FRONTLINE TO HOMEFRONT

March 07, 2019 at 5:00 am

We’ll take a look at how one group is aiming to accurately share the experiences of American troops.

Aired on March 6, 2019.

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> AS WE CONTINUE OUR SERIES
ABOUT POST 9/11 VETERANS AND
THEIR ONGOING TRIUMPHS AND
TRAGEDIES, WE TURN NOW TO A LOOK
AT THE STORYTELLERS WHO ARE
SHARING THEIR EXPERIENCES IN
THEATER AND OUT.
ROBERT HAND IS WORKING ON A
PROJECT ABOUT THE BOWE BERGDAHL
CASE.
AND MIKE DOWELLING IS PRODUCING
A SERIES ABOUT MEDAL OF HONOR
WINNERS.
BOTH VETERANS THEM SOUTHEASTS
AND THEY JOIN US WITH DETAILS ON
THEIR WORK AND RETURN BACK TO
CIVILIAN LIFE.
ROBERT, TELL ME A LITTLE BIT
ABOUT YOUR OPEN MILITARY
BACKGROUND.
>> THANKS FOR HAVING US TODAY.
I DID BASIC TRAINING AND THE
BROADCAST SCHOOL THAT THE ARMY
OFFERS, THEN AIRBORNE SCHOOL AND
STATIONED IN ALASKA WITH THE
25th INFANTRY DIVISION, WHICH I
THEN WENT TO AFGHANISTAN IN 2009
AND 2010, DID OVER 100 COMBAT
MISSIONS WITH THE AIRBORNE
INFANTRY GUYS.
BASICALLY, TRYING TO TELL THE
SOLDIER'S STORY.
>> WE'LL COME BACK IN A SECOND.
BUT MIKE, SIMILAR FIRST QUESTION
TO YOU.
YOUR EXPERIENCE IN THE MILITARY
AND THEN HOW YOU GRAVITATED
TOWARDS FILM MAKING.
>> IN 2004, I ENDED UP GETTING
DEPLOYED TO IRAQ, AND I SERVED
AS A MILITARY WORKING DOG
HANDLER.
SO OUR PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITY
WAS TO DETECT EXPLOSIVES AND
IEDs.
I ENDED UP WORKING AT THE NAVAL
HOSPITAL IN SAN DIEGO.
I WAS PART OF THE MORN CORPS
WOUNDED WARRIORS BATTALION,
WHICH MEANT I WAS IN CHARGE OF A
DOZEN OR SO MARINES THAT WERE
RECENTLY WOUNDED AND FLOWN BACK
HERE TO RECOVER.
MY JOB WAS TO HELP THEM FIND
RESOURCES.
AFTERWARD, I GOT INSPIRED BY THE
MARINES THAT WERE RECOVERING AT
THAT HOSPITAL WHO SAID WHEN THEY
TRANSITIONED, THEY WANTED TO
MOVE TO LOS ANGELES AND HEARN
HOW TO BECOME A SCREEN WRITER OR
DIRECTOR.
I HAD ALWAYS BEEN INTERESTED IN
THE BUSINESS AND ENTERTAINMENT.
I WANTED TO DO SOMETHING
COMPLETELY DIFFERENT WITH MY
LIFE WHEN I GOT OUT OF THE
MARINE CORPS AND I WAS LOOKING
FOR SOMETHING AND GRAVITATED
TOWARDS ENTERTAINMENT AND I
ENDED UP GOING TO A PROGRAM AT
UCLA TO LEARN ALL ABOUT
PRODUCTION AND ENTERTAINMENT.
I'VE BEEN DOING IT EVER SINCE.
>> LET ME ASK YOU EACH ABOUT THE
PROJECTS YOU'RE WORKING ON.
ROBERT, MOST PEOPLE KNOW THE
STORY OF BOWE BERGDAHL.
YOU WERE ACTUALLY INVOLVED IN
THAT, IN YOUR WORK IN THE
MILITARY.
AND YOU'RE WORKING ON A PROJECT
NOW, IT'S A LOOK AT THE PEOPLE
WHO WERE INVOLVED, WHO WENT OUT
TO SEARCH FOR SOMEBODY, EVEN
THOUGH THEY KNEW -- THEY
BELIEVED THAT HE HAD ESSENTIALLY
ABANDONED THEM.
>> WELL, THE FILM IS CALLED
"SEARCHING FOR BERGDAHL."
I BELIEVE IT'S A LOOK AT THE
WHOLE BOWE BERGDAHL SAGA.
I'M PARTNERED WITH BLOOM HOUSE
PRODUCTIONS, AND WE'RE IN THE
MIDDLE OF MAKING THIS FILM, THIS
