Showing posts with label HBO. Show all posts
Showing posts with label HBO. Show all posts

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Only The Dead See End Of War--Michael Ware's Darkest Moment

Operation Iraqi Truth: New Documentary Reveals
Why War Is Hell
Michael Ware spent seven harrowing years covering the Iraq War – and he has the scars to prove it
Rolling Stone
By Reeves Wiedeman
March 25, 2016
By 2009, however, another IED attack debilitated Ware's senses of smell and taste – "I get too salty, too sweet, and that's about it" – and he soon realized he had to get out. He moved to Brooklyn, but found himself unable to walk to the corner store, much less work on the book he had a contract to write. He took assignments from CNN that sent him back to conflict zones. Eventually, he went on leave from CNN, citing post-traumatic stress disorder, and never went back. "That's when I started watching the tapes," Ware says.
read more here
Only the Dead See the End of War
His footage captures the violence, fear and confusion that defined the Iraq War, as well as his self-described “darkest moment” of the war, which haunted him long after he left the country.
Directed by two-time Oscar winner Bill Guttentag in collaboration with Australian journalist Michael Ware, Only the Dead See the End of War examines the Iraq War and its moral consequences through the story of the rise and fall of jihadi terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the founder of Al Qaeda in Iraq and the progenitor of ISIS. A harrowing and graphic account from both sides of the war zone, as well as an illuminating window into the origins of a modern terrorist organization, the film is told through visceral hand-held video footage culled from hundreds of hours that Ware shot while reporting over the course of the war. This unique, on-the-ground view is combined with eye-opening narration for a frank, unsparing look at the Iraq War unlike any before.

Arriving in Baghdad in 2003 as a novice reporter, Michael Ware was initially on a three-week assignment to cover the invasion of Iraq. He left seven years later, having gained unprecedented access to the Iraqi insurgency and American troops, as well as a myriad of demons -- the after-effects of witnessing seemingly endless, horrific violence.
read more here

Only The Dead

Monday, May 4, 2015

HBO Documentary Poster Girl Iraq Veteran Female Gunner PTSD

Film Based on WNY Vet's PTSD Story Featured In Reel Mind Series

 The story of a Western New York veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder is the subject of a film showing in Rochester this week as part of the Reel Mind Theater and Film Series.

The event focuses on the social stigma of mental illness. Organizers want to provide a message of hope that recovery is possible.

The film “Poster Girl” is showing at the Memorial Art Gallery Tuesday evening. The army veteran mentioned in the title is Robynn Murray, a native of Niagara County.

The title of the movie is based on a poster made from a picture of Murray on the cover of the Army's official magazine. She was depicted in the image as the ideal female soldier.

But Murray's military experience was not picture-perfect. She believes her experience with PTSD began during her first deployment to Iraq in 2003 where she worked as a machine gunner.

"I started to have panic attacks and I had no idea what they were. I thought I had a heart problem because I'd never had anything like that before, so I was sent to clinic on my FOB (forwarding operating base)."
read more here

From HBO

Poster Girl
Robynn Murray is an Iraq war veteran struggling with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). At age 19, shortly after 9/11, Robin decided to enlist in the Army, and recalls the recruiter telling her she would be assigned to the Civil Affairs division – “good guys” who provided humanitarian assistance and helped rebuild infrastructure. At the time, Robynn said, “I’m sold. I want to go and help people.”

Within a few days of arriving in Iraq, however, she was assigned to be the machine gunner for a 20-vehicle convoy, which sometimes meant being ordered to point her rifle at civilians. Today, at an anti-war conference, she holds up a copy of Army magazine, with a photo of herself and two other female soldiers on the cover. “This is what they made me,” she says. Robynn became a “poster woman” for females in combat, insisting that this was a role she never wanted.

Having grown up in a military family, Robynn knew from a young age she wanted to join the military. At her mother’s home in Buffalo, NY, she shows pictures of herself from high school, where she was a member of ROTC, a National Merit Scholar and a cheerleader. A photo of a smiling Robynn on prom night is a stark contrast to the Robynn of today, who has tattoos of rifles on her chest and the letters “V-E-T” on her knuckles. Of the rifle tattoos, she says they represent her disillusionment with the Army, and her “wish to never have my hands on any trigger or gun that would claim a life of another human being.”
read more here

Saturday, February 21, 2015

HBO Veterans Crisis Line Documentary Up For Oscar

There are many things the VA got wrong over the years. So much time had to spent talking about them so that someone would see fit to fix the issues. This isn't about what they got wrong. This is about something they have gotten right.

