Monday, December 12, 2016

Treasure Quest, PTSD and a Sheridan Resort Hotel

For those of you keeping score at home, I had sworn off publishing anything more about Treasure Quest – Snake Island (which has nothing to do with Snake Island this season) but the last episode outraged me. Keith “Cappy” Plaskett had collapsed in the jungle and when the rest of the team reached him and touched him, he began screaming and curling up into a ball. He then said something about Vietnamese and later we’re told he had a flash back to his Vietnam service. I’m always suspicious of those claims and read a statistic that suggested there are only 880,000 Vietnam Vets still alive though some nine to thirteen million people claim service in country. The vast majority of people who claim they are Vietnam Veterans are lying about it.

So, they reach Plaskett and suddenly one of the team members is screaming for the doctor and I’m thinking, “What doctor?” But, of course there is a doctor with them, along with cameramen, and sound engineers and other support personnel that we never see (until this show when the cameramen are shown in the background. Do the camera operators drag all that heavy equipment through the jungle themselves or do they have help? Just how large is that support team? Who all is on it?). Okay, that’s no surprise because it would be impossible for all of the team to appear on film together with changing angles and whatnot without there being camera operators around. Here, however we get the proof because the doctor appears and suggests that Plaskett is dehydrated. He doesn’t seem to respond at first, but eventually comes around telling them that it was a flash back from one of his two tours in Vietnam (and I have to wonder again if I’m the only service member in the world who had only a single tour).

Although his team understands about PTSD, and there is a cheesy announcement at the end of the episode about helping our vets, I’m outraged that they would bring this into a faked reality show about treasure hunting in Argentina for the purpose of building dramatic ratings. And, knowing that so many “Vietnam Vets” are vets only in their minds, I did a little checking. Posted to Plaskett’s Facebook page are pictures of him receiving a medal while in uniform. One of the pictures is of sufficient quality that I can see the medals he’s wearing and they include the Vietnam Service and Vietnam Campaign which, given the circumstances confirms a tour in Vietnam but not necessarily two. And, given that picture, I have no reason to doubt other aspects of his claim of lengthy naval service.

As I say, I’m just annoyed that they brought this PTSD thing forward in a dramatic way. It reinforces a stereotype of the Vietnam Vet. Back in the old days, when I had a real job that required I go to an office every day and do work to make a living, I let it slip one day that I had served in Vietnam (and hey, if you want proof, go to the 187th AHC web site and look me up). One of the other employees couldn’t believe it. She said, “But you seem so normal.” So, yes, I’m a little sensitive to this and really don’t need to see it exploited on television in this cheap way.

I wouldn’t have even brought this up, except for a comment made to one of the postings I made about this show. A commenter, identified only as Claude (who just created his “profile” in December 2016 and has one view, me) wrote, “The team travels up river and travels hours through the ‘jungle’ to find the Santa Ana mission. Total BS! You can't get from the river to the mission without crossing the highway. Thanks to google maps, all they had to do is drive down highway 12 from the nearby town and take the small road to the visitor’s center and walk a hundred yards. In filming they were careful not to show the flood lights mounted on the ground to illuminate the mission at night. Not so remote as they would have us believe.”

I’m not going to comment on this unless I do a little checking myself which, given the Internet and Google Earth, isn’t all that difficult. I found the grid coordinates for Reduccion de Neustra Senora de Santa Ana which are 27 degrees 23 minutes South and 55 degrees 34 minutes west, which puts us in a field with highways running very close to it. No journey on a river into the remote jungle, no long trek through the thick vegetation, but a highway that runs very close and a town not too far away. In fact, you can stay in a Sheridan Resort Hotel for about three hundred bucks a night, which includes a buffet breakfast… so do the treasure hunters remain the jungle, in their tents, or do they set them up, talk about roughing it and retire to a hotel which probably has Internet, HBO, and that buffet breakfast?

Sure the jungle around them is remote and filled with dangerous creatures, but remember some of the Guarani showed up demanding to know what they were doing and eventually invited them to meet with village elders. Wasn’t one of these guys wearing an “Old Navy” T-shirt? Doesn’t that suggest the village might not be quite as remote as they suggest? And doesn’t it seem odd that some guy in a black market in Paraguay tells them he had a silver bar from this mission when it is apparently a big tourist attraction in Argentina with operating hours and recommendations for accommodations? Not to mention, didn’t anyone on the show think that some of us would resort to using the Internet to learn a little bit more about all of this? In the world today, it is very simple to use a variety of search engines to discover just what is going on and seeing just how “remote” the area is, and then find the hyperbole more than a little annoying.


