Bravo! The Project - A Documentary Film

Archive for July, 2013

Documentary Film,Guest Blogs,Khe Sanh,Marines,Vietnam War

July 26, 2013

Guest Blogger Ruth Salter On the Power of Story and Memory

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I recently received my copy of Bravo! in the mail and sat down to watch it again. The first time I experienced it at a screening at Boise State University, I was nearly overwhelmed by the stark power of the storytelling. There was too much to absorb in one sitting: too many deep wounds revealed, too much delayed closure. This is a film jammed with stories that demand re-visitation and reflection.

Something that struck me during my second viewing was the repeated use of “the world” to refer to life outside of Vietnam, life before war and the imagined life after it. Marines promised each other, “I’ll see you back in the world,” which underscored for me how extremely unreal life in the battle zone must have felt. Life in besieged Khe Sanh was so impossible to adapt to and to comprehend that it wasn’t even considered an earthly experience. Recently I heard a Korean War vet relate a similar kind of story: one night while on sentry duty, he watched a beautiful full moon slowly rise above a hill and illuminate the battlefield below. His first thought was that this can’t be the same moon that rises back home. Dislocation and surrealism…hallmarks of many combat veterans’ stories.

Decades later, many Vietnam vets have only made it halfway home, living with one foot in “the world” and one back in the battle zone. Some even have two feet planted in the past, at least for part of each day. I was struck by Michael O’Hara’s revelation in Bravo! that every morning before he is fully awake and has his first cup of coffee, he’s back in a trench at Khe Sanh. Every single morning he feels “bodies up to my kneecaps.” Returning daily to the horrors of combat, straddling two extremely different existences sounds horrific to me—I struggle to understand how someone could ever find peace while seesawing between the past and the present, the trenches and “the world.” But Michael didn’t look horrified. Instead, he states, “That’s OK; I’ve come to accept that. I’m not supposed to forget all that stuff.”

But not all combat vets have come to terms with their wartime experiences. Memory is a double-edged sword, capturing our finest as well as our worst moments. Memories of combat can teach non-participants about the realities of war. And the dead walk again in memory. However, when memories painfully invade and occupy the present, derailing daily routines and relationships, action needs to be taken.

Sharing these memories is powerful medicine. Stories externalized are easier to manage. Somewhere I read the injunction “either own your story or it owns you.” When stories find the light of day after being buried for years, deep healing can occur. In the veterans’ writing group I facilitate, memories are shared aloud in conversation and written down to preserve them. Whether captured on paper or on film, the healing power of storytelling is something that can help unstick boots from battlefield mud and plant them more firmly in the present day.

Sharing stories can help both the teller and the listener find the path to insight and healing. Author and psychologist Edward Tick in War and the Soul explains: “Telling our story is a way of preserving our individual history and at the same time defining our place in the larger flow of events. It reveals patterns and meaning that we might otherwise miss as we go about the mundane activities of living; it invites us to see the universe working through us.” Stories also unite tellers and listeners, forming a community of shared witness. War stories, like those so artfully portrayed in Bravo!, can therefore become tools of reconciliation and restoration.

For information about the Boise Area Veterans’ Writing Group, please visit or contact Ruth at

Ruth Salter has a Master of Fine Arts degree and is a lecturer in the Department of English at Boise State University.

DVDs of BRAVO! are now for sale at

BRAVO! has a page on Facebook. Please like us at

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

July 15, 2013

BRAVO! To Screen in Southern Arizona

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Paramount Theater, in Casa Grande, AZ, will be screening BRAVO! COMMON MEN, UNCOMMON VALOR in a benefit for the Pinal County Veterans Memorial Foundation.

Casa Grande, AZ is BRAVO! co-producer and co-director Ken Rodgers’ home town.

Details about the screening are below.

The Paramount Theater’s Paramount Film Fest


An Independent Film Documentary by

Casa Grande’s own Ken & Betty Rodgers


The 77-day Siege of Khe Sanh

A story of Bravo Company, 1st Battalion,

26th Marines during the Vietnam War

The event is to benefit the Pinal County Veterans Memorial Foundation

THURSDAY – JULY 25, 2013 – 7 PM

TICKETS, $10.00 EACH and MAY BE PURCHASED online –,


DVDs of BRAVO! will be on sale at the Casa Grande screening and are also now for sale at

BRAVO! has a page on Facebook. Please like us at

Other Musings

July 11, 2013

BOOCOO DINKY DOW co-author Julie Titone Muses on Vietnam, Art and BRAVO!

Author Julie Titone, who with her former husband the late Grady Myers, penned the Vietnam War memoir, BOOCOO DINKY DOW, MY SHORT, CRAZY VIETNAM WAR. Julie has authored a blog about the film BRAVO! COMMON MEN, UNCOMMON VALOR. She discusses, along with a lot of issues related to war, memory and Vietnam, the similarities and differences between her (and Grady’s) funny, but not-so-funny book and the film.

Julie describes her blog about her book and BRAVO! as follows:

“A documentary about an epic siege, a coming-of-age-at-war memoir. My latest “Boocoo Dinky Dow” blog post explores the parallel storytelling journeys of Ken, Betty and Julie.”

You can read Julie’s blog about BRAVO! here, and you can find our more about BOOCOO DINKY DOW, MY SHORT, CRAZY VIETNAM WAR here.

DVDs of BRAVO! are now for sale at

BRAVO! has a page on Facebook. Please like us at