A question every veteran including myself has been asked at some point in their lives is, “What made you join the military”? In the case of Dom, Cole and their close friends who follow them into the military, it’s for similar reasons that my friends and I joined as well. In the Independent Film “Where Soldiers Come From” by Heather Courtney, we learn what the lives were like back in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for these childhood friends who take the oath and soon find themselves searching for I.E.D’s in a volatile Afghanistan.
In the film “Where Soldiers Come From” by Heather Courtney, childhood friends Dom Fredianelli, Cole Smith, Bodi Beaudoin, and their High School friends don’t have to many choices growing up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. For these young men, serving in the military may not have been their first choice after High school, but growing up in a cold, snowy distant part of the country with scarce employment opportunities helps to influence their decision to raise their right hand and take the oath together.
“Where Soldiers Come From” will take you through the everyday lives of these young men back home in Michigan and overseas in Afghanistan serving their country. We hear first hand from Dom, Cole and Bodi, about growing up in the U.P. and their reasons for joining the Michigan National Guard. The film follows the young men as they train at the Michigan National Guard firing grounds preparing for combat, and preparing for what they may witness in combat someday. For them, training is somewhat taken lightly and during breaks we see the occasional clowning around with one another. However, when the boys finally do receive orders to deploy to Afghanistan to conduct I.E.D removal utilizing (MRAP) Mined Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles, their behavior changes.
As the camera’s follow Dom, Cole, Bodi and their other High School friends on their deployment in a very dangerous region of Afghanistan, we learn that they aren’t the only ones who begin to battle with emotions and thoughts about their decision to serve. Back home in Michigan is where their families go on about their lives, but a life that has gotten much more difficult having to worry everyday about their boy’s in a combat zone. All too often we hear the stories of soldiers out in the war zone, but many times we overlook the families that are left behind having to battle their own war worrying everyday about their loved ones deployed.
In the film “Where Soldiers Come From“, we watch these young soldiers develop as they begin to learn so much more about themselves and their choices in life. We learn not only about their personal struggles and their views on war, but we also learn about the personal struggles and views on war from their families as well. We learn that without the support system these soldiers have back home in Michigan, transitioning would be an even greater challenge. Lastly we learn once again that for any combat soldier returning home from the battle field is no easy transition as we find Dom, Cole and Bodi all battling symptoms of PTSD and finding it difficult to get their lives back to normal.
I would highly recommend this film to everyone in and out of uniform, because this is a film that once again shows the impact war has on not only the combat veteran, but also the family he or she leaves behind. We find that when the combat veteran returns home, a new war begins as they work towards getting their lives back to normal and defeating the images of war they return home with.
Special Thanks to Director/Producer Heather Courtney.