Is it perfect? No, as we've seen in the increased number of suicides after this effort began in 2007.

Suicides in the veterans population increased including Clay Hunt, the Marine with a prevention bill in his memory. None of what is in it is new. Wish I could say it was and join in the crowd pretending we've finally done something to make enough of a difference but I can't.

Suicides among veterans in state after state have reached double the rate of civilians committing suicide. Among younger veterans, they are triple the rate of their peers. Those numbers, sadly, could have been a lot higher if this Crisis Line was not in place.
Veterans Crisis Line connects Veterans in crisis with qualified, caring responders.
By Hans Petersen, VA Staff Writer
Thursday, February 19, 2015

Caring, Confidential Responders Always There

VA’s Veterans Crisis Line has answered over 1,625,000 calls.

That’s more than a million-and-a-half times a Veteran has felt suicidal or depressed or lost and decided to call for help…and the Crisis Line was there.

It’s a crisis too many of our wounded warriors face.

The Crisis Line has sent over 45,000 rescues to assist callers with emergency services.

That means that when our trained responders know the caller is in a serious crisis and they can’t calm them down or convince them to go to a VA hospital and see a Suicide Prevention Coordinator, they call the closest local emergency personnel to go to that Veteran’s home and help them.

And that has happened 45,000 times.

That saves lives and helps Veterans on the road to recovery. And since 2007, the Crisis Line has been there non-stop: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. Mental Health problems do not take a holiday and neither do we.

VA’s Veterans Crisis Line connects Veterans in crisis and their families and friends with qualified, caring responders through a confidential toll-free hotline, online chat, and text services.

The Crisis Line has provided over 261,000 referrals to local facility Suicide Prevention Coordinators. It is an essential component of VA’s overall effort to prevent suicide.

Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1 (HBO Documentary Films)

A moving entry for an Oscar: Saving vets from suicide
Gregg Zoroya
February 18, 2015

Among the candidates vying for an Oscar on Sunday night is a powerful film that highlights the persistent and troubling trend of lives devastated by war – to the point of suicide.

No, not American Sniper, the box-office smash based on a true story about a Navy SEAL who piled up record kills while developing emotional trauma.

This movie is a 40-minute documentary filmed in an austere, cubicle-setting on the campus of a Department of Veterans Affairs center in Canandaigua, N.Y.

It is the VA suicide hotline center (800-273-8255), where staffers take 1,000 calls a day from veterans or servicemembers on the brink of self-destruction or family members terrified a suicide might occur .

The HBO-produced film, Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1, is an Oscar nominee for best short documentary. It has been picked as a potential winner by critics that include The New Yorker magazine.

"Whether we win or not, I just think it's so great that it's getting all this attention and that it's going to help people call in," says Julianne Mullane, acting director of the hotline operations. She says she's putting on extra staff for the Oscars in case more calls are generated Sunday night.
read more here

Veterans Crisis Line
Published on Aug 28, 2014

One small act can make a big difference in the life of a Veteran or Service member in crisis. “The Power of 1,” a public service announcement from the Veterans Crisis Line, shows how taking the time to reach out can be the first step to getting those who served the support they need. A single action — one call, one chat, one text, one conversation — can have a significant impact. The Veterans Crisis Line connects Veterans or Service members in crisis, as well as their families and friends, with qualified, caring U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs responders through a confidential, toll-free hotline, online chat, and text-messaging service. Veterans and their loved ones can call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, chat online at, or text to 838255 to receive confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Reach out. One call can open the door to support.
VA’s Suicide Hot Line Begins Operations
July 30, 2007

Nicholson: “Help a Phone Call Away

WASHINGTON – To ensure veterans with emotional crises have round-the-clock access to trained professionals, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has begun operation of a national suicide prevention hot line for veterans.

“Veterans need to know these VA professionals are literally a phone call away,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Jim Nicholson. “All service members who experience the stresses of combat can have wounds on their minds as well as their bodies. Veterans should see mental health services as another benefit they have earned, which the men and women of VA are honored to provide.”

The toll-free hot line number is 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

VA’s hot line will be staffed by mental health professionals in Canandaigua, N.Y. They will take toll-free calls from across the country and work closely with local VA mental health providers to help callers.

