Charlie Oman was born and raised on a farm in Vanlue, Ohio. He was a handsome young man who enjoyed life and loved to have a good time. Shortly after graduating high school, Charlie enlisted in the Marines and was sent off to the Vietnam War. This is where he was given the nickname “Waterboo” because he was as big and strong as a water buffalo. On April 21, 1967, Charlie’s life was changed forever when he sustained a gunshot wound to the head from hostile fire that left him nearly dead. He laid there in the rice paddy for 18 hours before he was discovered and quickly shipped off for treatment at the station hospital. He was then medically air evacuated to the United States and assigned to the Naval Hospital in Illinois, where he began his slow and difficult recovery.
The condition Charlie was in when his family and friends first visited him was unimaginable. He was barely recognizable and couldn’t even talk. The back right side of his head was gone leaving the left half of his body numb and with little motion. Life as he knew it started over as he had to relearn how to complete even the simplest of tasks. He adjusted over the years and lead a life of the greatest quality. Charlie spent much of his time on the road and was always surrounded by family and friends that have all become family. Some of Charlie’s hobbies were hunting, fishing, billiards and cooking. Most people will tell you he was very good at all of them, too.
Charlie “Waterboo” Oman passed away on Monday, April 19, 2021. He will always be an inspiration to so many and has driven Jeremy Klapprodt to explore himself, as well as the world around him. Waterboo is a documentary film that explores the incredible determination needed to overcome some of the greatest obstacles imaginable and recognizes the most important traits an individual can possess. Filmmaker Jeremy Klapprodt does this by revealing the story of Charlie Oman through the use of interviews, photographs, old film reels, and video footage shot over the years while traveling with him.
Directed by Jeremy Klapprodt (USA)