks for the American people to just talk to the men who have served over here in Nam. And that they deserved respect. In a gentle moment, Zeke is finally able to reconnect with Myron in the friendship they used to share when they exchange presents. Zeke gives Myron a transistor radio, Myron gives him a bottle of good liquor. Tells Myron he got a care package from Jennifer that included a book called Interpretation of Dreams by Sigmund Freud. Myron laughs, telling him he is going to find out what a sexual pervert he is, Zeke replying that it was old news. Tells Myron about his first Christmas overseas when he was 18. Celebrates Christmas with McKay, Goldman and Team Viking at the orphanage. Talks to Myron about what they would be doing back in the States if not in Nam. Tells Myron it’s not often he gets a chance to guard a bunch of nuns and kids and that it’s almost perfect. Goldman replies with the famous line- “And I got you,” to which Anderson replies, “I said, almost perfect.”
Odd Man Out (Ep #49): Has to tell Taylor he did not get his stripe. Goes with Goldman to meet the local province chief. When he comments on Li’s grasp of English, is embarrassed when she tells him his is not good. When things go badly, stays behind in order for Goldman and Team Viking to get away. In the end, he makes it to the village where he is rewarded with Myron’s wide-open smile, which he returns as he raises his rifle above his head.
And Make Death Proud to Take Us (Ep #50): Probably one of the more powerful episodes for Anderson as we see him as we first met him- as a platoon sergeant. He slips as easily back into the role as Myron does as platoon leader when they are forced to take an entire rifle platoon of very green kids out in the bush. It will take everything he knows to survive when, separated from Goldman, his position is overrun by more than 200 NVA and VC. McKay is the only one who can get to him, but even he can do little to change the odds. Yet despite this, Anderson somehow manages to survive, and with him, he brings out Taylor, Percell, Griner and young Eddie Bell. Has one great moment with Taylor between attacks when he asks if Taylor had been shot. Taylor tells him he has the worst charlie horse he has ever had, to which Zeke shakes his head and replies- “Oh man, Taylor, every time I think I heard it all, all’s I gotta do is talk to you and I realize I ain’t heard nothin’.” This is one of the few times you will see him in tiger stripes uniform with the sleeves intact. He also uses an M-16 rifle.
Dead Man Tales (Ep #51): Myron tells him to dust off his Class A uniform, that Zeke has been put in for the Distinguished Service Cross. Zeke is horrified and dismayed when he finds out that Eddie Bell is dead, killed in a careless drunken accident. He tells the guys they didn’t do a good job at all of watching him, and that they had no respect for the dead. And that he was especially disappointed in Taylor, who literally just made sergeant. Is beside Goldman when the base is overrun by sappers, using a shotgun during the attack.
The Road to Long Binh (Ep #52): Goes with Myron on prisoner detail when they are about the only two people not to get food poisoning. Convinces Myron it is an opportunity to relax despite the L-T’s complaints. We get that famous bar scene and Zeke finds out just how much Myron respects him and an affirmation of just how deep a friendship these two men share. Also tells Myron about a letter he got from Johnson, confirming that Johnson was adjusting to being home just fine. Zeke knows the deserter, Digby. Myron tells Zeke about the time he shot up the bar in Saigon.[True Grit- Ep #25]We get some information on Zeke’s past in the Army during the periods he served with Digby. After Digby helps them break up an ambush on an American convoy, convinces Goldman to let him go.
Acceptable Losses (Ep #53): Is dismayed when they are forced to leave Taylor and Ruiz behind during a failed mission. Along with Goldman’s and McKay’s help, tries to rescue the two men, but is again forced to leave them when McKay’s chopper takes fire.
Vietnam Rag (Ep #54): Back into Platoon status again, Zeke is less than thrilled when they take yet another batch of raw kids out into the bush, with a journalist. Along with Goldman, it is clear that both men are pushed to their limits as several of the kids are wounded or killed over the course of the reconn. He has to restrain Doc Hock at one point from trying to help one young man, not wanting the medic to get injured as well. In the end, after tracking their attackers to a nearby ville, Zeke helps to burn the village down on Goldman’s orders.
War is a Contact Sport (Ep #55): Along with Percell, goes to help unload a pair of bodies from a chopper only to be surprised to find Taylor and Ruiz- very much alive.
Three Cheers for the Orange, White and Blue (Ep #56): While Goldman is testifying at an inquiry concerning Phu-An, goes out with the platoon while the Ranch Hands are spraying. We clearly see him being sprayed with Agent Orange.
The Raid (Ep #57): Is chosen by Colonel Brewster, along with Team Viking, to go out on a special mission to rescue several POWs. Along with Doc, Marcus and Myron, says a final good bye to Danny Percell and Alberto Ruiz, who now return home.
Payback (Ep #58): Zeke is a full platoon sergeant again alongside his friend, Lt. Goldman. Both men are dismayed at how things have changed. As with so many of the characters, we will never know if Zeke makes it out of Vietnam after having served four tours.