Craig McDaniel said...


We learn something new every day. I really thought P.T. Barnum was the one who created the famous quote about a sucker born every minute. Not true. Wikipedia said the following:

Barnum Never Did Say "There's a Sucker Born Every Minute" R. J. Brown asserts that it actually originated with a banker named David Hannum, in regard to one of Barnum's hoaxes: a replica of the Cardiff Giant.

The point is this show and producers think there are plenty of suckers to show their tv reality show too. Some how I think the banker David Hannum would have financed this

Good job on the research. Also there was one very quick sceen from one of the drones that I thought showed a car in the background. The other thing I say was it looked like the so called ruins where mowed and weed eat. Too clean and neat. But I am sure someone would say I crazy or worse.

albert said...

Cappy may indeed be a Nam Vet. I'll give him that. But who's to say how real the flashback was, given all the dancing around the truth presented by the show. Just a little too 'lucky' for the producers, IMO. If it was faked, then shame on the lot of them.

Your point about Vietnam Vets as portrayed in the media is well taken. In your shoes, I'd write a letter to the Discovery company. I'll bet you could get a lot of signatures.

I have good friends who are Nam Vets, and I -had- friends who didn't make it back home. For me, it's personal.

BTW, are there any 'dramatization' disclaimers on this show?
. .. . .. --- ....

Sarge said...

When I came back from my tour in Vietnam we were advised to not travel in uniform if possible. the only hassle I had traveling was the airport MP's who seemed to stop everyone in uniform and give them a full dress inspection and papers check.
I was stationed in south Florida and stopped to give a couple of kids hitch hiking along Route 1 a lift when I got my first taste of the anti war crowd. They ran up to the car but when they looked in and saw the uniform they exploded in a hate filled rant about "Baby Killers" and such stuff.
Two years later when I left active duty I was made very aware of my place in our small town when the nice old lady at the local market commented that she hadn't seen me in a few weeks.
Viet Vets were always the bad guys on TV and in the movies, always just one loud noise away from putting on their jungle fatigues, grabbing that AK they smuggled home in their socks, and killing everyone in sight.
Some years ago just after the whole "Desert Storm - Let's make nice to our Vets" movement started my kids bought me a hat that said I was a Nam Vet. I wore it around town for a day and hated the way everyone kept saying "Welcome Home". I came home back in 1972 and no one gave a damn. It all seems to fake for my tastes. Like the smile and "have a nice day" the girl says at the checkout. It's just something people say, they don't really care or mean it.
If my Father was the 'Greatest Generation",we were the "Bastard Step-Child at the Reunion" one.

Unknown said...

I wanted to drop you a line to suggest that I agree. Someone really, really needs to do some fact checking regarding the background of Treasure Quest - "Captain" Keith Plaskett. I did not serve in Vietnam, but I did serve 23 years in two branches of the armed forces; 6 years active duty in the USMC, then 18 years in the USCGR, with a couple of mobilizations for the Gulf Wars thrown in. I came in the USMC in the 70's and served with a lot of Vietnam vet Marines that were still in and staying for careers. In my 23 years total service I have seen and hung with vets from 3 major wars. I am very familiar with the PTSD phenomenon, know some friends and family members that have it, and in my opinion this thing we all watched on TV regarding Keith's PTSD episode was crap.
I was appalled and immediately suspicious at this whole PTSD incident. I was incredulous that such a thing was in the show in the first place - and then something about the dialogue and the fast recovery, etc. just didn't seem right. Then, Keith starts blurting out about 2 tours in Vietnam and 2 tours in Iraq. This immediately got my attention. The math here for that statement is a real, real stretch, and highly unlikely. If he's an 18 year-old kid fighting during Tet in 'Nam in '68, then the earliest you could have completed 2 tours in Iraq would be 2004, and that's only if you were first-in during the 2003 invasion, then re-upped to go right back for the next pump in 2004. That's a minimum required 36 years of military service to make that story work - or longer. Only 2% of the military makes it to 30 years service, and almost no one stays 36 years without special skills or permission. It doesn't happen, except in the rarest of circumstances, because the military pension maxes out at 30 years of service and there is no financial incentive to stay beyond 30 years. Also, I'm sorry, the whole scene looked fake and staged and seemed like the kind of thing television producers in the field come up with to create a little excitement because the show is dragging. We are led to believe that walking down the jungle path triggered the Vietnam flashback "all my buddies were killed" - yet this guy's resume says he's been tromping around the jungle down there and treasure hunting for years. In addition his amateurish excitable reaction and dialogue during the fuel filter clog in the engines incident on the boat also were not of that of an experienced boat handler. Something about this guy reeks, and the television show producers really need to go back and fact check everything on his resume. At the minimum this guy is embellishing, and at the worst he's a blowhard fraud.

