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Tour of Duty is an American television drama series on CBS which ran from September 1987 to April 1990. The show follows an American infantry platoon on a tour of duty during the Vietnam War. It was the first television series to regularly show Americans in combat in Vietnammarker and was one of several similarly-themed series to be produced in the wake of the acclaimed Oliver Stone film, Platoon. The show was created by Steve Duncan and L. Travis Clark, and produced by Zev Braun. It ran for three seasons as 58 one hour episodes.


Not simply an action program, Tour of Duty was also groundbreaking as it addressed the issues of racism, suicide, fragging, terrorism, civilian deaths, drug abuse, and the shattered lives and confused feelings of those troops who finally made it home alive. The story focuses mainly on Bravo company's third platoon under the command of Lieutenant Myron Goldman (Stephen Caffrey), and Staff Sergeant (later Sergeant First Class) Zeke Anderson (Terence Knox).

The first season opens in 1967 and follows a standard light infantry platoon. In the second season, the troops found themselves relocated to a base near Saigon while conducting the typical "search and destroy" missions. Production staff interviewed in VIETNAM Magazine cited this change as a change in premise that doomed the series, as female characters were also introduced (in hopes of gaining more female viewership) and the show ceased to be a realistic chronicle of life in the field for the average line infantryman in favor of being more romance- and action/adventure-oriented. In the third season, the remaining female character was killed off and the platoon was transferred to a SOG (Studies and Observation) unit under the command of Colonel Brewster, conducting covert operations in Vietnam and in Cambodiamarker, culminating in the fictional version of the raid on Son Tay Prisonmarker. The third season was the show's last.

The series won an Emmy Award in 1988 for Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Drama Series, and it was nominated again in 1989 and 1990.

In its third season, CBS moved the show to the Saturday 9:00 p.m. time slot. Being forced to compete with NBC's The Golden Girls and Empty Nest, the show's ratings dropped and the show was canceled at the end of the season.


The opening theme song was an abbreviated version of The Rolling Stones hit "Paint It Black" that had featured in the end titles of the 1987 Vietnam War film Full Metal Jacket, this was removed for the DVD release. The closing consisted of an instrumental, synthesized tune with a distinctive Asian sound mixed in with acoustic guitar; it was performed by Joseph Conlan, and was never released for public consumption other than in the series. That music was used as background music for most of the series. On DVD most of the Vietnam War era popular music was replaced by instrumental bits to cover the blank spots of music.

The show was known for its classic American rock soundtrack including Creedence Clearwater Revival, Jimi Hendrix, and Jefferson Airplane. One first-season episode, "USO Down," used "live" versions of "Wooly Bully", and "We Gotta Get Out of This Place" as performed by a USO band, the latter song being used also for ironic comment. The songs in this episode were retained in the DVD soundtracks. But for copyright reasons, the VHS and DVD soundtracks of the majority of episodes were replaced with more generic music by lesser-known bands — a move which was widely protested by buyers, and resulted in a significantly lower sales volume for the third-season DVD set than for the first two.

In the Netherlands, amongst other European nations, a total number of seven albums were released, containing most of the songs featured on the show. As a result, "Paint It Black" was re-released as a single, again hitting the number 1 position in the Dutch top 40 popchart in May 1990.


The first season was filmed on location in Hawaii at Schofield Barracksmarker. For the second and third seasons the series was filmed around Los Angeles, Californiamarker in order to reduce costs. This also enabled the producers to redress a studio backlot as Saigonmarker. The move also meant reusing the same locations, notably a small river with grass on one bank and woods on the other which turns up in a number of episodes. A lot of filming was undertaken on the old set of M*A*S*H. Helicopter scenes with McKay were filmed on the ground with the rotors running.

International broadcasts

In the Netherlands it was broadcast by Veronica on the national television network.

In the United Kingdom Tour of Duty was screened onBBC2 on Tuesday nights at 21.00

The French-speaking version was called "L'Enfer du Devoir", and aired in France and the Province of Québec (aired on the Historia channel in Québec Monday through Thursday at 5pm, in July and August 2005).

The Australian television network Ten first ran the series at 7:30 pm. Many years later Seven repeated the series typically late at night on Thursdays, normally starting at 12:00 midnight.

In the Philippinesmarker it was weekly aired on GMA 7marker every Monday night at 9:00 pm.

In Costa Ricamarker it was aired by channel 9 and then by channel 7 as "Misión Vietnam"

In Mexicomarker it was aired by Televisa's canal 5 as "Misión del Deber" (Duty Mission), whilst in Argentina it was broadcast as "Nam: Primer Pelotón" (Nam: First Platoon).