To operate the national hot line, VA is partnering with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

“The hot line will put veterans in touch – any time of the day or night, any day of the week, from anywhere in the country – with trained, caring professionals who can help,” added Nicholson. “This is another example of the VA’s commitment to provide world-class health care for our nation’s veterans, especially combat veterans newly returned from Iraq and Afghanistan.”

The suicide hot line is among several enhancements to mental health care that Nicholson has announced this year. In mid July, the Department’s top mental health professionals convened in the Washington, D.C., area to review the services provided to veterans of the Global War on Terror.

VA is the largest provider of mental health care in the nation. This year, the Department will spent about $3 billion for mental health. More than 9,000 mental health professionals, backed up by primary care physicians and other health professionals in every VA medical center and outpatient clinic, provide mental health care to about 1 million veterans each year.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Concert for Valor or for Acts?

I couldn't watch the Concert for Valor last night because I don't have HBO and was not about to pay for it on demand so that I could watch it. Pretty sad when you think that this was supposed to be for veterans but most were not able to watch it. Then again, after hearing about this, maybe it was a good thing they didn't get to see it. It let many veterans wondering if this concert was for them or for the stars.
METALLICA - The Concert for Valor

Eminem and Rihanna - Live at The Concert for Valor 2014 (Full Performance HD)
Bruce Springsteen Promised Land
Dave Grohl
Zac Brown Band – Free [Official Video]
And the rest of the story from Stars and Stripes
Concert for Valor: Massive show shines spotlight on veterans' issues
Stars and Stripes
By Heath Druzin
Published: November 12, 2014

WASHINGTON — Thousands of troops and veterans gathered in the capital Tuesday night for a mega-concert in honor of Veterans Day, with servicemembers and performers sharing the same message: The spirit of the Concert for Valor must endure long after the music fades away.

A roar swept across The National Mall as acts such as Bruce Springsteen, Rihanna, Eminem and Metallica took to the stage for hundreds of thousands of revelers, with troops and veterans up front in a special section close to the stage.

The concert was organized by Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, who recently co-wrote a book “For Love of Country,” which highlights the economic benefits returning veterans can bring to the country. It comes as hundreds of thousands of veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan transition to civilian life and a national health care scandal has engulfed the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Army 2nd Lt. Maggie Smith, who attended with her husband and daughter, hopes it's the beginning of a better understanding that veterans are not charity cases — they are ready to step into leadership positions in civilian life.

"We're kind of trying to change the narrative about veterans," she said.
read more here

Famous last words since they actually did change the narrative for a lot of veterans very unhappy this day after being wished "Happy M-F Veterans Day" and they can't figure out what they were thinking with some of the stuff they just let happen. Young kids hearing swearing? Vietnam veterans having to listen to Fortunate Son? Were they thinking about veterans or not?

This could have been a wonderful thing to give to veterans on their day but why the hell did it have to come with a boatload of things that upset them?

Here is a for all our veterans. This one is from last year when Gary Sinise did a tribute to Vietnam and all veterans at the Disney Candlelight Concert

Monday, November 10, 2014

Starbucks CEO Laments Sales on Veterans Day Instead of Honor

Starbucks CEO: Veterans Day ‘has been turned into a weekend sale’
Washington Post
By Dan Lamothe
November 10, 2014

The CEO of Starbucks Coffee Company criticized the way America treats its veterans on Monday, saying that Veterans Day “has been turned into a weekend sale,” and more needs to be done to understand the military experience.

“That’s not respectful for me,” said Howard Schultz, speaking at an event for veterans at The Washington Post.

Schultz appeared along with Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert A. McDonald, Washington Post journalist Rajiv Chandrasekaran and some veterans to discuss how those who serve can continue to contribute to America after they take off the uniform for the final time. There’s a business case to hire veterans into corporate jobs, Schultz said, citing the “authentic leadership” they bring. But it has to be ingrained in the hiring practices of companies, he added.

The panel discussion, “Leading the Way,” is one of several events planned in the nation’s capital this week in conjunction with Veterans Day on Tuesday. Notably, Bruce Springsteen, Carrie Underwood, Eminem, Metallica, Rihanna, the Black Keys, Dave Grohl and other entertainers will combine Tuesday night to put on The Concert for Valor on the National Mall. The event — outlined here — is sponsored by Starbucks, HBO and Chase, and will air on HBO at 7 p.m.
read more here

HBO Veteran's Day Concert Featuring Bruce Springstreen, Rihanna, Eminem, Jennifer Hudson Could Draw Record Crowd
By Ira Teinowitz
November 8, 2014

Washington D.C. braces for as many as 850,000 attendees at The Concert for Valor at the National Mall on Tuesday

HBO is pulling out all the stops for Tuesday's Veteran's Day National Mall concert which could be its biggest ever live event.

