Armed with nothing but a camera, Army chaplain Justin Roberts deployed to the Kunar Province in Afghanistan with the 327th Infantry Regiment 2nd Battalion, called "No Slack" Company-part of the famed 101st Airborne-in 2010. Even though making a film wasn't exactly his initial intention, Roberts would go on to document No Slack's time in Afghanistan as they fought for control within the Kunar Province. The culmination of Roberts' video documentation, No Greater Love-as the first documentary to be filmed by an active duty soldier-depicts the harrowing actions of No Slack as they struggle to not only survive the war, but to reintegrate themselves back into civilian life when they return home.
As servicemembers are back on friendly soil, often they have to deal with a host of physical injuries as well as mental ones, often buried, unseen by those around them. These mental distressors come in many forms; PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) are the two most common. These afflictions can lead to depression and mood swings-described as deep, dark places by the film's featured veterans-and affect the soldier, as well as their friends, family and even colleagues.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that between 20 and 22 servicemembers-active duty and retired-commit suicide every day. Roberts' intriguing documentary acts not only as a memorial to those who have died in the line of duty and by their own hand-many of whom he personally knew and served with-but also as a platform to educate all of us about the often-forgotten plight and silent suffering of military veterans.
No Greater Love opens in Jacksonville at Regency AMC Theater (first show is 11:35 a.m.) on Friday, Nov. 10, on the eve of Veterans Day. There are screenings daily through Thursday, Nov. 16.
Learn more about the film and watch a trailer here.