Posted By Blackfive

Some of you old timers around here will remember a documentary about the earlier days of OIF called "Gunner Palace".  It's director, Michael Tucker, has finished a new film about MMA that will premiere in Austin in March.  It is titled "FIGHTVILLE" and it looks to be amazing.

Here are the details:

We have a new film out that I think Blackfive readers who are MMA fans will love. It's called FIGHTVILLE and it premieres on 3/12 at the SXSW Film Festival Austin. Pic features UFC fighters Dustin Poirier and Tim Credeur (TUF Season 7). Dustin just came back from a UFC tout of bases in the Pacific and TIm is Navy Vet.

Info on the screening here:

Here is the promo video:


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Must See Video - SSG Sal Giunta and the Medal

Posted By Blackfive

We've posted up a few videos of Staff Sergeant Sal Giunta (and featured Mrs. Giunta as Someone You Should Know) and saw this today at the Burn Pit - it's a must watch (but probably best if you're alone):


The Sal Giunta Story from SebastianJunger/TimHetherington on Vimeo.

His response about finding out about his receiving the Medal says it all about his character.

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A film so damaging, Iran won't even let Canadians watch it

Posted By Crush

Update 19 Jan, 2011 @ 14:19 - Canada's Heritage Minister has ordered the Library & Archives Canada to proceed with the screening.

I just finished screening the upcoming documentary Iranium. This excellent film exposes what politicians and the media are afraid to tell us: that Iran has apocalyptic intentions and a focus on destroying the United States and Israel. Historically, nations have always denied their development of a nuclear weapons program, but Iranium shows Iran's leaders proudly announcing to their people that they (1) are developing nuclear weapons, (2) nothing can stop them, and (3) they plan on using them. Iran tells American media an entirely different - and much more pleasant - story, and unless you stay on top of geopolitics or watch this video, you won't hear about the imminent threat Iran poses to the West - and Americans in particular.

Iranium has already generated controversy as a screening at the Canadian National Archives was shut down Monday following a cancellation request from the Iranian Embassy. On Tuesday, Canadian officials received threats of violence and protest, and a hazardous materials unit investigated two suspicious packages related to the incident.

Viewers will be able to watch Iranium free online on February 8, 2011. You can register at the website or buy the DVD.

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Into The Light: Leslie Nielsen

Posted By Laughing_Wolf

He asked to play the heavies for years, as they had the more dramatic and challenging parts, but was finally recognized as the comic genius he had always been.  A prankster behind the camera, he always ran with the roles given -- and thankfully they finally went to being a prankster in front of the camera with the timing of comedic sniper. 

In part to escape an abusive home, he enlisted in the Canadian Air Force at 17 and trained as an aerial gunner despite being legally deaf.  While he never deployed in WWII, he served and apparently gave his best in that role while in it.

Leslie Nielsen has given a lot of entertainment (and good acting) to the world, and a huge amount of much needed laughter.  For it all, and especially for the laughter, my thanks.  You will be missed. 


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Blackfive National Geographic Exclusive - Restrepo footage of SSG Sal Giunta

Posted By Blackfive

Wanted you to know that the television premiere of Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington's acclaimed film, Restrepo, is on Monday, November 29 at 9pm ET/PT.

As you may know already, one of the prominently featured stories in Restrepo is that of Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta, who, on Tuesday, November 16, will be receiving the Medal of Honor for his heroism and valor during Combat Operation Rock Avalanche in Afghanistan. In honor of SSG Giunta, and of all veterans and those serving the country on this important day, the filmmakers have made available an exclusive, 14-minute video clip of SSG Giunta recounting the combat operation during which he dragged his critically wounded best friend, Josh Brennan, out of the hands of 2 insurgents who had captured him.


The Sal Giunta Story from Ryan Blaind on Vimeo.

For more information about the TV premiere of Restrepo, please visit additional information about the film, please visit, and join them on Facebook and Twitter.

