On May 8, 1987, the movie “Gardens of Stone” premiered in theaters. The film traces the story of Specialist Jackie Willow (played by D.B. Sweeney), fresh out of basic training, adjusting to his role in the 1st Battalion, 3d Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard). The film was directed by Oscar-winning director Francis Ford Coppola, best known for “The Godfather” trilogy.
The movie is based on the novel of the same name written by Nicholas Proffitt. Proffitt drew from his first-hand experience, as he was in Company D of the Old Guard in the early 1960s. Proffitt became a war reporter for Newsweek, covering the Vietnam War. He later covered Beirut, before returning to cover the fall of Saigon at the end of the Vietnam War. He would see his first novel, Gardens of Stone, published in 1983. Mr. Proffitt passed away in November 2006.
The all-star cast also featured James Caan, James Earl Jones, Anjelica Huston, Dean Stockwell, Mary Stuart Masterson, and Laurence Fishburne. Portions of the movie were filmed at Fort Myer and inside various buildings on post. Mr. Sweeney was the guest speaker at the 2012 Old Guard Association Reunion.