Wednesday, October 01, 2014

"Fort Bliss": a single mom Army medic faces estrangement from her little son over deployments

Fort Bliss” is in fact a major Army installation near El Paso, TX.  When I was stationed at the Pentagon in 1968 (soon to be transferred mysteriously) the colonel in charge of my work station took a command of Basic at Fort Bliss.
The movie by Claudia Myers poses moral questions about the selection and deployment of military personnel, especially women.  As the film opens, medical corpsman and Sp4 Maggie Swann (Michelle Monaghan) is performing ad hoc battlefield surgery in Afghanistan, removing a live grenade round from a wounded man’s belly.  He screams, but he lives. 

When she returns home, she find her five-year old son (conceived out of wedlock) estranged (Oakes Fegley) estranged from her.  Nevertheless, she makes a new boyfriend, a Hispanic-American auto mechanic.  As she negotiates her relationship with her son, she learns she will be deployed again, having been promoted to platoon sergeant.  She pleads with CPT Garver (Freddy Rodriquez) for some kind of special consideration because she’s a single mom.  But the Army has to go “equal risk” alonm with equal opportunity.  Indeed, if it did not, childless soldiers would intentionally be placed at greater “risk”.
The film is available from Amazon Instant Play, but also plays this week at the West End in Washington DC.

The official site is here (Phase 4).  The film was screened at the GI Film Festival. 

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