I am a former Infantryman/11B in the Army and a combat veteran of both major theaters in the Global War on Terror. The combat footage in this documentary made me physically, mentally, and emotionally uncomfortable, such is it's quality. So much to the point that I almost couldn't finish it. It is my opinion that with respect to the footage proper, this is utterly seminal, industry redefining work. A magnum opus befitting a combat correspondent so experienced. It should, without qualification, redefine what people think of when they hear the words "combat correspondence". That's all I have to say about that.
In light of this footage of immense quality, I find it... unfortunate that Mike Boettcher felt so compelled to attempt to dramatize this material. What I can only describe as Lifetime movie grade monologues about himself, his career, and his attempts at attempting to rekindle his waning relationship with his son completely ruin this film. I will not go so far as to declare this work disrespectful on his part as I have a very different view of the service than many. I will, however, say that it was completely unnecessary and very much detracted from the otherwise immensely compelling footage. You don't need to engage in creative editing about your son catching a round on a ridge side and dying, when people were actually dying, captured on footage so clear it had my heart rate over 100BPM sitting in a chair. There was no need to introduce your own drama, there was plenty to be had.
Mr. Boettcher is a war corespondent, and in his rush for fame he seems to have forgotten that. You are there to report on the war, not produce a creative melodrama with Afghani scenery and gun fire in the backdrop. It is because of these intertwining scenes of melodrama I am forced to remove three stars from what would have otherwise been a flawless and unbelievably realistic photo thesis on modern combat. This documentary could have been so much more, could have been so close to perfect. Instead, it was turned into a mediocre and unpalatable docudrama. If this film had been half the length due to the endless ramblings and reality TV grade false crisis being edited out, it would have been a five star production. As it is now, I personaly find it a waste of the finest combat footage to ever emerge.