- "We were in this bar in Saigon and this kid comes up, this kid carrying a shoe-shine box. And he says "Shine, please, shine!" I said no. He kept askin', yeah, and Joey said, "Yeah." And I went to get a couple of beers, and--the box was wired, and he opened up the box, fucking blew his body all over the place. And he's laying there, he's fucking screaming. There's pieces of him all over me, just... like this, and I'm tryin' to pull him off, you know, my friend that's all over me! I've got blood and everything and I'm tryin' to hold him together! I'm puttin'... the guy's fuckin' insides keep coming out! And NOBODY WOULD HELP! Nobody would help! He's saying, sayin', "I wanna go home! I wanna go home!" He keeps calling my name! "I wanna go home, Johnny! I wanna drive my Chevy!" I said, "With what? I can't find your fuckin' legs! I can't find your legs!" I can't get it out of my head. A dream of seven years. Every day I have this. And sometimes I wake up and I don't know where I am. I don't talk to anybody. Sometimes a day - a week. (Tear-filled, grief-stricken whisper) I CAN'T PUT IT OUT OF MY MIND!!!"
- ―John Rambo on Danforth's death.
In the fanfiction Rambo: Year One, Danforth was Baker Team's communications specialist. Danforth, sadly, had a drinking problem which caused to him make ill decisions during R&R, such as sleeping with prostitutes in Saigon without using a prophylactic. Because of this, Danforth wound up contracting gonorrhea during the team's tour of duty in 1970. The team's commander, Paul Messner, beat up Danforth after catching him with a prostitute during a camp inspection, which led to Messner being demoted. Danforth was Killed In Action from falling into a spike and snake-ridden "punji pit" trap during a search and destroy mission near the Cambodian border.
The film version of First Blood offers a different backstory of Danforth's death. Danforth and Rambo were good friends and often spoke about buying a red Chevrolet convertible and "cruising until the tires fell off" to Las Vegas after the war was over. One day, they were at a bar in Saigon, Vietnam and a small child approached the two, asking if they would pay for a shoeshine. Rambo declined and went back to the bar to buy them two more beers, but Danforth accepted. The shoeshine box proved to be booby-trapped, and it exploded, blowing Danforth's torso apart. Rambo ran to Danforth and attempted to get help, but nobody would do anything. Danforth then cried about how he wanted to go home and drive his Chevy, but he died before Rambo could save him. Rambo later spoke to Colonel Sam Trautman, in a grief-stricken, tear-filled rant, about how Danforth's horrific death had remained in his mind every day since then.