Marine Maj. Jose J. Anzaldua Jr. spent more than three years as a prisoner of war during the height of the Vietnam War. Now, more than 45 years after his release, Sig Sauer is paying tribute to his service with a special gift.

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I watch a lot of television, movies, trailers, and trailer breakdowns for work, but here's the thing: I can't tell you or anyone else what makes a genuinely good military movie or show, especially if I haven't seen it yet. And I wouldn't call myself a "critic" in the classic sense. Then again what do they know; they said The Hurt Locker was a masterpiece.

What I do know, is that I get excited about stories that make an honest effort to achieve some measure of authenticity, whether it's a full blown dramatic reenactment of some major conflict, or seeing characters interact (even briefly) in a way you recognize, because you've had those conversations on base, overseas, or while you were drunk at one in the morning in the barracks.

At their best, military movies and shows focus on a character's service as more than a lazy plot device to explain why they're good with guns, have a high and tight, or shout out bits of military lingo at random moments; at their very worst, they may trot out the broken vet trope to add a little drama. And of course, there's the laziest of them where everyone's an operator — even lawyers, apparently.

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Sylvester Stallone is back as John Rambo. Why? Because nothing is (ever) over with this guy.

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(YouTube screenshot)

Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.

Forty years ago today, Apocalypse Now was released. As they say, it was kind of a big deal at the time, and actually it still is. Unlike some other movies about Vietnam released soon after the war, Apocalypse Now still largely stands up, unlike, say, The Deer Hunter, which is damn near unwatchable today. I know. I tried. Even Christopher Walken can't make two hours in rural Pennsylvania exciting.

Apocalypse Now might be the first example of people in the military turning a movie meant to highlight the horrors of war into a motivational video about killing the enemy.

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(U.S. Air Force/Jackson Proskow/Twitter)

More than five decades ago, the son of Air Force Col. Roy Knight waved goodbye to his father as he headed off to war.

On Thursday, that same son flew his father's remains back to the very same airport

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Photo: Fort Polk Public Affairs

A Hispanic organization is teaming up with a Texas veterans group to push for Fort Hood to be renamed in honor of an absolute badass Vietnam War Medal of Honor recipient.

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