DOCUMENTARY RIGHT NOW.
AND IT BASICALLY, DURING MY TIME
IN THE MILITARY, I WAS -- I GOT
TO ALASKA TO THE FOURTH BRIGADE,
25th INFANTRY DIVISION AT THE
SAME TIME AS BOWE BERGDAHL.
I DIDN'T KNOW HIM.
HE WAS IN A DIFFERENT PLATOON.
I WAS AT THE HEADQUARTERS
BRIGADE LEVEL.
BUT MY JOB WAS TO RECORD THE
WHOLE BRIGADE THROUGHOUT THAT
WHOLE DEPLOYMENT AND AFTERWARDS.
SO ONLY UNTIL I WAS THERE WHEN
HE HAD WALKED OFF AND I WAS A
PART OF THE SEARCH, AND ONLY
UNTIL LATER DID I REALIZE THE
GRAVITY OF WHAT I HAD OBTAINED
AS A VIDEOGRAPHER, AND ALL THE
RELATIONSHIPS I HAD BUILT WITH
ALL OF THE PEOPLE IN THE UNIT,
THE SERGEANT MAJOR AND THE ARMY
OFFICERS, AND ALL THE SOLDIERS
WHO LOOKED FOR HIM.
THEY ALL HAVE DIFFERENT STORIES.
AND NOT ONLY THAT, ONCE I
PARTNERED WITH BLUM HOUSE, YEARS
LATER, THEY SENT ME TO THE TRIAL
AND I WAS IN THE TRIAL LISTENING
TO BOTH SIDES.
WE HAVE THE LAWYERS ON BOTH
SIDES, WE HAVE THE INVESTIGATING
GENERAL OFFICER.
WE HAVE BOWE BERGDAHL'S PARENTS.
WE HAVE THE PARENTS OF THE
SOLDIERS THAT WERE KID LOOKING
FOR HIM, AS WELL.
SO I TRULY BELIEVE THIS IS THE
DEFINITIVE LOOK.
AND IT IS FROM MY PERSPECTIVE,
BECAUSE I WAS AND I KNOW THE
PLAYERS AND I REMEMBER IT LIKE
IT WAS YESTERDAY.
THE DAY AFTER I REMEMBER THEM
ANNOUNCING THAT WE HAVE A
MISSING SOLDIER.
>> AND AS I MENTIONED, TAKING A
LOOK AT THE IMPACT THAT IT HAD
ON THE LIVES OF THE OTHERS IS
NOT SOMETHING THAT WE'VE SEEN
MUCH ABOUT.
MIKE, LET ME ASK YOU ABOUT YOUR
SERIES YOU DID ON THE MEDAL OF
HONOR.
>> MY PRIMARY ROLE WAS AS THE
MILITARY ADVISER, AS WELL AS AN
ASSOCIATE PRODUCER.
I HAD THE HONOR OF WORKING WITH
A COUPLE OF ACADEMY AWARD WINNER
PRODUCERS AND THEIR AMAZING TEAM
AND NETFLIX.
YOU ARE RIGHT TO SAY NOT MANY
FULLY UNDERSTAND EXACTLY WHAT
THE MEDAL OF HONOR IS.
WHAT WE HOPE TO COMMUNICATE
THROUGH THIS SERIES IS THE
PURE -- IS THE TREMENDOUS LEVEL
OF SACRIFICE AND LOVE THAT THESE
RECIPIENTS HAVE AND ALL SERVICE
MEMBERS HAVE IN COMBAT AND FACED
WITH EXTREME RISK AND DANGER AND
THE ACTIONS THAT THEY TAKE AS A
RESULT.
THERE'S SO MANY NEGATIVE STORIES
COMING OUT OF THE V.A. OR
VETERAN COMMUNITY SOMETIMES.
IT'S IMPORTANT THAT WE SPOTLIGHT
THE POSITIVE STORIES, AS WELL.
SO WE WERE GRATEFUL TO BE PART
OF THAT.
>> WE THANK YOU ALSO.
YOU ARE BOTH MARVELOUS
STORYTELLERS.
AND YOU BRING THAT SPECIAL PRISM
OF YOUR OWN EXPERIENCES AND THE
STORIES THAT YOU WANT TO TELL
AND WHY YOU WANT TO TELL THEM.
JUST WONDERFUL WORK THAT YOU'VE
BEEN DOING.
I'M SURE WE LOOK FORWARD TO MUCH
MORE.
SO THANK YOU BOTH FOR JOINING
US.
>> THANK YOU FOR HAVING US.
>> TAKE CARE NOW.
A REMINDER FOR MORE INFORMATION
ON THE WORK THEY'RE DOING AND
HOW YOU CAN VIEW THAT WORK, GO
TO METROFOCUS.ORG.

Mutual of America PSEG

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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