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 8 of 10
In Iraq, the soldiers get Internet access with Web cams and begin chatting with family members back home. Back in Clarksville, families celebrate Christmas without their loved ones. The Arkansas National Guard participates in an historic moment — the first free Iraqi national election. The Engineers are tasked with fortifying the polling stations in Baghdad, but tragedy strikes when a sniper kills Matt Hertlein’s best friend two days before the elections. Sergeant Curtis Rohrscheib and his men endure mortar attacks while protecting Iraqi civilians from insurgents. Grief-stricken, the men from Clarksville say goodbye to 24-year-old Lyle Rymer during a memorial service at Camp Taji, Iraq.