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Posted By Blackfive

I was on vacation last week and I took along a copy of "War" by Sebastian Junger.  "War" is the book that is the (sort of) companion to the documentary "Restrepo" by Junger and Tim Hetherington.


As far as war books are concerned, I tend to not read them on vacation.  Also, as far as war books are concerned, I tend to find the ones written by embeds and journalists a bit wanting (a few exceptions, of course).

But, this was a book about paratroopers from 2nd Platoon, Battle Company, 2nd/503rd, 173rd AIRBORNE in the fight in the most dangerous place on this planet (20% of all combat in 2007-2008 occurred there).  And, Junger is a world class writer and had received accolades for one of his most famous efforts, "The Perfect Storm".  He embedded with 2nd Platoon - a unit well known for it's extreme combat effectiveness in war and *cough* in garrison - over their 15 month deployment, traveling in and out of Afghanistan five times.

A lot of the literary critics have called "War" breathlessly "exciting!" and "harrowing!".  It is that, I imagine, as Junger's descriptions of combat would hardly be called mundane except by combat vets.  And to some of us who have read the battle descriptions, mourned the Fallen, and knew the outcomes of the 2nd Platoon, "War" is a very valuable look into that tribe.

Perhaps the most valuable aspect of "War" is Junger's description of what combat is like, how the men cope with it in various ways (which may shock readers with more delicate sensibilities), what keeps the unit functioning in the most harshest combat environment in the world and why paratroopers actually enjoy it.  And many of you will understand Junger's analysis of why, when you are home safe and sound, walking around campus or at a company meeting, that you dearly miss that hellish mess that you were in...where every task you did mattered and that you could count on the man next to you.

The book touches upon PTSD and other affects of serving long term in highly stressful situations, but does so with a look that is different and much less jaded than other journalists.  A lot of research and personal experience plays into the analysis.

I'm not a literary critic - I'm usually a fan so take my criticism with a grain of salt, but "War" jumps around in time a bit and that may confuse some readers.  Also, I would have liked to know more about the platoon after their return to Vicenza, Italy.

Last, some of the "combat humor" had me laughing so hard I had to put the book down after reading one paratrooper's quip about his comrade's problem with stuttering.  My wonderful wife was concerned as she thought I was having a difficult time with the book but it was quite the opposite effect.

I highly recommend "War".  Buy it today.  It goes on the shelf next to "One Bullet Away" and "House to House" with other the books that my son will some day read when he's old enough.  For me, that's the highest praise possible that I can give...

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Posted By Blackfive

Over at Rhino Den, Nick from Ranger Up was able to preview the documentary "Chosin" (which I had heard was FANTASTIC).

Jimbo and I missed the GI Film Festival this year, unfortunately due to other business, and so the Army Rangers covered it.  Nick writes:

1 I stood there in a teary-eyed haze as my palms added to the thunderous applause resonating through the theatre. Pride, sadness, revulsion, and raw amazement ran through me in a maelstrom of emotion. I had just encountered a work of art that moved me in a way I had never expected, and every soul in this packed auditorium at the 2010 GI Film Festival felt the same way.

I had just experienced Chosin. Chosin, a documentary chronicling the Korean War Battle at the Chosin reservoir, is the production debut of Marine Captain Brian Iglesias and Marine Captain Anton Sattler and the directorial debut for Iglesias. The entire magnificent film is created using first person accounts from the living survivors of the battle.
Every aspect of the film was spectacular, but what truly set it apart was the raw and honest nature of the comments from the Chosin veterans. Thirty-three minutes into the film I stopped myself from sobbing as a man that could easily be any of our grandfathers teared up as he described his experience. His perimeter had been overrun with Chinese as his battle buddy died in his arms from multiple bullet wounds. The incoming fire was so heavy that he instinctively placed his dead friend in front of him as a sand bag. You could see the pain in his eyes. You could imagine yourself in that situation. For an instant, you were almost there with the Chosin Few, as they often refer to themselves. You almost understood. An instant later you realized you could never understand, and you thanked God for it...

