Bravo! The Project - A Documentary Film

Archive for March, 2013

Documentary Film,Film Screenings,Khe Sanh,Marines,Vietnam War

March 25, 2013

On the Fresno and Clovis Screenings of BRAVO!

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Last Wednesday and Thursday BRAVO! was screened to several hundred enthusiastic and earnest viewers in Fresno and Clovis, California.

On Wednesday the film was shown at the Fresno Veterans Affairs facility and on Thursday BRAVO! screened twice at the Clovis Veterans Memorial District’s state-of-the-art theater. The screenings went well and were attended by veterans old and new, active duty military personnel and folks interested in the history of Khe Sanh and the Vietnam War.

Lt. Colonel Ken Pipes, USMC Retired and commanding officer (Skipper) of Bravo Company during the siege of Khe Sanh, came up from Southern California with his wife Sharon to help us out with the screenings. Skipper Pipes graduated from Clovis High School and attended Fresno City College and then graduated from Fresno State before being commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps. Before and after each screening, the Skipper graced us with his memories of Clovis and Fresno as well as Marines he knew from the area. The Skipper also waxed eloquent about the men of Bravo Company. We were also fortunate to meet some of Ken Pipes’ wonderful family.

Khe Sanh brother Alex Dominguez came up from the Los Angeles area and presented BRAVO! co-producer Ken Rodgers with a commemorative Marine Corps Silver Dollar and a beaded Vietnam Veteran wristband. Alex is a great supporter of the film and a good friend to Marines everywhere.

One of the best things about journeying around America introducing the film to audiences is the folks we meet, and we met some great people in Fresno and Clovis including martial arts expert Captain Ed Planas of the Joint Service Honors Command, and Mr. Miguel Saldana, a Marine veteran of the Iraq War and president of the Student Veterans Organization at Fresno State University and his compadre, Army Iraq War veteran Rolando Corral. Also attending were a contingent of about thirty active-duty Marines from Lemoore NAS who gave BRAVO! a standing ovation.

A big thanks to the Joint Service Honors Command, the Clovis Veterans Memorial District and their event specialist, Mr. Joel Diaz. Thanks too, to Fresno area Detachment #14 of the Marine Corps League, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3225, American Legion Post 509, American Sheet Metal, the Fresno VA, Peak Broadcasting for the public service announcements, Kaweah Covenant Group and Mr. Leroy Combs of Ideas Unlimited Printing for the beautiful posters.

Khe Sanh brother Dave Harper was responsible for setting up these screenings and a big Marine OOORAH is in order for his yeoman’s efforts in bringing the screenings about, and for his generous hospitality. Dave’s vision and tenacious attention to detail led to these very successful screenings.

Next up, April 19 at 6:30 PM in the Kenworthy Performing Arts Center in Moscow, Idaho. Sponsored by the University of Idaho’s Operation Education. Thanks to Kim Barnes, Laura Pizzo, Ed McBride, Dan Button and Julie Titone for their support on this event.

In the mix for upcoming screenings, a May 18 screening in Sonora, California. May 18 is Armed Forces Day. Thanks to Khe Sanh brother and organizational dynamo Mike Preston for his efforts to bring this screening about.

Documentary Film,Film Screenings,Khe Sanh,Marines,Vietnam War

March 20, 2013

First Day of Spring Screenings

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This afternoon, BRAVO! COMMON MEN, UNCOMMON VALOR will screen in the auditorium at the regional facility for the Department of Veterans Affairs in Fresno, California, at 4:30 PM (doors will open at 4:00 PM). The VA is located at 2615 E. Clinton Ave (at the corners of Clinton Avenue and North Fresno Street) in Fresno. Thanks to Khe Sanh veteran Dave Harper for arranging this screening.

Tomorrow, March 21, 2013, BRAVO! will be screened twice at the Clovis Veterans Memorial facility, 808 4th Street in Clovis, CA, once at 2:00 PM and again at 6:00 PM. Doors will open respectively at 1:30 and 5:30 PM. These screenings are sponsored in part by the Joint Service Honors Command, the Fresno area Marine Corps League, American Legion Post 509, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3225, Kaweah Covenant Group and again, our Khe Sanh brother, Dave Harper.

On April 19, 2013, BRAVO! will be screened in Moscow, Idaho, at the Kenworthy Performing Arts Center at 508 South Main in Moscow beginning at 6:30 PM, and followed by a panel discussion. This screening is sponsored by the University of Idaho’s Operation Education, which honors and assists permanently disabled veterans of war to gain a college degree. You can find out more about Operation Education at http://www.uidaho.edu/operationeducation. Thanks to Mr. Ed McBride and Mr. Dan Button of Operation Education and Laura Pizzo, Project Coordinator for the Department of English at the U of I, for their efforts in bringing BRAVO! to Moscow and the University of Idaho. Special thanks to award-winning memoirist and novelist Kim Barnes, Professor of English at the U of I, for her energy and commitment to BRAVO!. Further thanks to writer Julie Titone for her assistance with our visit to Moscow.

