Soldier made documentary gives insight into Iraq deployment

By Mackenzie Patterson - bioemail

COLUMBUS, GA (WXTX) - We think we know about their lives.  We see soldiers in the grocery store, around town, and heading on post.  One group of soldiers worked for more than a year on "HAMMER: Hardships, Hearts, and Heroes," a documentary to give a true inside look into the life of soldiers deployed in Iraq.

It is a unique look inside the most recent 12 month deployment of Fort Benning's 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division showing them working with Iraqi soldiers, playing with Iraqi children, fixing equipment, and even having a little fun.

Captain Charles Barrett said the project is a way to not repeat the past.

"In Vietnam, there was a lot of censorship with media.  So you didn't always feel like you were getting the full truth," said Barrett.

Barrett said for that reason, the documentary is raw, unscripted, and strictly the pure thoughts of deployed soldiers.

"Get rid of the censorship and say here we are.  This is what our deployment is like and this is the truth right in front of you," said Barrett.

Specialist Erik Anderson shot everything you see in the documentary, interviewed all the soldiers, and edited it all himself.  But, one first sergeant and a Memorial Day stand out in his mind.

"He has lost somebody in every single time he has deployed. He's been 4 times.  And, to really show the loss that these guys have gone through means a lot of me to be able to show some sort of respect for that," said Anderson.

Anderson explained the documentary is a way to see and feel the sacrifices of these soldiers.

"To be able to show why these people gave their lives--why they serve at all.  It's important and it's the right thing to do," said Anderson.

While the documentary shows hundreds of troops returning home, in the arms of loved ones, it is dedicated to those who could not come home: the fallen but not forgotten.

The documentary will debut at the Imax theater at the National Infantry Museum this Memorial Day.  It will be free for all to see.

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