Godspeed Fred Thompson

Lawyer, politician, and actor Fred Thompson has passed.  He played an instrumental role in the Watergate investigation as chief minority council; went on to serve in the Senate and run for president; and, was a successful actor of film and television -- and much enjoyed in the military community for the clip above.  While he did not serve, I can say that he did indeed support the troops and encouraged private efforts to help troops and veterans.  He also enjoyed a good cigar, and I plan to have one in his honor.  Godspeed. 

Range 15 Final Update

For those of you following along, the independent movie being made by Ranger Up and Art 15 clothing has done extremely well in its fundraising cycle.  It easily made its initial goal, and with three days remaining has more than doubled it.  If they get to $700K, they promise to add CAS and rotary wing air support to the final product.

American Sniper - Some Thoughts

Before anything else, I want to note that I went to the first showing of the movie yesterday, and that the theatre was almost full.  It was clear that a number of people there were prior service, and that many of those attending had brought the family with them.  It was the most respectful, quiet, and polite audience I have ever experienced in a theatre, and once the movie started not a single cell phone rang, pinged, or made any noise.  It was also clear that the dust in the theatre got to most there, and even as the silent credits rolled, the politeness and respectful tones continued.  I noted more than one parent talking to their children afterwards, and that such conversations were exploring some very complex topics and helping children (and others) explore some difficult concepts and emotions.  

The movie is powerful, extremely well done, and respectful to the subject and the subject matter.  It was fairly accurate to the book, and while some liberties were taken for dramatic purposes, it was done with respect and with consideration of the whole.  Frankly, they were small change in comparison to the faith given the true tale.  

The acting is superb, and it was almost scary how much Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller look like Chris and Taya.  That, in many ways, was just the start of the level or realism to the film.  The directing and production were amazing, as was the cinematography.  The silence of the credits was a truly masterful touch, one of many in the movie.  

As for those seeking to tear down the movie and Kyle, most of whom have not seen it (including one major reviewer), well, most here have sworn to (and fought for) their freedom of speech.  However, while their right to it is one paid for by those here, there is no obligation to respect ignorant and bigoted opinions, nor the miserable and degraded creatures that hold them.  The one review that matters to me comes from Taya, who says they got it right.  

The movie is powerful, well done, and respectful.  It conveys almost frightningly well the cost and pain of war, and of coming home.  Bradley more than deserves his Oscar nod, and I have not seen an actor convey so much with just his eyes since Edward Woodward in his prime.  Both he and Sienna did so much with just eyes and expression, and in so doing made for truly powerful portrayals.  

Go. See. It. Now. 

"Dogs of War" on A&E

From the folks at A&E:

DOGS OF WAR spotlights combat veteran Jim Stanek, who returns home struggling with PTSD. He looks into getting a service dog to help him heal, only to discover how expensive they are, and how long the wait to be paired with one is. So he starts his own nonprofit to rescue dogs from kill shelters, train them as service dogs and partner them with struggling veterans at little or no cost.

The show premieres Tuesday, Nov. 11 at 10PM ET/PT and then moves to Sundays at 10PM ET/PT beginning Nov. 16.

In an era when most reality TV is hypersexualized, about cutthroat competition or designed solely to make us laugh at the culture of its “stars,” it is so refreshing to be associated with a series like this, which spotlights a man who uses the greatest pain in his life to offer the greatest comfort to the lives of others. 

Dogs of War is really the culmination of the work that Jim and Lindsey Stanek have done with their charity - Paws and Stripes.  Jim and Lindsey found the perfect intersection of veterans needing a companion to deal with feeling isolated and shelter dogs (most likely heading to an untimely death) needing a home.  In turn, they rescue each other.

Catch "Dogs of War" on A&E this Veterans Day.  Spread the word!

B5, Out.

KORENGAL: The Story Continues

BLACKFIVE has been asked to help get the word out on a new film premiering next week by Sebasian Junger- if you recall, his last film Restrepo was a hit- covering the battle in Afghanistan by the 2/503d of the 173 ABN BDE.  

Korengal cover

The film is premiering next week- and B5 readers will have an EXCLUSIVE opportunity to get tickets to it in NYC.  More on this soon!

