Where Soldiers Come From

Where Soldiers Come From is a documentary that tells the story of five friends from a small town who grew up together, join the military together, and then get shipped off to war together. This tight-knit group of friends all signed up for mostly the same reasons many small town youths enter the National Guard — money, college, and to get out of a small town. But these kids who join the reserves to get money for college are then deployed to the extreme opposite—active duty in the harsh desert of Afghanistan. The film shows the realities and daily struggles of their rural home lives as well as the time spent maturing over nine months in a foreign and stressful place. This film starts off like a warm cup of tea, full of boyish innocence, naivety and humor. But then you get a bucket of cold water thrown in your face as you move with them through insomnia, pills, and bitterness. When asked how they felt about their personal experiences in the war, these young men show exceptional courage and honesty for their age. These are real soldiers and this is how they feel. Watch as real-life American innocence is changed by combat. Each one found out things about himself going through this experience. It is a realistic portrait of young men whose job it is to find improvised explosive device (IEDs). They are assigned to sweep for IEDs while using huge trucks that do not protect them from major explosions or concussions, and any minute an IED can blow your truck up. Watching this film I really felt like I was in the middle of Afghanistan, scared that a bomb might blow up at any minute. This is a truly devastating look at what these men went through before, during, and after the war. This is a film that also shows the aftermath of coming home from Afghanistan. It shows what war does to young men — and how poorly the military and other people treat them when they return home. The 1000-mile stares that you see on their faces as they return home only begin to tell the story of the struggles and repercussions they are about to go through. These kids are suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) — but some of them don’t even realize it yet. For the rest of their lives they will have a much higher propensity for depression, anxiety, alcohol & substance abuse, sleeplessness, joblessness, and a greater risk of committing suicide. As a foreign-deployed infantryman myself, I totally understand the mental change and transformation that these guys went though. I lived and still live it myself — every day and every moment. There is no going back to the sweetness of normality. I understand the hatred and the impotent rage which governs the mind after the wartime experiences and blasting injuries. I do not envy their girlfriends and wives whose lot is harder than what most can envision. I embrace the guys and love them as brothers…. more than brothers….they are comrades! I am very proud of all of them after having seen this movie, and wish I knew how they all are now. I’m really glad these guys had the guts to say WHY they felt they should/shouldn’t be over there. Let the whole story be told, I say, no matter how you feel about this war. You may not like these soldiers thoughts and feelings, but they exist so why be blind to them? Not all soldiers can convince themselves that all of this war is for “freedom” — because it’s not. It’s mostly about controlling resources. These guys gave up a chunk of their youth to serve in a meaningless war. For what? Afghan people who don’t want you in their country. There is so much more to war than being shot at and shooting at an enemy. By the end you see the hopelessness and futility of this war — and what a waste of young lives it is. I highly recommend this film to anyone who is thinking about joining the military, because this is a good look at the true cost of war. Military enlistment centers take advantage of young, uneducated, impressionable minds. What I have learned from documentaries on the war on terror like this one is that most of the young men who enlist don’t know what they are signing up for. They don’t know that they are signing up for Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The realities of war and the depth of friendship of these young men, who reflect the values of the small town they come from, leaves one wishing there would never be another war for any reason. I have children and I do not encourage them to join the military. I encourage them to get an education by other means. This film is one I would watch with my children as its message is timeless. This is one of the more moving military docs that I have seen on the recent conflicts. The profundity of this film is just simple truth. If you like movies, do yourself a favor and watch this film. This is a great movie, an exceptional documentary, one of the best anti-war films I have seen that isn’t preachy. A must-see. I hope that many people watch this film. Documentary 2011 NR 1hr31m. (Also watch the Pat Tillman Story. Similar thing. He joined wanting to serve his country, but his family later discovered the official account of his death was a cover-up.)


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