The concert will feature Bruce Springsteen, Eminem, Rihanna, The Black Keys, Jennifer Hudson, Carrie Underwood, Meryl Steep, Jack Black and Bryan Cranston.

Fencing, which is normally used for inaugurations and Fourth of July celebrations, has been erected around the mall and Washington D.C.'s transit system has unveiled special plans to handle expected high attendance.
read more here

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

HBO to Debut Documentary CRISIS HOTLINE

HBO to Debut Documentary CRISIS HOTLINE: VETERANS PRESS 1, 11/11
October 23, 2013

Since 2001, more veterans have died by their own hand than in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, one veteran dies by suicide in America every 80 minutes. While only 1% of Americans has served in the military, former service members account for 20% of all suicides in the U.S.

Based in Canandaigua, NY and open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, the Veterans Crisis Line receives more than 22,000 calls each month from veterans of all conflicts who are struggling or contemplating suicide due to the psychological wounds of war and the challenges of returning to civilian life.

The timely documentary CRISIS HOTLINE: VETERANS PRESS 1 spotlights the traumas endured by America's veterans, as seen through the work of the hotline's trained responders, who provide immediate Intervention and support in hopes of saving the lives of service members. Debuting on Veterans Day, MONDAY, NOV. 11 (9:00-9:45 p.m. ET/PT), the film is directed by Ellen Goosenberg Kent (HBO's "Wartorn: 1861-2013" and "Alive Day Memories: Home from Iraq") and produced by Dana Perry (HBO's "Boy Interrupted").
After serving their country overseas, many military veterans struggle with post-traumatic stress, depression and addiction.

Since 2007, the Veterans Crisis Line has answered about 900,000 calls.

CRISIS HOTLINE highlights how its dedicated responders react to a variety of complex calls and handle the emotional aftermath of what can be life-and-death conversations.
The film captures these extremely private moments, where the professionals, many of whom are themselves veterans or veterans' spouses, can often interrupt the thoughts and plans of suicidal callers to steer them out of crisis. Hotline workers sometimes intervene successfully by seizing on the caller's ambivalence and illuminating his or her reasons for living.
read more here

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

HBO's 'Real Sports' examines MMA and PTSD tonight

Video: HBO's 'Real Sports' examines MMA and PTSD tonight
Jun 25, 2013

HBO's "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel" tonight examines how some military veterans are combatting post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with a seemingly unlikely activity: MMA training.
read more here

There are no "one size fits all" treatment for PTSD so keep trying until you find what works for you.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

James Gandolfini, Champion of PTSD and wounded veterans died in Italy

James Gandolfini dies; Actor changed cable TV in HBO's Sopranos
Washington Times
Entertainment News and Reviews
by Jacquie Kubin
June 19, 2013

LOS ANGELES, June 19, 2013 — As mob boss Tony Soprano we learned to love actor James Gandolfini, whose portrayal of the often slovenly boss on the “The Sopranos” showed us a kinder, gentler mobster. One that could be brutal, but who was also fraught with the same frailties as any man with a family, well two families, to take care of.

Gandolfini’s genius was in creating a character that became the center cog on what has remained as one of TV’s greatest drama series, lasting in the hearts and memories of fans well past its final show in 2007.
An active supporter of serving and veteran soldiers, Gandolfini began working behind the camera, producing “Alive Day: Home from Iraq” (2007) with HBO and “Wartorn: 1861-2010” which explored post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and its effect throughout the history of America.
read more here

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Bill Nelson, 101st Airborne Vietnam Vet, retires from HBO

HBO shuffles execs as Nelson retires
Richard Plepler to CEO;
Eric Kessler to prexy and COO

HBO is realigning its top management structure following the decision of Bill Nelson to step down after nearly 30 years as a key architect of the pay cabler's empire, including five years as CEO.

In the reorg structure, Richard Plepler will become CEO while Eric Kessler has been upped to president and chief operating officer. Michael Lombardo will see his duties expand as president of programming. Kessler and Lombardo will report to Plepler.