But I'm here to tell you about the Denver premier- where Sebastian will appear at the Denver Film Society's opening of the film.  DFS, along with VFW Post 1 (as in, THE first VFW post) along with BLACKFIVE are hosting a special event.  BLACKFIVE will sponsor a social following the film, and I will get to interview Sebastian along with several members of the 173d who will be there.

If you are in Denver or vicinity, COME ON OUT.  Here are the links to details, and a bit about the film.  I'll post more on this as we get closer- but spread the word.  Here is another film on the heroics of the 503d as they faced some of the most intense combat in Afghanistan.


From the release material:  "KORENGAL follows Junger’s Oscar-nominated film, Restrepo, which he made with the late Tim Hetherington. This feature length documentary follows a platoon of men as they fight in Afghanistan's famed Korengal Valley, often called, "the valley of death."  KORENGAL takes a less kinetic, and more visceral look at war, and listens to the thoughts of the men who fight it. The film captures the confusion of war, and the courage and strength of the men, who, like all troops find themselves facing overwhelming danger. The emotions are often conflicting: as one soldier mourns the loss of a friend in combat, another doesn't hesitate to say he would go back to the front in a minute. While the firefights are fierce, there are long periods of waiting for the uncertain. KORENGAL captures the soldier's thoughts on service, war, combat, and brotherhood. KORENGAL is what war feels like. The film was shot by Junger and Hetherington on location in the Korengal Valley. Additional footage was filmed in Vincenza Italy at the unit base of the 2-503, Battle Company, of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team.

“Tim and I had always envisioned this film project to unfold in two parts. The world has seen the first part of this work, RESTREPO. But when Tim was tragically killed while covering the civil war in Libya three years ago, I was left on my own to finish the project. I re-enlisted the other two members of our RESTREPO team and we went back to work. The result, KORENGAL — which together with RESTREPO completes our vision – is exactly what Tim and I had discussed years earlier,” said filmmaker Sebastian Junger.

“As with RESTREPO,” Junger added, “we paid for the entire production ourselves, which gave us complete control of what the film would be. RESTREPO was intended to be a way for civilians to experience what combat feels like. We wanted KORENGAL to be very different. This film strives to impart understanding of the inner psychology of the soldier, rather than being intentionally experiential. How does fear work? What do courage and guilt mean? What is it like to come home from war? Why do so many soldiers miss being at war once they’re home?”

The film debuted at the Little Rock Film Festival, and will premiere in NYC on May 30. A national roll out has been planned for late June through early August."

Here is the FACEBOOK link:

And, the Denver Film Society announcement:

I hope to see you there!  Much more to follow!

NRA's Life of Duty: D-Day Tribute

June 6, 2013 marks the 69th anniversary of "Operation Overlord" - the D-Day invasion where more than 160,000 allied troops landed on a 50-mile stretch of French Coastline to fight Nazi Germany on the beaches of Normandy, France in 1944. The invasion led to the deaths of more than 9,000 allied forces, but the victory resulted in a significant turning point for Europe's history. Today, we would like to honor the allied forces that participated in the invasion by sharing a film created by the U.S. Army in 1969. In this film, the drama and battle action of the landing at Normandy is portrayed along with the fierce combat that took place to overcome "Fortress Europe" (compliments of the National Archives).

Link -

Murph The Protector

My friend Scott Mactavish of Mactavish Pictures has a feature-length documentary coming out that might be of interest to you:

Scott, along with author Gary Williams, the Chris Irwin Band, Kill Cliff sports revovery drink, MadJac Music, and Southern Screen & Graphics have teamed up on this project to tell Murph's story to the widest possible audience.  Regal Theatres has joined the effort, and the movie will open in select Regal Theatres on 22 March. 


who notes that Scott is also up to something else, but that is a post for another day.

A Recommended Movie Short

Dust Warning

Go to the Real King of France and enjoy.

Couple of notes.  First, I can so see this happening, and it does make one laugh.  Gives me a good idea of what the Blackfive/TAH retirement home might be like.  Also, it gets dusty towards the end.  Second, both the stars of the short are veterans.  David Huddleston served in the Air Force.  James McEachin served in the Army, earning awards for valor in Korea.  One of his personal quotes is purported to be "Next time we need to send troops, let's don't send our soldiers, let's send Hollywood"  It is worth the time to search a bit on his service, as well as his excellent career in music, movies, and writing. To both Mr. Huddleston and "Jimmy Mack" my thanks for all they have done.