Any changes or additions to the information on these screenings will be sent out as soon as we know about them.

Documentary Film,Guest Blogs,Vietnam War

March 18, 2013

On Agent Orange, Music, Khe Sanh and Vietnam

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My name is Jim Purtell and I am a combat Vietnam veteran and songwriter.

On January 21, 1968, when the battle of Khe Sanh began for you guys, I was safe at home in Oshkosh, Wisconsin watching Vietnam coverage brought to us by CBS News and Walter Cronkite. At that time, I was home on leave and I was due to go to Cam Rahn Bay, Vietnam in mid-February 1968 to join an Army engineering outfit.

On February 17, 1968, I arrived in Cam Rahn Bay and stayed a few days until I was told to get my gear and get on the helicopter. I was told I was going north because infantry companies needed medics. When the chopper landed I was then stationed with 1/6th, 198th Light Infantry Brigade, Americal Division as a medical aid man.

First, although I had extensive combat experience in areas west of Chu Lai including numerous firefights, ambushes, rocket attacks and mortar experiences, I never had a Khe Sanh-like experience where the combat was so close and so long lasting. I think historically speaking, as things turned out, you guys had a very painful and unique experience.

Jim Purtell In the Studio

I wish you all of the luck in the world with your film, BRAVO! COMMON MEN, UNCOMMON VALOR because you deserve it. I have watched several of the trailers and I can relate to the lingering aspects of some of the experiences – forty-five years after the event.

Today, I’ve been given an opportunity by Ken Rodgers to speak with you through this blog of sorts about a project I’m involved in called Dear Agent Orange. I mentioned at the beginning of this note that I’m a songwriter. With a fellow Vietnam combat buddy from my platoon, and my songwriting partner Ricki E. Bellos, we wrote a CD about our experiences forty three years ago called Vietnam: There and Back. Information about that can be found at www.vietnamthereandback.com.

After the CD was released, I personally felt that we had missed an important subject and it was Agent Orange. It wasn’t intentional because we wrote about our experiences many years ago in Vietnam and Agent Orange wasn’t one of them in 1968/69. I approached Ricki about it and told her I wanted us to write a song about Agent Orange and the impact it had on young American soldiers. I also wanted to explore the enormous impact the herbicide exposure had on the Vietnamese people and their environment. Shortly after we began writing, the song “Dear Agent Orange” was created.

Almost immediately, as I began to play the song, I felt very strongly that it had video potential. I contacted Jim Hendrick of Hendrick Media LLC and my sister Colleen Miller, with whom I had done other music videos, and I got their buy-in to do a music video to the now recorded song “Dear Agent Orange”. We spent numerous hours researching Agent Orange and established contacts with many respected people in the field and gained access and permission to use photos from photo journalists around the world.

The three of us combined video, with still pictures, original art pieces and incorporated movements of a Tai Chi dancer and integrated all of these art forms with the original lyrics and music in a video called “Dear Agent Orange”. The music video can be seen at our newly created website: http://dearagentorange.com.

In the video, we decided to include a Call to Action and we encouraged every U.S., veteran who stepped foot in Vietnam to go to their nearest VA hospital and get an Agent Orange physical examination. The regulations have been relaxed to an extent and now the U.S., Government presumes herbicide exposure for everyone who served in Vietnam. Children of Vietnam veterans with health effects may also be eligible for benefits.

The Vietnamese people aren’t as fortunate as they don’t have a comparable governmental organization to go to with their Agent Orange related health issues that have now run through three generations. We decided we wanted to help those who did not have the same options as us, but we didn’t know who to turn to. I mentioned previously we had established contacts in the Agent Orange field and I turned to attorney and Agent Orange activist Marjorie Cohn. I asked for the name of the most legitimate Vietnamese Agent Orange organization and she directed me to the Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange (VAVA) and to Mr. Nguyen Minh Y.

I began corresponding with Mr. Minh Y by email and my video partners and I ultimately decided to raise funds for the Vietnamese people. Some of you may wonder why we’re raising monies for the Vietnamese victims. My answer, and I speak for myself, is the war is over for me and I no longer have anything against the Vietnamese people. I believe that we sprayed 21 million gallons of herbicides over the country of Vietnam, and as a result, caused very serious health effects for now three generations of the Vietnamese people. And I personally think somebody should fix it.

The U.S. Government has begun to accept responsibility for the environmental damage they caused to Vietnam and in August 2012 began cleaning up one hotspot at the DaNang airport. I think we need to do much more, and that, in part, was the reason for the video. If you agree with me, view our video at: http://dearagentorange.com and consider making a donation.

