On November 16, Staff Sergeant Sal Giunta of the 173rd Airborne became the first living Medal of Honor recipient since the Vietnam War. His actions occurred in Afghanistan's Korengal valley during the deployment chronicled in the movie "Restrepo."
"Restrepo" is a movie most every American should see although it's not suitable for small children. It's very real; very graphic.
There are no actors in the film. It is all footage from actual combat by American soldiers in the Korengal Valley.
The movie was released earlier this year in theaters around the country. It never made it to local screens.
You can get it "On Demand" for free on Blue Ridge Communications by going to TV Entertainment, then National Geographic, "Restrepo."
It will be available through Dec. 8.
It is also available for purchase on the Web from National Geographic.
There is a local soldier in the film, although he asked not to be identified in news articles.
In the film, which was shot by author Sabastian Junger who spent 17 months in Afghanistan with American troops, you get the feel of what our soldiers are enduring in that Asian country. You'll see them talking with local villagers, engaging the Taliban in combat, and seeing their daily routines as they struggle for their own survival.
Doc Restrepo was one of the first casualties in the Korengal Valley fighting.
In the movie, it is stated that the Korengal Valley "is considered one of the most dangerous postings in the U.S. military."
CNN dubbed Korengal Valley "the deadliest place on earth."
All the scenes and dialogue in the film are real. There is no script.
War is often glorified in Hollywood films. In this case, the hell of war is real. You'll see the many emotions our soldiers experience serving in the hellish post. You'll witness interrogations of village folks and the trials and tribulations the troops are experiencing while serving there.
Watching the film is moving. It's also educational and awakening.
The local soldier in the film obviously doesn't care about notoriety. Junger was granted permission to film the unit and it just so happens there was a local man present at the time, just doing his job like virtually all our other military members perform.
It's a job few of us would want to have. And it's a reality none of us want to ever experience.
Words can't describe what happens in the Korengal Valley. It's best that you see for yourself.
By Ron Gower