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
Did You Know?
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
Nobody in my family's in the military and none of my friends. But I thought about joining up. Yeah, but I was too chickenshit.
[chuckles, then silence
Sorry, I mean too chicken.
LtCol Mike Strobl
You can say shit.
Oh, cool. And plus the whole haircut thing. I'm in a band and, you know, you gotta keep it long to keep the ladies happy.
In My Own Way
Written by Toy Caldwell
Performed by The Marshall Tucker Band
By Arrangement with Natural Energy Lab See more