“Restrepo” Airs Monday Night on National Geographic

Tonight, 25 April 2011, the National Geographic Channel will broadcast “Restrepo,” a documentary that chronicles the deployment of a platoon of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley. The movie and outpost, “Restrepo,” are named after a platoon medic who was killed in action.

Tim Hetherington, one of the documentary film producers, directors and cameramen, was killed recently covering the conflict in Libya.

Billed as One Platoon, One Valley, One Year, you can learn more about the men here.

An Army Mom Connects Military Families and Churches

Please welcome a new contributor to Off the Base. Tracie Ciambotti started her outreach – Military Families Ministry – before First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, wife of the vice president, called for such community involvement in  their Joining Forces campaign. Tracie has been reaching out and bringing people together for more than a year.

Tracie's son Joshua and his wife Alison, after he returned from his second deployment in Iraq.

By Tracie Ciambotti

My son enlisted in the Army two days after graduating high school in June of 2005—five months later he was in Baghdad in the middle of a war.  He received the best training in the world for his new job as an Army infantryman; I however, did not receive any information or training for my new role as the mother of a soldier.  Families that have a loved one in the Armed Forces sacrifice and serve with their enlisted and they need support. 

I could not find one support group in the community or county where I lived in Pennsylvania at the time.  Most communities in this country have support groups for all kinds of things; alcoholism and drug addictions; cancer and many other diseases; crime victims; and many more. 

So why aren’t there support groups for military families?  I think that most citizens simply do not realize the challenges faced by these families on a daily basis.  People understand that soldiers sacrifice—that is obvious, but they don’t fully comprehend the impact on the entire family. 

One of the Military Families Ministry group meetings.

I co-founded Military Families Ministry to support the entire military family.  Our target is churches.  There are two things in most communities; one is a church and the other is a family that has a loved one or close friend serving in the Armed Forces.  Our goal is to connect them. 

Churches provide the perfect opportunity to support the military families in their communities as they are already established organizations who want to care for those in their midst.  Our mission is to awaken church congregations to the challenges of military life and help them establish support groups to care for the families in their communities. 

Our ministry groups meet monthly, share a meal and conversation, encourage each other through deployments and other difficult times, and work together on service projects to support service members and their families.  

You can visit our website, Military Families Ministry, for details on our service projects and ways that you can get involved.

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