I hope your movie, BRAVO! COMMON MEN, UNCOMMON VALOR is seen by millions because you deserve tremendous respect for what you survived and accomplished. There are many people, younger than us that respect us, and what we survived, and they have a legitimate interest in anything related to Vietnam.

I want to thank any of you that have read this far and Ken Rodgers for giving me the opportunity to visit your forum.

Jim Purtell lives in Wisconsin and Florida and has had an active career working with veterans or donating music to veteran related causes and doing music videos. He and his co-artists won a Telly Award for their video THE WAITIING GOES ON. They also did a video honoring Korean veterans which is also on www.youtube.com and titled FORGOTTEN NO MORE. See more about Jim’s music at www.stoneybeachmusic.com

Documentary Film,Film Screenings,Khe Sanh,Marines,Vietnam War

March 15, 2013

Reno Screening of BRAVO!

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Last night at the University of Nevada-Reno, we screened BRAVO! in the Wells Fargo Auditorium to a crowd of over one-hundred with a wide variety of viewing ages from Korean War veterans down through current combat-theater veterans and college students at UNR. The response to the film was intense. After the screening, we had a panel discussion that included, among other things, filmmaking, the Vietnam War, Fallujah, Iraq, film distribution, Afghanistan, MIAs in Southeast Asia, the change in communication methods over the last forty-five years, and the Vietnam Veterans of America’s pledge that “Never Again Will One Generation of Veterans Abandon Another.” Thanks to Marine brother Terry Hubert whose exuberance and dedication to veterans fueled this event. Many thanks are in order also to the Nevada State Council of the Vietnam Veterans of America, Reno Chapter 989 of the Vietnam Veterans of America, Dr. Marta Elliot and the University Veterans Coalition, Susan Kinder of UNR, the campus veterans fraternity, NuPhi, Troy Stormoen of the Reno Vet Center and all the folks who attended the screening.

Betty and I feel very fortunate that we were able to both make new friends and visit with old friends, too, as part of the Reno screening of BRAVO!

One of the men in the film, Steve Wiese and his wife Deborah, gave us a great surprise by coming up from Lincoln, California, and it was good to visit with them. Longtime super BRAVO! supporter Dianne Jackson drove up from the Sacramento area to see the film again. Lieutenant Colonel Ken Pipes, company commander of Bravo Company and also part of the film, was represented by three of his former colleagues and Marines. BRAVO! supporters Lela and Johnny Herman from my (Ken’s) hometown of Casa Grande, Arizona invited some of their friends, Matt and Rhonda Matthews to come up from Carson City to see the film. Matt and Johnny were in the United States Army and served in Vietnam together. Also on board at the screening, all the way from Chico, California was Stephen “Tank” Kostenius and his wife Mandy, of Vietnam Veteran of America Chapter 582.

Matt Mathews and I had a conversation about the power of memory and our specific memories of war and how they affect us after forty-five years. We decided that even though a lot of those memories still haunt us with their horrors, we don’t think that recalling those violent moments is all bad. Memory can serve to remind us of what is bad, but also what is good about the human condition, even in the worst of circumstances.

Next stop for BRAVO!: Fresno, California for a screening at the Fresno VA on March 20, 2013. Doors open at 4:00 PM, screening at 4:30.

The following afternoon, March 21, 2013, BRAVO! will be screened twice at the Clovis, California Veterans Memorial Building at 2:00 PM (doors open at 1:30) and at 6:00 PM (doors open at 5:30).

Many thanks are in order to Khe Sanh veteran Dave Harper for all his hard work on putting these screenings together along with Ken Hendrix and the Joint Service Honors Command, Kaweah Covenant Group, the Fresno area detachment of the Marine Corps League, American Legion Post 509, VFW Post 3225, and American Sheet Metal Air Conditioning and Heating among a host of other folks.

On April 19, 2013, BRAVO! will be screened in Moscow, Idaho, at the Kenworthy Performing Arts Center. This screening is sponsored by the University of Idaho’s Operation Education http://www.uidaho.edu/operationeducation . Screening will commence at 6:30 PM followed by a panel discussion about veterans and wars past, present and future.

More updates to come!

Documentary Film,Film Screenings,Khe Sanh,Marines,Vietnam War

March 11, 2013

Upcoming Screenings of BRAVO!

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Tomorrow evening, March 12, BRAVO! COMMON MEN, UNCOMMON VALOR will be screened on the campus of the University of Nevada-Reno in the Wells Fargo Auditorium in the Library and Knowledge Center. Sponsors for this screening are the Nevada State Council of the Vietnam Veterans of America, the Reno Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 989, the University Veterans Club, and the NuPhi Vets. There will be a reception beginning at 5:00 PM followed by the University Veterans Club panel introductions. The actual screening will begin at 6:00 PM followed by a panel discussion. Many thanks to our Marine brother, Terry Hubert of the Vietnam Veterans of America, for all his hard work in putting this screening together.

