“The ultimate sacrifice deserves the highest honor.” In today’s divided America, it is often difficult to see the good in others if they don’t align with our way of thinking. Yet, in the military, regardless of one’s political bent or preferences, there is still a strong dedication to the principle of “one team, one fight” when it matters.
And while much has been written and reported about Vietnam and the divides that war created within the ranks and in the public eye, there was still many acts of service above self and lifelong friendships born, despite the differences.
In my interview on The Military Wire podcast with longtime Hollywood director Todd Robinson, he shares how in his latest film The Last Full Measure, one man clearly put aside his branch of service to simply do right. The film tells the true story of Vietnam War hero William H. Pitsenbarger (Jeremy Irvine), a U.S. Air Force Pararescuemen (also known as a PJ) medic who personally saved over 60 men in one of the bloodiest battles in Vietnam. But the movie goes beyond just the rescue mission. It tackles the many issues some wrestled with in Vietnam while also uncovering a “cover up” that, when exposed, brought closure to many.
A quick history lesson: Vietnam, up until the War on Terror, was the longest-standing war the United States had been actively involved in. Also known as the Second Indochina War, it erupted in November 1955 and finally concluded in April of 1975. More than 58,000 U.S. servicemembers lost their lives in the war, and that doesn’t include the men and women who took their lives after the war because of shame, moral injury or some other demon they brought home.
And while it’s been 45 years since that war concluded, men and women who served in that war — and perhaps even their family members, not to mention those who have served in our more recent conflicts — may just find closure by watching this film.
The Last Full Measure hits theaters Jan. 24, 2020.
— By Mike Schindler
Edmonds resident Mike Schindler is the founder and chief executive officer of Operation Military Family Cares –– a 501(c)(3) veteran service organization and technology provider that combats veteran homelessness, while working to strengthen relationships and equip communities and families for success.