In announcing the changes, Time Warner and HBO emphasized that the current HBO exec team has had a long and prosperous run of working together and stressed that the transition from Nelson to Plepler would be seamless.

Nelson has been a quiet but towering force during his tenure at HBO. An Army veteran who served in the 101st Airborne Division in the Vietnam War, Nelson was upped to chairman-CEO at HBO in 2007, after Chris Albrecht's hasty exit from the company. Nelson began his career at Time Inc. in 1979 and segued to HBO in 1984.
read more here

Friday, November 12, 2010

HBO’s ‘Wartorn’ shows soldiers’ struggles with post-traumatic stress

HBO’s ‘Wartorn’ shows soldiers’ struggles with post-traumatic stress


The Associated Press

I am not so well. I am clear off the hooks,” wrote a soldier who soon would be discharged from the Army as unfit to serve.

Back at home in Pennsylvania, he turned increasingly paranoid and violent. Then he killed himself.

The year was 1864 for this young Civil War veteran.

It would take more than a century, and many more wars, for post-traumatic stress disorder to be recognized as a medical condition and to be acknowledged by the U.S. military as a raging fact of life.

A new HBO documentary, “Wartorn: 1861-2010,” charts this heartbreaking story, from the U.S. invasion of Iraq all the way back to the Civil War, whose veterans, according to the film, accounted for more than half the patients in mental institutions of that era.

James Gandolfini is an executive producer, returning the former “Sopranos” star to veterans affairs after his 2007 HBO documentary, “Alive Day Memories: Home From Iraq.”

Read more: Wartorn shows soldiers’ struggles with post traumatic stress

In this 1950 photo, a corpsman fills out casualty tags as a soldier consoles his friend after the loss of a comrade in Korea. A new documentary, “Wartorn: 1861-2010,” charts post-traumatic stress disorder from the Civil War, whose veterans accounted for more than half the patients in mental institutions in that era, to Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Al Chang
In this 1950 photo, a corpsman fills out casualty tags as a soldier consoles his friend after the loss of a comrade in Korea. A new documentary, “Wartorn: 1861-2010,” charts post-traumatic stress disorder from the Civil War, whose veterans accounted for more than half the patients in mental institutions in that era, to Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Wartorn: PTSD has been called, it's been called nothing at all


James Gandolfini TV special shows war veterans are often 'Wartorn' and their PTSD is brushed aside

Thursday, November 11th 2010, 4:00 AM
"Wartorn," a compelling examination of how combat can cripple the lives of those who survive physically intact, will trouble some viewers. It should.

What we today call posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), executive producer James Gandolfini explains, is really just a more formal medical-sounding term for what over the last 150 years has been called shell shock, combat fatigue or just hysteria.

More often, "Wartorn" points out, it's been called nothing at all. It's been ignored - buried inside by those who suffer from it and brushed aside by those who find the subject uncomfortable.

America, particularly male America, has always been a "buck up and shake it off" kind of culture. The idea that some intangible set of experiences or memories could disrupt a person's subsequent life can make that person seem weak or undisciplined.

"Wartorn" firmly rejects this notion, suggesting denial over time may only compound the debilitation.

Almost everyone knows vets from World War II, Korea, Vietnam or the Gulf who don't want to talk about it. Those on the outside usually take this as admirable stoicism, a sign of doing what had to be done and moving on.

"Wartorn" argues, convincingly, that some veterans can't do that. Whatever they did or saw has changed their lives, perhaps crippled them.

The manifestation can be physical, like screaming nightmares. Equally insidious, it can affect trust and relationships.

"Wartorn" starts with the Civil War, which wasn't the beginning of the problem, but gives us a riveting example through a series of letters written by a Pennsylvania soldier named Angelo Cropsey.

Read more: Wartorn

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

HBO Wartorn documetary on PTSD from 1861 to 2010


James Gandolfini Executive Produces

Civil War doctors called it hysteria, melancholia and insanity. During the First World War it was known as shell-shock. By World War II, it became combat fatigue. Today, it is clinically known as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a crippling anxiety that results from exposure to life-threatening situations such as combat.

With suicide rates among active military servicemen and veterans currently on the rise, the HBO special WARTORN 1861-2010 brings urgent attention to the invisible wounds of war. Drawing on personal stories of American soldiers whose lives and psyches were torn asunder by the horrors of battle and PTSD, the documentary chronicles the lingering effects of combat stress and post-traumatic stress on military personnel and their families throughout American history, from the Civil War through today's conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The HBO Documentary Films presentation debuts on Veterans Day, THURSDAY, NOV. 11 (9:00-10:15 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO.

