(photo: Rick Wood, 2011)
He had a “thousand-yard stare.” The 25-year-old sergeant sat across from me, picking at his food but mostly watching over his men. The back of the Stryker vehicle had the ramp down and his squad congregated inside to play an impromptu game of Spades.
I watched the young NCO as I sat in the passenger’s seat of an up-armored Humvee. He was with the “Outlaws” platoon, 1-17TH Infantry and a veteran of two tours in Afghanistan and one in Iraq. Everything about him screamed “Grunt.” He still looked young but there were the telltale signs. His face had the trace of some scarring, made more visible after a day on patrol when the dust and sweat mixed to spackle the contours. Generally, he was soft-spoken and a bit aloof. Don’t get me wrong, one well-placed, admonishing look from him would stop his troops cold.
I was there because I was a journalist covering the military and had spent two days embedded with the unit. During that time he’d said very little to me…and still, he’s the Soldier I remember the most.
The 25-year-old with the “thousand-yard stare.”
So, I'm just sitting around Friday morning (literally, because the power went out for two hours) and, out of the blue, comes a knock at my front door.
Without hesitation I got up, walked to the front door and opened it up.
Standing in front of me was sheriff's deputy... with an arrest warrant on his clipboard. My mind reeled... did he know about that one-time in Amsterdam in 1998??? Before I could confess any illicit activities I may (or may not) have been involved in, he let me off the hook.
"Do you know a Samantha 'So-and-So'," he asked. Looking down at the warrant I could see her name and an address within the same apartment complex where I live. Before I could answer, I noticed that his gaze was transfixed on my kitchen counter.
On the counter - along with an unwashed coffee mug - was a plain, white box, inscribed with the words, "Landmine, MTR-80, MIL Grade." In much smaller letters it also says that it's a tactical training device that uses compressed air to SIMULATE a landmine. However, he may in fact have been staring at a trio of M-4 assault rifles or the rack of tactical vests and Army uniforms behind me. I'm not sure which, really.
I nervously stammered something about "I bet you see weird stuff all the time, huh?" Then I weakly added, "I'm...I'm filming a movie."
Without uttering a word, he nodded. I also told him that I didn't know the gal he was looking for and promptly thanked him for his service to our community. I may have even saluted...I don't know.
What I do know is that I'm waiting for the "follow-up" visit any day now.
- "outlaw"-Six Out.
I'm proud to say that our crowd-funding campaign has reached its goal! ...not that there was any doubt.
So, a few behind-the-scenes things going on right now. First, we're in talks with an active duty branch of the military who may provide some equipment for the film! I can't say "who" or "what" yet, but you'll know when I hear a final decision on it.
Also, the script has evolved (a little), once again. These are more additions than changes. I think there were a few minor details that needed to be added to enhance the story and help move it along.
I'll leave you with a few more stills from the teaser trailer filming day.
-Rick, aka "Doughnut Six"
Micah (left) and I look at the jib shot on the beach.
Ricardo (far right) pulls a slow slider shot of a "dying Sgt. Riles."
Ada Jackson (left) and I compare a real starfish to our prop one.