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Bragg soldier stars in Iraq documentary

Posted March 13, 2009

— Filmmaker Jake Rademacher knew his two brothers were in the Army and serving in Iraq, but he didn't understand why.

He turned his effort to answer his questions into an acclaimed film, "Brothers at War," which opens this weekend in theaters near Fort Bragg, Camp Lejeune and Fort Benning, Ga.

Maj. Isaac Rademacher Soldier opens up in brother's documentary

"My brothers are putting their lives on the line. Why are they doing it? I had to know," Rademacher says early in the film.

He traveled to Iraq in 2005 and documented what he saw while visiting his brothers, Maj. Isaac Rademacher and Staff Sgt. Joe Rademacher.

"Jake was kind of slipping away from us because he didn't understand what we'd been through," said Isaac Rademacher, an operations officer in the 38th Cavalry Regiment, 525th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade at Fort Bragg.

Joe Rademacher is a sniper-school instructor at Fort Benning.

What Jake Rademacher found was more than he could have imagined, Isaac Rademacher said. There was the ugly side of war, but there was also a brotherhood – between the Rademachers and among the troops.

"He did such an incredible job of putting the soldier's story on the screen," Isaac Rademacher said.

The film provides an intimate portrait of war and how it affects troops and their families, ranging from the intensity of the battlefield to the emotion of tearful goodbyes on the home front.

"I may be walking out that door for the last time and abandon the people I love the most," Isaac Rademacher says in the film, referring to his wife, Jennifer, and 4-year-old daughter, Hunter.

He has deployed three times to Iraq and once to Afghanistan in the last six years, spending a combined 39 months in combat.

"Brothers at War" has been screened at the Pentagon and a few other locations, drawing standing ovations from troops and their families.

"I haven't seen an audience yet that didn't like it," Isaac Rademacher said. "Jake has screened it for Walter Reed (Army Hospital), and he's screened it for 800 soldiers at Fort Hood, (and) all of the soldiers seem to speak up and say, 'I can relate to that.' "

Actor Gary Sinise, who played "Lt. Dan" in "Forrest Gump" and stars in the television show "CSI: New York," was so moved by the film when he saw it that he signed on as executive producer to help promote it.

Opening up on camera isn't something many warriors are willing to do, but Isaac Rademacher said he's glad he did.

"I hope that what I've done brings more credit to the military and the service of our soldiers," he said. "It shows the American public what we're all about in a way that's never been done before, and for that, I think it's worth it."

Still, he said he finds his sudden fame awkward.

"It's weird, and I'd be good to slip back into my soldier life," he said.

The film is showing at the Carmike 12 in the Westwood Shopping Center, off McPherson Church and Morganton roads in Fayetteville. On Saturday, Sinise and Jake Rademacher will do a Hollywood-style red carpet appearance at 6:30 p.m. and will answer questions from the audience after the 7 p.m. show.


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  • dta27615 Mar 13, 2009

    I had the priviledge/honor to screen this movie last year with a private group... it really puts the army/war/deployment/military families in perspective... in a good way. Even though it was approved and sometimes (probably) censored... Rademacher does a good job of presenting a more personal, yet not-hollywood depiction of what our soldiers and their families have endured for years. Really makes you appreciate what we have and (more importantly) what they go thru on a daily basis.

  • Worland Mar 13, 2009

    I still find it funny... maybe sad, so many people still think Michael Moore's films are documentaries. He went so far as to fabricate news paper articles passing them off as real in the movies. One of my favorite parts is when he splices together four different speeches by Charlton Heston to make some fictitious point about the NRA. Or when his crew interviews a wounded soldier in Walter Reed, under false pretenses, and totally twists what the young soldier was actually talking about.

    Rent "Fahrenhype 9/11" to hear what that soldier, and dozens of other people featured in Moore's film, think about Michael. You also get to see what was actually said in many of the doctored scenes in Moore's films.

  • simracer68 Mar 13, 2009

    Sounds like this film maker went into this project with an open mind and let the story tell itself while he filmed it.

    That's a lot better than Michael Moore's "documetaries" where he plans out his entire spin angle prior to shooting and then shoots and edits a film to make it say whatever it was that his preconceived notion already was. 'Roger and Me'? He did interview Roger and decided not to put it into his film. 'Farenheit 9/11'? Several people are still suing him over his presentaion of them within the film, saying they were taken out of context and at times, even had words put into their mouthes by the lying Moore after the fact in his narration. The best film involving Michael Moore I've ever seen was entitled 'Manufacturing Dissent' - check it out.

    Good on this guy, his brothers and Gary Sinise for backing him and producing it, hopefully to more exposure than it would have receieved without his name being involved.