‘Longest Month’ Doc Honors Those Who Serve
I served as an Army Aviator and Warrant Officer for over 24 years.
When I retired in 2011, I looked back on my career and reflected on the things I had seen and done in that time. What stood out to me was the professionalism, courage and self-sacrifice prevalent among the people with whom I served.
Consider my 15-month deployment in Iraq, with the 1st Battalion 227th Aviation Regiment of the 1st Cavalry Division in 2006 and 2007. It was then that I began to write a book about that particular experience.
Fortunately, I was able to collect a lot of things and, after getting feedback and more information from others I served with, I assembled what I felt was a compelling narrative of what life was like for an attack helicopter pilot over Baghdad during “The Surge.”
After a few rejections by publishers, a new non-military job and other things that came along, I put this story aside.
It was always there in the back of my mind.
A few years went by and then through the marvel of the Internet I met a filmmaker named Kenn Christenson. He graciously put up with me and, along with the folks at Threedonia.com and actor Nick Searcy, made a 30-plus minute history presentation about my former unit in honor of its 50th anniversary.
Called: “First Attack: History of the 1st Battalion 227th Aviation Regiment,” it can be seen on Vimeo:
First Attack: History of the 1st Battalion 227th Aviation Regiment from Kenn Christenson on Vimeo.
Some of the stories we told were of a particular time in 2007. During a period of about 30 days, beginning around the middle of January 2007, our forces suffered the loss of no fewer than five helicopters, associated flight crews and passengers, along with some of those involved in the rescue and recovery efforts.
This was some of the most intense fighting that occurred during our deployment. Our ground forces were engaged with the enemy on a daily basis, with AH-64 attack helicopters, on station, 24/7 providing support.
This period resulted in numerous awards to members of the battalion, including; the Distinguished Service Cross (an award for valor second only to the Medal of Honor), multiple Silver Stars, Distinguished Flying Cross and other awards for valor.
I’ve always believed it’s important for the American public to know what its military has done and continues to do for them on a daily basis.
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These are stories, known only to those who were there, and a select few, who’ve been fortunate enough to hear them recounted. The stories are by no means unique, but I feel are indicative of the continuous effort that is put forth in the service of our country, and something that the average citizen needs to know.
This is where Kenn comes in again.
I somehow convinced Kenn to sign up to produce a documentary about our operations in February of 2007. The film will feature interviews with the participants (both ground and air) and tell the compelling stories of several events that highlight the courage and sacrifice of those that were there.
We are currently in the process of arranging interviews, logistics, DOD and Army clearances and we are planning to begin filming at Fort Hood, TX this spring.
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This is an independent production. We are funding ourselves and have no production or distribution agreement. I feel so strongly about this story that I’m willing to use my own money to see it told.
We want to make the best presentation as possible. To do this requires money. Money for equipment rental, lodging, travel, legal fees and licensing the music we want to use.
WHAT THIS IS
By and large the makers of this presentation view the job that 1-227 and 4-227 AVN did in a positive light. Air crews went out every day and preformed their mission to the upmost of their abilities many times going far above and beyond the call of duty.
This presentation seeks to highlight these actions. This, however, is not intended to be a whitewash. We understand that bad things did happen and we don’t intend to present a story that makes it appear that we were some sort of super-team that was flawless. The fact that we WERE flawed and still succeeded it what to me makes this story even more compelling.
We feel that if we don’t tell this story (and it is a story worth telling) nobody will…so this is why we’re asking for your help to do this right!
WHAT THIS IS NOT
This is not a finger-pointing exercise. While there were villains as well as heroes we don’t intend to “call anyone out” or use this as a place to attack those we may have had issues with in the past. This isn’t an AAR, but we also don’t intend to cover up something if it might be embarrassing but relevant.
Bottom line we feel this will portray our units in a positive light and we would greatly appreciate your assistance/participation. If you are willing to be interviewed on tape, we are planning a taping session in the Spring of 2019. Even if you do not wish to be interviewed, we would greatly appreciate your feedback and information regarding your participation or interaction with 1-227 (Crazyhorse) or 4-227 (Big Guns).
If you’d like to help us, we would greatly appreciate any amount that you’d feel comfortable contributing. At our GO FUND ME site there is SWAG associated with dollar amounts, but please don’t feel compelled to those numbers. As I’ve said before we will take anything from $1 to $1,000.
I thank you in advance for your attention and support.
Dan McClinton was born in Waco, Texas and served in the United States Army for over 20 years as an Army Aviator, retiring at the rank of Chief Warrant Officer 4 in 2011. He served 37 total months in Iraq with the First Cavalry Division between 2004 and 2010 as an AH-64D Pilot in Command and Air Mission Commander. He is a Master Army Aviator and has traveled around the world as part of his duties in the service of this nation. He was awarded the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star and 7 Air Medals during his military career.
Photo by Defence Images on Foter.com / CC BY-SA