Other HBO playdates: Nov. 11 (3:25 a.m.), 14 (3:30 p.m.), 18 (10:30 a.m., 12:10 a.m.), 22 (noon, 7:30 p.m.), 27 (noon ET/12:30 p.m. PT) and 29 (4:45 a.m.), and Dec. 7 (10:00 p.m.)

HBO2 playdates: Nov. 13 (7:45 a.m.) and 24 (8:00 p.m.)

Executive produced by James Gandolfini (HBO's "Alive Day Memories: Home from Iraq"), WARTORN 1861-2010 is directed by Jon Alpert and Ellen Goosenberg Kent and produced by Alpert, Goosenberg Kent and Matthew O'Neill, the award-winning producers behind the HBO documentary "Alive Day Memories: Home from Iraq." Alpert and O'Neill also produced and directed the HBO documentaries "Section 60: Arlington National Cemetery" and the Emmy(R)-winning "Baghdad ER." The documentary is co-produced by Lori Shinseki.

Bookended by haunting montages of emotionally battered American soldiers through the years, WARTORN 1861-2010 explores the very real wounds that occur as a result of combat stress, or PTSD. Among the segments of the film are:

Angelo Crapsey: In 1861, 18-year-old Angelo Crapsey enlisted in the Union Army. His commanding officer called him the "ideal of a youthful patriot." In letters sent over the course of two years, Crapsey's attitude toward the Civil War darkened after he experienced combat and witnessed the deaths of countless soldiers, including several by suicide. By 1863, Crapsey, was hospitalized, feverish and delirious; eventually he was sent home to Roulette, Pa. Becoming paranoid and violent, he killed himself in 1864 at age 21. His father John wrote, "If ever a man's mental disorder was caused by hardships endured in the service of his country, this was the case with my son." A postscript reveals, "After the Civil War, over half of the patients in mental institutions were veterans."

Noah Pierce: More than a century after Crapsey's suicide, 23-year-old Noah Pierce got in his truck, put a handgun to his head, placed his dog tag next to his temple and shot himself. Pierce's mother Cheryl recalls how her son changed following two tours of Iraq, showing a photo of him "filled with hate and disillusionment." Cheryl Pierce says, "The United States Army turned my son into a killer," adding, "They forgot to un-train him." In a letter he left in the truck, Pierce wrote, "I'm freeing myself from the desert once and for all I have taken lives, now it's time to take mine."

Gen. Ray Odierno: In Baghdad, James Gandolfini meets with Gen. Ray Odierno, Commander of Allied Forces in Iraq, who says that 30% of service men and women report symptoms of PTSD and explains how Vietnam helped inform today's understanding of combat trauma. "Nobody is immune," says Odierno, relating how his own enlisted son lost his left arm when a rocket-propelled grenade ripped through his vehicle, killing the driver. Later, at nearby Camp Slater, Gandolfini visits with U.S. Army Sgt. John Wesley Matthews, who speaks candidly about his bouts of depression, reliance on sleeping pills and contemplation of suicide.

Read more: Breaking News - HBO Documentary "Wartorn: 1861-2010," Exploring Combat and Post-Traumatic Stress, Debuts on Veterans Day, Nov. 11 | HBO DOCUMENTARY WARTORN
"Must you carry the bloody horror of combat in your heart forever?" - Homer, "The Odyssey"

William Fraas Jr.: Two years after his return from the current Iraq conflict, Billy Fraas is trapped by memories, transfixed by computerized photos taken over 29 months and three tours of duty. The leader of a reconnaissance team, he was sent home after PTSD symptoms surfaced, and his leg still shakes uncontrollably when he sits at the computer. Fraas' wife Marie is frustrated by what's become of her husband. "Even though he wasn't shot," she says, "he still died over there." Adds Fraas, "I've seen humanity at its worst. And I struggle with that on a daily basis."

Herbert B. Hayden: In 1921, Col. Herbert Hayden's Atlantic Monthly story "Shell-Shocked and After" described the "perfect hell" of being sent to the front in WWI. His nightmare continued even after he returned home six months later "back and yet not back at all." Suicidal, Hayden checked into Walter Reed Hospital, "searching for a spark in the emptiness," but found only newspaper clippings of tormented ex-soldiers who were not being cared for. "What was wrong with my country?" he asked.

