Sunday, August 21, 2011

Brothers At War

Growing up, Jake Rademacher had dreams of going to West Point and serving in the military. Unable to gain an appointment, his life followed a different direction. Two years later it was rough and tumble Isaac that gained an appointment to West Point. Now a captain, he has gone on these past ten years to serve in four deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. Meanwhile baby brother Joe Rademacher enlisted in the army. A veteran of the battles in and around Fallujah, he has become a graduate of Ranger school, Reconnaissance and Surveillance Leaders Course and the US Army Sniper School. His last posting he served performing long range reconnasiance duties. The time in the military and service in Iraq created a gulf between Jake and his two younger brothers. In 2005 he went on a mission to produce a film that would help people understand the lives and world that his brothers live in. He sought to understand for himself as well. Brothers at War is that movie.

It is Joe that is the brother that's a little scary. The dark, brooding loner who suffered the loss of his older brother here stateside, then his brothers in arms over seas. It is the hardness and distance in Joe that is so difficult for Jake to get a grip on. Jake goes off to try to understand the world his brothers live in, but it isn't until Jake's second trip that he fully invests himself into living the life of a U.S. servicemen. Jake goes from newbie unfamiliar with how life is lived and afraid of every encounter, to a man who is largely silent about the things he has done and seen.

In the last scene young Joe is shipping off for his third deployment. Jake stands by to see him off, and reaching out to Jake, Joe gives him a brotherly hug, which Jake accepts. As he begins to break off, Joe is still holding on, which takes Jake aback a little, and it is there that you realize that Jake has crossed the bridge and come to share in the world of Isaac and Joe. Jake states "I don't know if I earned the right to sit at the table with Joe, but I have come to understand him better." As a soldier, no, perhaps not, but as a man, as a brother, the answer for Jake is 'Yes.'

It was an excellent show. Hats off to Jake Rademacher, executive producer Gary Sinise, Isaac Radaemacher, Joe Rademacher and all their family.


  1. There were a lot of good scenes in this movie, but mostly it was a chance to get to know the guys.

    In one piece one of the young guys was all about watching The O.C. on his rec time, and he was happy to have found a few people that would watch it with him. I was thinking that was a teen girl drama show, and I kept wondering why this guy was so keen on watching it, and then it comes out.. the show boasts a number of attractive young gals. I don't know how keen the specialist was for the story line, but apparently the girls were pretty great.

    Frank and 'Mongo' were great fun too. Two guys, kind of quirky whispering off by themselves in some sniper perch. Frank offers Mongo some M&Ms and Mongo pulls out a wad of chew so he can enjoy the M&Ms, to which Frank gets all out of sorts:

    "Give those back to me."


    "Don't put your slimy fingers into that bag of M&Ms!"

    ... but the fellas knew their business. I liked those guys.

    Jake had a little trouble at first. His ways were just off. Even having two brothers in the service, he was a civilian doing a story. Later you realize that a guy like Jake was thought of as "Johnny 'Burn'em' Journalist". What does that say about the actions of our press, when our servicemen presume that someone from the press will be looking to burn em somehow? It's when the fella's start to call him by the nick-name "Hollywood" that you realize he was in.

  2. And of course the kids - the Iraqi kids were very charming. Seeing them there, you'd so like to help them. Also the Iraqi troops learning to fight, and the two Marine sargeants who were guiding them and leading them. That was really good too. But the main thing was the Rademacher family. It was a great story.