We visit the Army’s billion-dollar National Training Center and meet some of the people who help prepare our troops for combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. Covering more than a thousand square miles of California’s Mojave Desert, Ft. Irwin and the NTC includes realistic mock villages populated by role playing Iraqi nationals and military wives who aim to give the soldiers a taste of what’s to come overseas. We also witness a group of Army reservists training in a “trauma lane.” Amid IED blasts and sniper fire, the untested medics have to deal with role players pretending to be the enemy, frightened villagers demanding their attention and actual amputees who act like they just lost their legs in the explosion. Their commander, Sergeant First Class Bertran Schultz, describes the action and gives a blow by blow account of what his soldiers are getting right and wrong.
In this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, Bob talks with executive director Dan Gediman about the essay from Mrs. John G. (Percy) Lee. She served four terms as the national president of the League of Women Voters from 1950 to 1958. The daughter of the inventor of the Maxim gun silencer, Lee passed up college to marry at age 19 and raise a family.
From the loveable bartender known to the world as “Woody Boyd” in the television series Cheers, to the off-color publisher of Hustler Magazine, Larry Flynt, Woody Harrelson has proven to be a highly diverse actor for more than twenty years. In his most recent film, Harrelson is teamed with actor Ben Foster as members of the Army’s Casualty Notification service – representatives of the military who must deliver the sad news of fallen soldiers to the families. Harrelson, Foster and writer-director Oren Moverman discuss the film, The Messenger, and their experiences making movies.
Writer Barbara Kingsolver is one of America’s most beloved and respected novelists. She won the National Book Prize of South Africa in 1998 for The Poisonwood Bible and in 2000, President Bill Clinton awarded Kingsolver the National Humanities Medal. Her new book, The Lacuna, is Kingsolver’s first novel in 9 years.