Nathan Damigo: In San Jose, Marine Lance Cpl. Nathan Damigo got a hero's welcome when he returned home from Iraq. A month later, he was arrested for attacking a Middle Eastern taxi driver at gunpoint. As his mother Charilyn explains, Damigo was drunk and confused, and went into "combat mode" as he assaulted the cabbie. After a final night of freedom, Damigo makes a court appearance where he is sentenced to six years in jail. "They took him when he was 18 and put him through a paper shredder," says his heartbroken mother. "We get to try to put all the pieces back together. Sometimes they don't go back together."

Jason Scheuerman: A member of the 3rd Infantry Division in Iraq, Scheuerman grew up in a family of soldiers. His father Chris recalls how Jason went to see an Army psychiatrist, and filled out a questionnaire admitting that he had thought about killing himself. After a ten-minute evaluation, he was told to "man up" and was ordered back to his barracks to clean his weapon. Instead, he shot himself. "It's not just the soldier that's in combat that comes down with PTSD," says Chris Jr., who served in Afghanistan. "It's the entire family."

Akinsanya Kambon: Marine combat illustrator Kambon served as a corporal in Vietnam for nine months. "The Marine Corps teaches you to be like an animal," he says, adding he turned into "a mad dog." One of his nightmarish drawings is of a soldier, eyes still flickering, whose lower torso is blown away. "It's one of the images that I wake up screaming about," he says, "but it won't go away."

Thursday, February 19, 2009

HBO and Kevin Bacon Taking Chance

Very few of us get to witness grace when their bodies come home. There is no other way to put the events surrounding taking them home. I hope my impression of this movie holds true because it seems to be able to bring the emotional connection this nation has been missing.

Los Angeles Times

'Taking Chance:' A tale not of war, but honor and goodness

Kevin Bacon stars as a Marine escorting the casket of a slain Marine across the U.S.
By Tony Perry
February 20, 2009
During the Persian Gulf war in 1991, Michael Strobl was a lieutenant in a Marine artillery unit in the thick of the action.

By the time the Marines led the U.S. assault into Iraq in 2003, Strobl had been promoted to lieutenant colonel and had a desk job crunching manpower numbers at Quantico, Va.

Nagged by a sense that he should be at the front rather than behind a desk, Strobl volunteered as a military escort for a Marine killed near Ramadi. Strobl's assignment was to accompany the casket of Pvt. Chance Phelps from the military mortuary at Dover, Del., to Phelps' hometown in Wyoming for burial.
click link for more

'Taking Chance:' A tale not of war, but honorLos Angeles Times - CA,USA

Monday, July 21, 2008

Generation Kill Part Two a must see

Last week, I admitted that I was tired when I watched the first part of Generation Kill. I didn't really like it but said I would try again when I was not as tired. Last night, I was really tired but this time I was drawn in. The images were horrific but show a part of war we do not want to see. It was filled with action.

If you have never read about war, seen the images, heard their stories, then you need to watch this program. It's hard to get through but it provides a glimpse of what they see in real life. I've never been in combat, but I am a bit more prepared for watching a program like this because of what I do and what they tell me. I would really like to hear from some of my veteran friends on this if you want to put your thoughts in because I don't want to "sell" a program if it is not really as good as this one seems to be.

There will never come a day when there will be no more need of men and women willing to risk their lives. It would be a wonderful day, but given the nature of man, that day will come in Biblical days of the Revelation end times. We need to understand how some can come home so changed by what they see and do, that some need help to recover from it all.

The highly trained young Marines of the First Reconnaissance Battalion struggle with inadequate supplies, bureaucratic snafus and poor communication as they lead the drive into Baghdad during the first weeks of the war in Iraq in this seven-part miniseries based on the best-selling non-fiction book by embedded Rolling Stone correspondent Evan Wright.

Get Some

Original Airdate: 2008-07-13
Synopsis:U.S. First Recon Marines prepare to invade Iraq; soldiers pass time while awaiting orders; a writer from ``Rolling Stone'' magazine becomes embedded with the unit.

The Cradle of Civilization

Original Airdate: 2008-07-20
Next Airing: July 27, 2008
12:30 AM
Synopsis:Bravo company heads toward Nasiriyah, where Alpha company is involved in a skirmish; a wrong turn causes Bravo to lag behind other companies.

