Those words...that promise...kept running through my mind as I lifted my helicopter off the tarmac for my first combat mission in Vietnam.
What I didn't realize at the time was that this solemn promise - from my country to me-was a promise to be kept for all time.
I was lucky. I came home safely.
But America has over 83,000 servicemen who haven't yet come home from missions and battlefields. This enormous number includes MIAs from all our wars back to World War II.
They are still listed as "Missing in Action."
Proudly, our nation never stops searching for its lost warriors.
The fabric of this quilt, this film, is American stories told by Americans.
Ours is the only country that believes our missing should always be recovered and repatriated with their families and buried on American soil. This powerful and emotionally stirring story will be told in the documentary film; "A Solemn Promise, America's Missing in Action"
The film will witness the incredible lengths our country goes in order to find and identify our warrior's remains. These amazing, often highly hazardous searches are performed in our old war zones and fields of combat by an organization known as DPAA: "Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency", their motto is "Fufilling our nation's promise". Recovered remains are taken to DPAA's laboratories to establish positive identification through DNA and dental records. After careful, meticulous identification any living relatives are respectfully notified.
The dangerous searches and the laboratory work add up to real life "Indiana Jones" meets "CSI".
Even if there are no surviving family members the warrior's remains are given a full Military Honor Guard burial. We will witness the intricate rituals, rich pageantry and honor of these ceremonies.
Millions of our MIA's extended family members are haunted. They wonder still how were their loved ones were lost? Could they still be alive? Did they die alone? What happened to them? Will they ever have closure? And, what about that Solemn Promise?
This documentary film is a story of hope for those families and all Americans.
This is the story of how America keeps its promises.
The vision is to produce a 60-90 minute film of the highest production values. The film will be expanded from our ten-minute trailer which can be screened on our website: storytellerfilms.tv.
The long-form film will see more MIA family interviews, original footage of ceremonies and DPAA investigations as depicted in the trailer. Stock footage of the era in which their loss was suffered will help the audience embrace truly how long some of these families have been waiting.
Through reenactments, we will illustrate the unsettling reality of a family being notified about their missing loved one. Computer generation and Anime will illustrate the last known combat mission and the extrapolated or presumed action resulting in the loss of the service member.
Filming will take place in Hawaii at the DPAA headquarters and laboratories as well as with DPAA teams searching in our old battlefields. Additionally, we will film the unique San Antonio, Texas DPAA laboratory containing artifacts from military equipment and aircraft from all our wars. We will film the pageantry, ceremony and honor bestowed on the repatriated remains of an MIA interred at Arlington.
Primarily, of course, the film will take us into American homes hearing directly from families coping with their loss, their hopes and their need for closure.