From the farms and fields of Arkansas to the deadly streets of Baghdad, Off to War tracks the citizen soldiers of the Arkansas National Guard as they come face to face with the horror of war.
Never before has a single unit of soldiers been followed from the beginning to the end of their deployment at war. In April 2004, filmmakers Brent and Craig Renaud arrived in Iraq with the Arkansas National Guard during one of the bloodiest months to date. Within twenty-four hours of their arrival, one of the guardsmen lay dead. By the end of the first month, the unit had lost more soldiers than any other National Guard Brigade in Iraq.
From actual scenes of full-scale combat to a soldier's funeral, from the birth of a first child to the heartbreaking return home of a critically injured soldier, Off to War tells the story of a war in a way it has never been told before--through the eyes of the soldiers and families back home who endured it.
Episode 4 of 10
In Iraq, the Arkansas Guardsmen track and disarm roadside bombs responsible for killing many American troops. Specialists Matt Hertlein and Tommy Erp debate the Abu Ghraib scandal while Cheryl Jackson worries about the effect the scandal will have on the safety of her husband and son in Iraq. Sergeant David Short visits an Iraqi medical clinic that has no anesthesia for its patients. Back in Clarksville, the congregation Sergeant Joe Betts worked so hard to build replaces him as pastor without his consent. The families of the Engineers hold a pig roast at Wal-Mart to raise money to send to the troops in Iraq. A final surgery reveals that Sergeant Wayne Irelan’s combat wounds are too severe and he will never use his arm again.