April 15, 2008

Name: Eric Coulson
Posting date: 4/16/08
Stationed in: Iraq
Milblog: Badgers Forward

If you read milblogs then you know your single best source of what is happening in Iraq is the people who have been there; the Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen that have been slugging it out on the ground for the last five years. The milblog was the first outlet that allowed those serving here access to the world at large to tell their story.Framed_coulson_this_is_war_2

Soon after people started returning home books by the warriors started appearing. One of the best was what I called "the Ultimate Embed" -- Sean Michael Flynn's chronicle of The Fighting 69th, an infantry battalion with the New York Army National Guard as it went from Ground Zero to the streets of Baghdad.

Now Soldiers bring their story to the big screen with This is War: Memories of Iraq. The film follows the 2-162 Infantry Battalion from the 41st Infantry Brigade of the Oregon Army National Guard, from mobilization, to six months of training at Fort Hood, Texas and then a year in Iraq. In theater 2-162 drove north from Kuwait, having drawn equipment there. They took their first casualty before they arrived at Taji, the unit's first posting. The battalion spent weeks in Najaf dealing with Sadr and then assisted in the second Battle of Fallujah. The footage in This is War was all shot by the Soldiers of the 2-162. It is amazing; touching, cynical, inspiring, sad, violent -- it is real. And it lets you see life in Iraq from the point of view of the Soldier.*

If you see one movie this year, make it this one.

I would encourage everyone to purchase the DVD -- you can get it here from Lucky Forward Films or here from Amazon.

*The 2-162 Infantry was also the subject of the book The Devil's Sandbox.


I saw this film saturday. It is exceptional because the soldiers made it themselves not knowing it was going to end up a distributed DVD. Honest, graphic, and like the milblogs, brings insight to how these men and women do their jobs and keep their humanity. Good idea to read the book that was written independently of the movie "The Devil's Sandbox." The 2-162 is quite a story among all the amazing stories we read here.

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