Generation Kill: Screwby
Original Airdate: 2008-07-27
Next Airing: July 28, 2008

01:00 AM
Screwby: Bravo awaits new orders; Fick tries to take control of a dangerous situation; Godfather orders Bravo to trek through the night, treating all Iraqis as hostile

Saturday, July 12, 2008

HBO Generation Kill

On HBO, The Fierce Tug of War
By Tom Shales
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, July 13, 2008; Page M01

Making an earnest attempt to fake magnanimity, the commanding officer approaches a small group of his men and tells them he wants to know exactly what's bothering them, what their complaints and concerns are. "I want you to talk freely," he insists. When they come up with only meager responses, he presses them further to be frank, candid, honest. Finally one of the men, "Doc," speaks up.

"Well, sir," he says, as the officer leans in to hear him over the sound of gunfire, "it's just that you're incompetent, sir."

You could knock over the officer with a feather. Shocked, but determined not to look it, he says with childlike defensiveness, "I'm doing the best I can."
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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

HBO takes on Walter Reed

HBO Plans Film About Walter Reed Fiasco
Michael Flemming

Variety Magazine

Apr 15, 2008

April 13, 2008 - HBO Films has acquired rights to a series of Washington Post articles about the neglect of wounded soldiers moved from Walter Reed Hospital to outpatient facilities.
Ron Nyswaner has been set to write a telepic.

The Post's series won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for reporters Dana Priest and Anne Hull, along with photographer Michel du Cille.

The series created outrage that reached Capitol Hill and prompted Congressional hearings and reforms, after the investigative articles revealed that there was no support system for disoriented and gravely injured vets who were left feeling angry and disrespected by bureaucratic ineptitude that left them fending for themselves.

"The film will be about how four ordinary people, who put their lives on the line for their country, came back injured and were then abused and ignored by the crown jewel of the military," said 4-Screen Media's Larry Lyttle, who'll exec produce with Helpern Co.'s David Helpern. "The system ignored them until they took on the military at the highest levels, and at Congressional hearings."

One of the protagonists will likely be Staff Sgt. John Daniel Shannon, a 43-year-old sniper whose eye and skull were shattered by an enemy bullet. Told there was no record he was a soldier, he had to produce his Purple Heart in order to get a free uniform to replace the blood-soaked one he arrived in. He and others set up a support system to help the neglected vets.

Nyswaner most recently scripted "The Painted Veil."

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Soprano's Gandolfini takes on PTSD and the troops

James Gandolfini's Iraq documentary Sept. 5: Learn more about the HBO documentary that will be featured on tonight's Nightly News broadcast. "Sopranos" star James Gandolfini talks to Brian Williams about taking on a new role -- advocating for the wounded.
Today show

James Gandolfini returns to HBO with new documentary
Posted Jun 30th 2007 11:30AM

Filed under: Programming, Celebrities, The Sopranos
Remember that exclusive three-year deal that James Gandolfini signed with HBO last year? Well, it's finally bearing fruit in the form of a documentary that focuses on the wounded soldiers of the Iraq War.

Alive Day Memories: Home From Iraq is Gandolfini's first post-Sopranos project for HBO as well as the first project from his new production company, Attaboy Films. The documentary, which will debut on Sunday, September 9, will focus on the new generation of wounded veterans who have returned from Iraq. Gandolfini, the documentary's executive producer, interviews ten of the wounded veterans who reveal their severe disabilities and their plans for the future.

This will be the third HBO Documentary Films production focusing on the Iraq War. The first, Baghdad ER, focused on the personnel of a Combat Support Hospital and won an Emmy and Peabody award. The second, Last Letters Home: Voices of American Troops from the Battlefields of Iraq, featured the letters of ten men and women killed in action over in the Middle East.
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From HBO
From Executive Producer James Gandolfini
Alive Day Memories
Home From Iraq
Premieres Sunday, September 9 at 10:30PM
In a war that has left more than 25,000 wounded,
ALIVE DAY MEMORIES: HOME FROM IRAQ looks at a new generation of veterans. Executive Producer James Gandolfini interviews ten Soldiers and Marines who reveal their feelings on their future, their severe disabilities and their devotion to America. The documentary surveys the physical and emotional cost of war through memories of their "alive day," the day they narrowly escaped death in Iraq.
Watch the entire ALIVE DAY MEMORIES special on beginning Sunday, September 9 at 11:30pm, immediately following the premiere.Watch the Entire Film-->
> Interview with Executive Producer James Gandolfini