The Tour of Duty Timeline
The term 'tour of duty' was used in Vietnam to describe the amount of time each soldier was drafted to serve, normally thought of as a year, though this wasn't always the case.
Because Tour of Duty used this term as its title, many people
mistakenly believed that this meant the series spanned only the course of a single year.
As you will see, the timeline is not 100% accurate, presumably due to the use of
"artistic license" by the writers and makers of the show. This is quite
common in TV and film, since the storyline often takes precedence over accuracy.
1.Premiere Episode - Tour of Duty
1967 Month unknown
One of the only actual dates mentioned in the show was the date of Captain Wallace's death, 9th December, 1967. In this episode Captain Wallace dies. The date is given in the citation for Zeke's medal awarded later in the series.
13. USO Down
Taylor has 45 days and a wake up.
14. Under Siege
Doc Matsuda has 15 days and a wake up, but has chosen to re-enlisted to take advantage of the army's medical training. He dies in this episode.
(artistic licence is used in this episode as the NVA tank/infanty attack on the Vei Special Forces Camp, is said to have happened 'last night' would make the date 7h February 1968, which would put it after the events of the second season two part opener "Saigon".)
16. Gray-Brown Odyssey
17. Blood Brothers
18. The Short Timer
At the start of this episode, Taylor has 2 days to go of his first tour in Vietnam.
(This episode should be 43 days after USO Down, which is another example of artistic licence stretching time)
19. Paradise Lost
20. Angel Of Mercy
(at the end of this episode Tet was supposed to be a few days away)
21. The Hill Between December 1967 & January 30/31, 1968
The Hill takes place before January, 1968 TET, (start of series 2) but after Captain Wallace's death, which we know to be 9th December 1967.
This episode was Baker's last episode until a guest appearance in episode 40, The Ties that Bind during season 3.
SEASON TWO starts with the Tet
Offensive, January 30 - 31, 1968
48. Green Christmas
December 25, 1968
Johnson is home. It's Christmas Time.
49. Odd Man Out
50. And Make Death Proud to Take Us January 6, 1969
Zeke is awarded the Distinguished Service Cross in episode 53, "Acceptable Losses" for the mission in this particular episode, the date mentioned is January 6, 1969
We also know that this is before TET as it is mentioned that the Army are making plans to strengthen the defences because of the offensive launched during the TET holiday the year before.
51. Dead Mans Tales
52. The Road To Long Bihn
53. Acceptable Losses
Taylor, Ruiz and Wozmak miss the chopper pick up.
54. Vietnam Rag Three weeks after previous episode
Sgt Anderson tells Ruizs girlfriend, Susanna, that he has been missing for 3 weeks.
55. War Is A Contact Sport
56. Three Cheers For The Orange, White And Blue
57. The Raid
The Baker Factor
40.The Ties That Bind
"It is possible to come up with explanations for some of these things, up to a point. But, having worked on the show, I know very well there was no attempt to keep to a strict timeline. Each writer worked within the context of the scripts he was assigned as the Season went on. They knew which characters they still had to work with, but that was about it.
All one can say is that certain events occurred before other events, or within the timeframe of a specific historical event, but all together, there was no concern that they add up as a whole."