In 2010, Army Chaplain Justin David Roberts traveled to Afghanistan with the No Slack division of the 101st Airborne (motto: "No breather from work, no relief from combat, no request for respite") and brought his video camera. Here, he uses his footage to illustrate the story of several military operations — told talking-head style by those involved — with a heavy emphasis on those wounded or killed in combat. It's treated as surprising that the former are wildly eager to return to the battle they've just left, but it really isn't: once the band of brothers has been forged in combat, it's as if they're spoiled for anything else. There's the briefest of appearances by a Gold Star widow expressing her dismay that her husband was sent on a dangerous mission just three weeks before he was due to come home. Then she gets told that he asked to go. We don't hear her thoughts on that, but we do hear vets saying that their wives and families don't understand them, that "becoming a human being again is a challenge," and that "you'll never match the rush you get in combat." Roberts declares that "the only way to come home is with love," and makes a plea to the civilian community to reach out to these broken men who have become a breed apart (and who are killing themselves at an alarming rate). Despite the sentimental soundtrack, the declarations of American greatness, and the stories of courage under fire, what mostly comes though is that war is hell, and it takes an awful toll on those who wage it. (2015) — Matthew Lickona
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