Sunday, June 28, 2009

"The Hurt Locker"

Shortly after the Saddam's statue was toppled in Firdos Square, America found itself embroiled in an IED war. In fact "IED" is now in the Merriam-Webster's Dictionary. And yet little is known about the service men that defuse IEDs - the EOD Techs.

A few articles have emerged including a September 2005 Playboy article entitled, The Man in the Bomb Suit by Mark Boal. Mark saw EOD work up close while embedded with an Army EOD Team serving in Iraq in 2004. His article grew into a screenplay and film that Boal co-produced with Kathryn Bigelow called The Hurt Locker.

Boal and Bigelow were kind enough to share The Hurt Locker with the EOD Memorial Foundation at a private screening last Thursday. Jim O'Neil, the foundation's executive director put the word out to the EOD community and the event became a fundraiser. Thus, the theater was filled with EOD Techs of all ages - a discerning audience.

Jim set the tone when he said, "Remember guys, this is not a training film!" I knew exactly what Jim was driving at. I did not expect realism as much as entertainment. Still, I brought my father, wife, and son to see the film with me. I hoped they could see the life of an EOD Tech - live and in color. We were not disappointed.

After the film I enjoyed a short conversation with Mark and Kathryn. Mark and I corresponded while he was working on the screenplay. I even sent him a copy of my book proposal for a non-fiction companion to Proximity (Which is still in the works).

"What did you think?" he asked.
"Actually, I'm impressed," I responded, "I think you guys really captured the essence of EOD work."

I was and they did.

The whole package - writing, cinematography, acting - vividly depicted what it means to go down range. This led to the true value of the film. On the car ride home, my family asked question after question about life as an EOD Tech. As a result they more clearly understand the courage and sacrifice of our nation's EOD Techs.

So for my EOD brethren I say, "Go see this film...and take your loved ones. You won't regret it."

For Mark and Kathryn, I'd like to say, "Thanks for donating you time to share this film with the EOD Memorial Foundation. More importantly, thanks for telling this story."

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The EOD Memorial Foundation hosts a premiere of "The Hurt Locker."

I've just signed up to attend a special screening of The Hurt Locker that will support the EOD Memorial Foundation. Check out both sites and give to the Foundation!

(Official U.S. Navy photo of EOD Tech in Med Eng bomb suit.)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

MWSA meets with The Capital

This evening four members of the Military Writers Society of America (MWSA) gathered at Hard Bean Coffee and Booksellers in Annapolis, Maryland to meet with Teri Winslow, a features reporter with The Capital. The MWSA group included Rob Ballister (God Does Have a Sense of Humor), Geri Krotow (What Family Means), Luke Ritter (Securing Global Transportation Networks), and myself. It was a fun evening, filled with great conversation. I'll leave the interesting details and insight to Teri...and will post a link to her article when it comes out.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Readers comment on Proximity

Cory S. is a sailor interested in the EOD community. He wrote, "Bravo Zulu Sir! I read through your Proximity and I loved it! I’ll be honest, I’m not a reader yet I’ve never moved so fast through a read. Your book is what I’ve been looking for. The EOD community is quite small and thus I’ve had difficulty trying to find information about the type of missions, work environments, etc. I had a good idea but have been always looking for someone to give me an inside look……and truly, your book sealed the deal in that I know the EOD is what I want to do. Combining physical and mental challenges, with an error in any of those areas will cost a life, that’s what I’ve been looking for! When Jazz used his intellect and reasoning to come to the magnet proposal, I thought, 'Wow! Science and explosives to save the day…has me written all over it!' HOOYAH!"

Thanks, Cory...I'm glad that you enjoyed it. I wrote Proximity hoping to inspire and educate sailors who are interested in the community.

Chris C. also sent me a note:

"Steve, the book made it into my hands last evening....and, I can't put it down. Are you working on the screenplay, yet?"

Hooya, Chris. You're not the first person to comment that Proximity reads like an action movie. I do hope it finds it way to the silver screen.

Have an opinion, comment or critique of Proximity? Feel free to post a comment here.