In April, 2004, casualties mount in Iraq. At Quantico, choices focus on increasing troop strength or only replacing casualties. Lt. Col. Michael 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?
Did You Know?
Lieutenant Colonel 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 twenty-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 (2008), Alive Day Memories: Home From Iraq (2006), Section 60: Arlington National Cemetery (2008), and Last Letters Home: Voices of American Troops From the Battlefields of Iraq (2004). See more
When LtCol Strobl arrives at his motel room in Wyoming before the funeral, the information sheet on the table concerning the services has a misspelling: Cemetary (should be Cemetery). See more
LtCol Mike Strobl
I stayed home. I was trained to fight. 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