In Spainmarker, Telecinco aired the show as "Camino del Infierno" in late night hours Wednesday, and later, on C+ as "Tour of Duty" at 12.00 M.

In Italymarker the show was aired by a local TV Network Italia7 with the title "Vietnam Addio" (Goodbye Vietnam) in the form of a tv-movie. It was also aired on the national network Italia1.

In Israelmarker the show aired in the mid 2000's on the now-defunct local version of the AXN cable channel under the name "Sherut Kravi" (Combat Service). It was also previously broadcast on the METV channel.

In Germanymarker the show was aired by RTL with the title "NAM – Dienst in Vietnam" ("NAM — Service in Vietnam").

In Japanmarker the show with the title "Good Luck Saigon" was aired thuru the Wowow, a paid satellite broadcast around 1991. By this reason the show is least known by Japanese public.

In Zimbabwemarker the show was boadcast in the early nineties, showing on the national television channel ZBC TV1 (Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation Television 1) at nine o'clock pm on Thursdays and developed a cult following, becoming a hit television series throughout its screening.

In South Africa the show was aired with the title "Sending Vietnam" in Afrikaans by the SABC.

In Swedenmarker the show was sent over and over again during late nights at the channel Kanal 5 as "Pluton B i Vietnam".

In Norwaymarker the show was broadcast with the title "Pliktløpet" by "TV Norge" in the 90's.

In Denmarkmarker the show was broadcast in the 1990s as "Platoon B" on various local-tv networks, mainly the channel "Kanal 2".

In Brazilmarker the show was aired with the title "Combate no Vietnã" ("Combat in Vietnam").

In Colombia the show was aired with the title "Misión del Deber" ("Duty Mission").

In Sri Lanka the show has been aired at least twice, once in 90s and once in 2007/8.

Cast members

Kevin Conroy, Stan Foster and Ramón Franco may have been cast in their parts at least partially due to their resemblance to "The Three Soldiersmarker" statues at the Vietnam Veterans Memorialmarker in Washington, DC; a publicity still photo from the series has the three actors uniformed, armed and posed as "The Three Soldiers". (The statues were unveiled in 1984, three years before the series debut.)



  • Emmy Award
    • 1989: Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Drama Series (for "I Wish it Could Rain")
    • 1990: Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Drama Series (for "And Make Death Proud to Take Us")
  • Eddie Award
    • 1988: Best Edited Episode from a Television Series (for the pilot episode)


The Original Soundtrack Albums

The Tour of Duty television series soundtrack was released by CBS on Columbia Records as four different compilation albums during 1988 and 1989. The original albums are now out of print. Their track listings are as follows:
Tour of Duty Soundtrack, Volume 1 (1988)

  1. "Baby Love" - Diana Ross and The Supremes
  2. "Here Comes The Night" - Them
  3. "We Gotta Get Out Of This Place" - The Animals
  4. "A Whiter Shade Of Pale" - Procol Harum
  5. "Itchycoo Park" - Small Faces
  6. "All Along The Watchtower" - Jimi Hendrix
  7. "Hurdy Gurdy Man" - Donovan
  8. "Time Of The Season" - The Zombies
  9. "And When I Die" - Blood, Sweat & Tears
  10. "War" - Edwin Starr
  11. "Ball Of Confusion" - Temptations
  12. "What's Going On" - Marvin Gaye
  13. "Time Has Come Today" - Chambers Brothers
  14. "I Want To Take You Higher" - Sly & The Family Stone
  15. "Groovin' Is Easy" - The Electric Flag
  16. "Oye Como Va" - Santana
  17. "Ball And Chain" - Janis Joplin
  18. "Ballad Of Easy Rider" - The Byrds
Tour of Duty Soundtrack, Volume 2 (1988)

  1. "Paint It Black" - Performed by the Rolling Stones, Chris Farlowe (?)
  2. "Tin Soldier" - Small Faces
  3. "Stone Free" - The Jimi Hendrix Experience
  4. "Sunshine Of Your Love" - Cream
  5. "Born To Be Wild" - Steppenwolf
  6. "Reach Out I'll Be There" - The Four Tops
  7. "People Get Ready" - The Impressions
  8. "Jennifer Juniper" - Donovan
  9. "Your Precious Love" - Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
  10. "Groovin'" - The Rascals
  11. "Eight Miles High" - The Byrds
  12. "Cloud Nine" - The Temptations
  13. "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" - Gladys Knight & The Pips
  14. "Piece Of My Heart" - Janis Joplin
  15. "It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry" - Al Kooper & Stephen Stills
  16. "Ring Of Fire" - Eric Burdon & The Animals
  17. "Spinning Wheel" - Blood, Sweat & Tears
  18. "Bridge Over Troubled Water" - Aretha Franklin
Tour of Duty Soundtrack, Volume 3 (1989)

