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“Uncommon Valor,” one of my all-time favorites as a kid, premiered on this day in history, Dec. 16, in 1983.

I was able to watch the filming of the opening scene in a field on Kauai, Hawaii, when I was nine years old. 

On that same trip, I first visited the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor and the Punchbowl National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.  

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I encourage every American to visit those hallowed grounds.

On one level, the film “Uncommon Valor” was about never leaving a man behind. 

On another, it was about healing, or at least acknowledging, the wounds and lessons of Vietnam. 

This was one of the first movies to feature the storyline of a return to Vietnam to rescue MIA/POWs.

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It would be followed by “Missing in Action” starring Chuck Norris, and “Rambo: First Blood Part II” starring Sylvester Stallone. 

Through the medium of movies, television and commercial fiction, America could re-fight the war — this time with a different outcome. 

'Uncommon Valor' scene

One of the most impactful novels I read during that period of my life was “Mission MIA” by J.C. Pollock. 

It was one of the many books that cemented my resolve to both serve in Special Operations and then write thrillers. 

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The score for the opening scene for “Uncommon Valor” remains hauntingly vivid in my memory.

The title of the film comes from the U.S. Marine Corps Memorial in Arlington Ridge Park near Arlington National Cemetery. 

scene from "Uncommon Valor"

Its inscription reads: “Uncommon Valor Was A Common Virtue – Semper Fidelis.”

(Follow Jack Carr on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/jackcarrusa.)

More about ‘Uncommon Valor’

“Ten years after his son went M.I.A. in Vietnam, U.S. Marine retired Colonel Jason Rhodes assembles a private rescue team to find Americans held in P.O.W. camps in Laos,” noted IMDB about the film.

Among the stars of the film: Gene Hackman, Patrick Swayze and Robert Stack. 

"Uncommon Valor" scene

“Col. Cal Rhodes (Gene Hackman), a retired Marine officer, holds out hope that his son, believed to be a prisoner of war in Laos, is still alive,” notes Rotten Tomatoes. 

“Despite the government’s refusal to help Rhodes, he assembles a group to find and rescue his son, including skilled soldiers such as Wilkes (Fred Ward) and Sailor (Randall “Tex” Cobb). Funded by MacGregor (Robert Stack), a wealthy executive also looking for his son, Rhodes leads his men on a dangerous mission into the jungles of Laos.”

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The filming of “Uncommon Valor” started on June 6, 1983, according to James V. D’Arc in his 2010 book, “When Hollywood Came to Town: A History of Moviemaking in Utah” (Gibbs Smith).

Jack Carr in 2 closeup shots

“The Laotian POW camp [that’s featured in] the climax of the film was built on a private ranch in the Lumahai Valley on the island of Kauai, Hawaii, and was filmed in early August 1983,” he also noted.

In addition, wrote D’Arc, “The opening scene depicting the Vietnam War was filmed a short distance away in a rice paddy, two miles from central Hanalei, Hawaii, and 200 yards from the Kuhio Highway (Route 56).”

Other parts of the film were shot in Salt Lake City, Utah; Sun Valley, California; and Castaic, California, “which served as the training camp,” the book also noted.

Fox News Digital staff contributed reporting.

For more Lifestyle articles, visit www.foxnews.com/lifestyle.

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