In April, 2004, casualties mount in Iraq. At Quantico, choices focus on increasing troop strength or only replacing casualties. Lt. Col. Mike Strobl crunches numbers. Stung by his superior's rejection of his recommendation because he lacks recent combat experience, Strobl volunteers for escort duty, accompanying the remains Pfc. Chance Phelps, killed at 19. From Dover to Philadelphia by hearse, from there to Minneapolis and on to Billings by plane, and then by car to Phelps' Wyoming home - person after person pays respects. Kind words, small gifts, and gratitude are given Strobl to deliver to the family on this soul-searching journey. What are his own discoveries? Written by
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LTCol Mike Strobl, a Desert Storm veteran, says he decided against another combat tour largely because of his young family. But he was conflicted, and joined the many military personnel who volunteered for escort duty as Iraqi war deaths escalated. Strobl's week-long trip accompanying Phelps' body from a Delaware military mortuary to burial in Wyoming provides Taking Chance's poignant emotional context. Strobl shared his 20-page journal of the trip with friends and co-workers, and it eventually spread virally to military blogs and the media. It was quickly green-lit for filming after surfacing at HBO, which has become a major outlet for war-related programming both documentary and dramatized, with miniseries and films such as Generation Kill; Alive Day Memories: Home From Iraq; Section 60: Arlington National Cemetery; and Last Letters Home: Voices of American Troops From the Battlefields of Iraq. See more
The coffin is loaded into a Northwest Airlines DC-9 in Philadelphia, but the plane shown landing in Minneapolis is a Boeing 747. When it's time to unload the coffin in Minneapolis, the plane is again an DC-9. The next day, the coffin is loaded into an MD-80 for the flight to Billings, Montana, but the plane that lands in Billings is a NWA Airbus A319. Again, when the coffin is unloaded in the cargo area at the Billings airport for the trip by hearse to Wyoming, it is removed from an DC-9. NWA does operate all three aircraft types, but they were not shown consistently in the movie. See more
LtCol Mike Strobl
If I'm not over there, what am I? Those guys, guys like Chance... they're Marines.
And you think you're not? Want to be with your family every night - you think you have to justify that? You'd better stop right there, sir. You've brought Chance home. You're his witness now. Without a witness, they just disappear.
In My Own Way
Written by Toy Caldwell
Performed by The Marshall Tucker Band
By Arrangement with Natural Energy Lab See more