Read the whole piece here.

Buy the movie here (and get a RU gift certificate).

Join the Facebook fan page here.

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Restrepo - The Documentary

Posted By Blackfive

Details here at Kitchen Dispatch.  This is a movie that I will want to see.  It involves more than a few people that we have highlighted here over the last few years (and many of them that we have met).

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"The Pacific" - Two Views

Posted By Blackfive

First, the US Naval Institute has a series profiling each episode of "the Pacific" - the new HBO miniseries by Tom Hanks that features combat in the Pacific during WWII. Some have called it the Marine's "Band of Brothers".  Go here for Episode One - it is excellent and even has a dispatch from Marine Platoon Sergeant John Basilone who was awarded the CMoH.  Go here for Episode Two.

And, Hot Air's AllahPundit has comments from Tom Hanks:

“Certainly, we wanted to honor U.S. bravery in The Pacific. But we also wanted to have people say, ‘We didn’t know our troops did that to Japanese people.’"

"...Back in World War II, we viewed the Japanese as ‘yellow, slant-eyed dogs’ that believed in different gods. They were out to kill us because our way of living was different. We, in turn, wanted to annihilate them because they were different. Does that sound familiar, by any chance, to what’s going on today?”...


Be sure to read Basilone's AAR that he wrote before his last heroic act in WWII and compare it to what Mr. Hanks believes.  The Japanese were different - horribly different.  

Last, Ranger Up is going to march in the 2010 Bataan Death March to remember Americans who lost their lives on that dark forced march.  Now, THAT'S different.

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"Green Zone" - Slanders America?

Posted By Blackfive

The New York Post rips into "Green Zone" as anti-American. 

..."Green Zone," opening Friday, is a $100 million slime job that conjures up a fantastically distorted leftist version of the war and wraps it around a frantic but preposterous action picture...


Such is this movie's eagerness to turn reality upside down that, although the Ryan character is obviously based on Judith Miller of The New York Times, the reporter is said to work for the Wall Street Journal. In full-on liberal daydream mode, Damon and his friends can pretend their favorite lefty paper is untainted by flawed reporting.

To cover his tracks from Chief Miller, the Pentagon official sends out a goon squad to assassinate the Sunni general -- who, according to the movie, is also the sole figure responsible for whether Iraq will erupt into an insurgency.

Even for Hollywood, "Green Zone" is dumbfoundingly brazen in its effort to rewrite the facts...

More at the NYPost.

Supposedly, "Green Zone" is based loosely on Imperial Life in the Emerald City by WashPo editor Rajiv Chandrasekhar.  I met Rajiv and spoke with him at a journalism conference that was also attended by Mike Yon and General Petreaus (then LTG Petraeus).  Most journalists agreed with Rajiv on the CPA's ineptness; however, GEN Petreaus mentioned that Rajiv was painting an absolutist picture and that there were more than a few good men leaving the wire and trying to help (GEN Petreaus was leading the 101st Airborne Division at the time and depended on some of the CPA folks in his sector).

Some of the authors here at B5 were there at the time and know Rajiv and have some issues with the book.  (Don't even get them started about the movie...)

The issue I have with the book is that the movie in not based on it.  It seems the studio optioned the book and then got Matt Damon and said "Holy crap, we have Matt Damon!  Let's make an action flick where US Soldiers are the bad guys."  So the book is not the movie but the movie has credibility because it's based upon a book by a credible editor and journalist...

Alas, I won't have much of a review of the movie since I won't be seeing it unless I'm paid to.  I'll take a pass.

You could ask some of the key members of IAVA about it since they star in it.

Update:  Even the SF Chronicle pans the movie.  Much better analysis at...

The BlackFive Farm Team (Lilyea's quote might be one of his best yet)


The Mudville Gazette

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