A Legend Behind the Camera
Wes Studi is a celebrated actor who not many people know about. His accomplishments span many decades and also participated in military service in the Vietnam war.
Studi has worked on famous movies like, “Dances With Wolves” and “The Last of the Mohicans” just to name a few among other roles on TV and film.
Wes recently received one of the highest honors an actor or actress can receive.
He won a “Lifetime Achievement Award” Oscar for his outstanding career.
Wes began his career at 17 in the National Guard.
He was only a 17-year-old-high school student in an Indian boarding school in Oklahoma. He was given permission to enlist and so he did for the typical 6-year time span required at that time (this was around the 1960s).
Throughout his time in the National Guard, Wes learned of many veteran’s experiences from Vietnam and started pondering if he was cut out enough for it.
Only a year was left in his 6-year contract, so time was slowly ticking away.
He pulled the trigger and volunteered for active duty to Vietnam.
His time in Vietnam was only a year.
From 1967-1968, Wes was assigned to the 3rd Bn, 39th Infantry of the 9th Infantry Division. This unit was stationed in the Mekong Delta where they carried out many missions throughout the area.
Wes arrived at a time referred to as mini Tet which was in reference to the Tet Offensive where more than 100 cities and outposts were attacked in South Vietnam.
After the war, it was no surprise that Wes was significantly impacted by what he saw.
“While in Vietnam we had grown used to living every moment of our lives aware of the imminent threat of death that hung around us like a pall in every moment, in every place. Because it was so present at all times, we grew accustomed to living with that tension. It shaped our consciousness, our ‘awakeness’. It made us constantly attentive to our surroundings, constantly keyed up to act at a moment’s notice.”
Adjusting back home was definitely not easy
The trauma and baggage that comes along with experiencing warfare is a scar that lingers for life. Wes mentioned that it was very hard to let go of that constant tension of having to stay alert.
He realized he needed to release this stress by having an outlet that best suited him.
Studi decided to try out acting.
He went ahead and also began teaching the Cherokee language and the Cherokee syllabary and was also influencing the Cherokee language newspaper.
In addition, Wes is also constantly supporting Native American rights efforts and is trying to come up with ways to improve their living conditions.
We extend a heavy congratulation to Wes for all his contributions to cinema as well as his heroism in the Vietnam war.
There’s no doubt that Wes is an all-time great American that exemplifies what it means to be a patriot both on and off the camera.
Learn more about the man and the legend in the video below!
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