  1. "White Room" - Cream
  2. "Highway Chile" - Jimi Hendrix
  3. "Lazy Sunday" - Small Faces
  4. "Gloria" - Them
  5. "Sky Pilot" - Eric Burdon & The Animals
  6. "Natural Born Bugie" - Humble Pie
  7. "White Rabbit" - Jefferson Airplane
  8. "The Weight" - The Band
  9. "Go Now" - The Moody Blues
  10. "San Francisco" - Scott McKenzie
  11. "Draft Morning" - The Byrds
  12. "Evil Ways" - Santana
  13. "Dance To The Music" - Sly & The Family Stone
  14. "Tell Her No" - The Zombies
  15. "Barabajagal" - Donovan
  16. "Killing Floor" - The Electric Flag
  17. "Black Night" - Deep Purple
  18. "Paranoid" - Black Sabbath
Tour of Duty Soundtrack, Volume 4 (1989)

  1. "This Wheel's On Fire" - Julie Driscoll
  2. "Rag Mama Rag" - The Band
  3. "On The Road Again" - Canned Heat
  4. "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?" - Chicago
  5. "American Woman" - Guess Who
  6. "Race With The Devil" - The Gun
  7. "Down The Dustpipe" - Status Quo
  8. "Living In The Past" - Jethro Tull
  9. "Bird On The Wire" - Leonard Cohen
  10. "Tears Of Rage" - Bob Dylan
  11. "Save The Country" - Laura Nyro
  12. "To Love Somebody" - The Bee Gees
  13. "There Won't Be Many Coming Home" - Roy Orbison
  14. "Melting Pot" - Blue Mink
  15. "Hi De Ho" - Blood, Sweat & Tears
  16. "Chestnut Mare" - The Byrds
  17. "Sweet Baby James" - James Taylor
  18. "Listen To The Music" - The Doobie Brothers

Compilation Soundtrack CDs

In 1992, Sony Music released a compilation CD titled The Best of 'Tour of Duty'. It contains only twenty of the songs featured in the four original Tour of Duty Soundtrack albums.

The Best of Tour of Duty (1992)

  1. "Born To Be Wild" - Steppenwolf
  2. "Tin Soldier" - Small Faces
  3. "This Wheel's On Fire" - Julie Driscoll
  4. "Barabajagal" - Donovan
  5. "Time Of The Season" - The Zombies
  6. "The Weight" - The Band
  7. "Get Together" - The Youngbloods
  8. "Chimes Of Freedom" - The Byrds
  9. "A Whiter Shade Of Pale" - Procol Harum
  10. "Piece Of My Heart" - Janis Joplin
  11. "Evil Ways" - Santana
  12. "25 Or 6 To 4" - Chicago
  13. "Killing Floor" - The Electric Flag
  14. "Dance To The Music" - Sly & The Family Stone
  15. "And When I Die" - Blood, Sweat & Tears
  16. "On The Road Again" - Canned Heat
  17. "American Woman" - The Guess Who
  18. "Race With The Devil" - The Gun
  19. "Shapes Of Things" - The YardBirds
  20. "Sky Pilot" - Eric Burdon & The Animals

Tour of Duty Top 100 (2008)

  • Disc 1
  1. "I Can Hear Music" - The Beach Boys
  2. "White Room" - Cream
  3. "Are You Ready" - Pacific Gas & Electric
  4. "Eight Miles High" - The Byrds
  5. "Hush" - Deep Purple
  6. "Have You Ever Seen The Rain" - CCR
  7. "Question" - The Moody Blues
  8. "Reflections - Diana Ross & The Supremes
  9. "Here Comes the Night" - Them
  10. "Son of a Preacher Man" - Dusty Springfield
  11. "Lady Willpower" - Gary Puckett & The Union Gap
  12. "Black Magic Woman" - Santana
  13. "Death of a Clown" - Dave Davies
  14. "It's the Same Old Song" - The Four Tops
  15. "You Wear It Well" - Rod Stewart
  16. "Mannish Boy" - Muddy Waters
  17. "I'd Rather Go Blind - Chicken Shack
  18. "All Right Now" - Free
  19. "Roll Over Beethoven" - The Electric Light Orchestra
  20. "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag (Parts 1 & 2)" - James Brown

  • Disc 2

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