March 13, 2009

Name: J.P. Borda
Posting date: 3/13/09
Returned from: Kuwait/Iraq
Hometown: Burke, Virginia

About two weeks ago I was invited to a pre-screening of Brothers at War at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., about a 20-minute drive from my apartment here in Northern Virginia. It was an honor to be invited. The crowd included troops from Walter Reed, veterans, press, and even Gary Sinise (LT Dan of Forrest Gump) who also happens to be one of the Executive Producers of the film. Gary Sinise is awesome and spends nearly all of his free time supporting the troops – which I didn’t know -- but CSI Las Vegas is still my favorite. Sorry, Gary.  

The movie is a documentary by Jake Rademacher, who wanted to learn more about his younger brothers’ service in the military and what they go through on the frontlines. 

It’s beginning to look like the best way to portray war, and for people to get a better understanding of what really goes on, is through the actual eyes of those serving. I served in Afghanistan in 2004/2005, and I returned from a tour to Iraq in the summer of 2008. Having written a blog from Afghanistan (The National Guard Experience, now defunct) and one from Iraq (, it’s always been hard for me to explain to friends and family what I actually did over there. The challenges and pressures I faced on a day-to-day basis was something I chose not to share in words when I talked with family, and I mostly blogged about the mundane things in war as opposed to the missions.

In 2007, I contacted Deborah Scranton (director of the documentary The War Tapes), and working with her and Toby Nunn (my Platoon Sergeant), my Platoon and I made a documentary film called Bad Voodoo’s War that aired nationwide on PBS Frontline.

It was the only way for me to tell my story -- as a documentary. And after watching it, my family and friends had a much better idea of what I was doing on tour. What made it harder for them is that the film aired while we were still running missions throughout Iraq.

Jake did a great job of telling his brothers’ stories, and in the end, he achieved what he set out to do -- which was to understand his brothers’ service. This was his first time making a film and he put in all of the work himself. Although the film is Rated R, there is only one violent scene towards the end -- and much of the film tells the story of both of his brothers back home, which I thought was important since deployments impact families, too.

If you’d like to learn more about the film, visit the official website. The film is opening in theaters around the country this month.

Note: I'm not a very articulate writer and this happens to be one of my first movie reviews.  I did twitter the event, which was my first time tweeting from my Blackberry. If I had to guess, I'm pretty sure the group sitting at my table thought I was texting my wife or playing Tetris. I didn't bother explaining what I was doing, but halfway through the screening no one had punched me in the face, so I decided to keep tweeting. Although when I came back from the restroom, my lunch plate wasn't in the same place.  Also, I'm pretty sure my sandwich didn't have shoeprint on it before I stepped away. Just saying...

Here is a preview of the film:


Wow...sniff, sniff. I'll take a box of kleenex with me to the theater.

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