In addition to the screening in Reno, BRAVO! will also be screened on the following dates in the following locations:

On March 20, 2013, BRAVO! will screen in the auditorium at the regional facility for the Department of Veterans Affairs in Fresno, California, at 4:00 PM. The VA is located at 2615 E. Clinton Ave (at the corners of Clinton Avenue and North Fresno Street) in Fresno. Thanks to Khe Sanh veteran Dave Harper for arranging this screening.

On March 21, 2013, BRAVO! will be screened twice at the Clovis Veterans Memorial facility 808 4th Street in Clovis, CA, once at 2:00 PM and again at 6:00 PM. Doors will open respectively at 1:30 and 5:30 PM. These screenings are sponsored in part by the Joint Service Honors Command, the Fresno area Marine Corps League, American Legion Post 509, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3225 and again, our Khe Sanh brother, Dave Harper.

On April 19, 2013, BRAVO! will be screened in Moscow, Idaho, at the Kenworthy Performing Arts Center at 508 South Main in Moscow beginning at 6:30 PM, and followed by a panel discussion. This screening is sponsored by the University of Idaho’s Operation Education, which honors and assists permanently disabled veterans of war to gain a college degree. You can find out more about Operation Education at http://www.uidaho.edu/operationeducation.

Thanks to Mr. Ed McBride and Mr. Dan Button of Operation Education and Laura Pizzo, Project Coordinator for the Department of English at the U of I, for their efforts in bringing BRAVO! to Moscow and the University of Idaho. Special thanks to award-winning memoirist and novelist Kim Barnes, Professor of English at the U of I, for her energy and commitment to BRAVO!. Further thanks to writer Julie Titone for her assistance with our visit to Moscow.

Any changes or additions to the information on these screenings will be sent out as soon as we know about them.

Documentary Film,Film Screenings,Khe Sanh,Marines,Vietnam War

March 2, 2013

March and April Screenings of BRAVO! in Reno, Fresno, Clovis and Moscow, ID

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We have terrific news to announce about upcoming screenings of BRAVO! COMMON MEN, UNCOMMON VALOR in March and April, 2013. If you want to see BRAVO!, meet the filmmakers, meet other veterans and interested folks, then consider coming to one of these screenings. We’d be pleased to see you there, and you are welcome to invite others and help spread the word.

On March 12, BRAVO! will be screened on the campus of the University of Nevada-Reno in the Wells Fargo Auditorium in the Library and Knowledge Center. Sponsors for this screening are the University Veterans Club, NuPhi Vets, and the Reno chapter of the Vietnam Veterans of America. There will be a reception beginning at 5:00 PM followed by the University Veterans Club panel introductions. The actual screening will begin at 6:00 PM followed by a panel discussion. Many thanks to our Marine brother, Terry Hubert of the Vietnam Veterans of America, for all his hard work in putting this screening together.

On March 20, 2013, BRAVO! will screen in the auditorium at the regional facility for the Department of Veterans Affairs in Fresno, California. Doors open at 4:00 PM. The VA is located at 2615 E. Clinton Ave (at the corners of Clinton Avenue and North Fresno Street) in Fresno. Thanks to Khe Sanh veteran Dave Harper for arranging this screening.

On March 21, 2013, BRAVO! will be screened twice at the Clovis Veterans Memorial facility 808 4th Street in Clovis, CA, once at 2:00 PM (doors open at 1:30) and again at 6:00 PM (doors open at 5:30). These screenings are sponsored in part by the Joint Service Honors Command, the Fresno area Marine Corps League, American Legion Post 509, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3225 and again, our Khe Sanh brother, Dave Harper.

On April 19, 2013, BRAVO! will be screened in Moscow, Idaho, at the Kenworthy Performing Arts Center at 508 South Main in Moscow beginning at 6:30 PM, and followed by a panel discussion. This screening is sponsored by the University of Idaho’s Operation Education, which honors and assists permanently disabled veterans of war to gain a college degree. You can find out more about Operation Education at http://www.uidaho.edu/operationeducation. Thanks to Mr. Ed McBride and Mr. Dan Button of Operation Education and Laura Pizzo, Project Coordinator for the Department of English at the U of I, for their efforts in bringing BRAVO! to Moscow and the University of Idaho. Special thanks to award-winning memoirist and novelist Kim Barnes, Professor of English at the U of I, for her energy and commitment to BRAVO!. Further thanks to writer Julie Titone for her assistance with our visit to Moscow.

Any changes or additions to the information on these screenings will be sent out as soon as we know about them.

We are now facing major expenses involved with licensing and DVD production. We would appreciate your help in finding a sponsor (a business or organization) who will help cover these expenses in exchange for listing their name as a sponsor in all promotional materials and on the DVD.