Phenobarbitol said...

I found this blog because Cappy's claim to have served both in Vietnam AND Iraq seems fishy, specifically because he says he did two tours in Iraq... I'm assuming he must be referring to the 1990 Gulf War because, as the previous comment points out, he'd have to have served a nearly impossible amount of time to have served in the Iraq War. The problem with claiming he served two tours in Iraq is that the Gulf War only lasted 7 months. Highly suspect. He may have spent time in Saudi Arabia or Kuwait or sitting on a Navy ship in the Gulf but that doesn't count as "two tours in Iraq". I'm a veteran and can't understand how someone would make false claims about their service, it's such a violation of every code and every bit of integrity you are supposed to pick up in the military.
I can also add some insight into the second season as I grew up and lived in Paraguay for 20 years. I speak Guarani, an official language in Paraguay. The amount of complete fabrications and lies in this season are too many to list, it's insulting and hilarious at the same time. Here are the more glaring things that annoyed me:
1. Emilio White, the supposed biology expert and guide at one point tells the crew that the Guarani name of a dangerous plant is "yagua"... I laughed for about a minute straight at this because "yagua" is the Guarani word for "dog", not a plant. Emilio is Argentinian so he almost certainly doesn't speak Guarani. Yagua is a common word, probably one of 10 that Emilio knows.
2. Both of the Jesuit missions they travel to (Santa Ana and Santisima Trinidad) are huge tourist attractions and have been excavated, researched, documented, studied and written about for decades by all sorts of scientists from all over the world. The idea that the goons from this show would show up and find anything is as likely as a team of Swiss explorers searching for treasure at the Alamo in Texas. Total, unadulterated bullshit.
3. The "Nazi hideout" that they supposedly stumble across... yeah, that is a well known site that has already been featured on other shows. My brother tells me it was featured on the "Hunt For Hitler" show. It's also located right next to paved roads and requires zero jungle trekking to locate. The whole "Nazis in Paraguay" story has been sooooo played out and beaten to death over the years. There are zero mysteries left to discover regarding Nazis who hid in Paraguay. Between the Israelis that hunted them, tv shows, historians and authors every stone in Paraguay has been overturned when it comes to this history. Virtually every thing presented as fact on this show is a fabrication and they're counting on people not knowing anything about the subject.
4. "Survival expert and Air Force medic veteran" Brett Tutor is an interesting character. He's presented on the show as an expert on a variety of things and I find it very funny because I've met him. He lives in Austin, Texas where I live and he runs a home inspection business. When I first saw him on the show I knew I'd met him before and I eventually realized that I freaking hired the guy to inspect a septic tank once. Google him, he runs his home inspection business and also has appeared on other reality shows as a home repair expert, expert carpenter, bla bla bla. It's bullshit. He's a hunky dude that seems to just get hired to fill whatever "expert" role a show needs. The list of accomplishments he claims is as suspect as "Cappy"'s. Military vet, Peace Corps, stuntman, carpenter, EMT and SWAT medic, house flipper, home inspector, and musician... those are all pulled from bios anyone can find on the internet.

KRandle said...

Phenobarbitol -

Here's the problem with your first point. I served in Vietnam and in Iraq in 2003 - 2004. So it is completely possible for "Cappy" to have done that. In fact, I was nearly deployed to Afghanistan in 2006. It all boils down to when you served in Vietnam and how old you were. There were about a dozen Vietnam vets in the battalion in which I served in Iraq.