USO & TriWest Screen “Brothers at War” at Smithsonian

It was a packed house on Wednesday night for the screening of the documentary film Brothers at War in the Baird Auditorium at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.  Director Jake Rademacher and Executive Producer David Scantling were on hand to give guests a first-hand account of the story behind the film.

Brothers at War tells the story of the Rademacher family and how the experience of two of the brothers would forever change all of them.  Jake states in the film that he had to make Brothers at War because “I began to feel a distance for the first time between myself and my two brothers. I want to know what’s going on in Iraq because I have two brothers serving there. These guys are putting their lives on the line. Why are they doing that? I need to know.”

His brothers – Isaac and Joe – are the subjects of this fascinating journey from Syria to Iraq to Fort Bragg, and Jake learns firsthand the deep camaraderie formed by these men at war.  In one scene, Isaac, a Captain in the US Army, explained “These guys take you on as a brother.”

Also in attendance last night was Jake’s father, Dr. Dennis Rademacher, who shared on film that “It’s kind of a moving thing that one brother thinks enough of his other brothers to try to make a film about what they’re doing, and to try to understand sacrifice, commitment, something greater than themselves.”

The documentary has been an undeniable succes, winning in the Feature Documentary category at the  2008 G.I. Film Festival and premiering to a standing-room-only crowd of cadets at West Point.  Last night’s screening was co-sponsored by TriWest Healthcare Alliance and the USO, in coordination with the Smithsonian.  We hope you take a moment to watch the film’s trailer above and view the photos below.

Cindy McCain and David J. McIntyre, Jr. - the President & CEO of TriWest Healthcare Alliance - chat with a guest before the screening. (USO Photo by Em Hall)

Senator John McCain chats with Brothers at War director Jake Rademacher (c) and a guest during the reception for the film. (USO Photo by Em Hall)

Brent D. Glass - Director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History - addresses the audience in Flag Hall. (USO Photo by Em Hall)

Calling All Front-Line Bards and Homefront Minstrels

For the bards of the front lines and the word minstrels on the home front, ON PATROL, the magazine of the USO, is seeking combat poetry that captures a service member’s experience both overseas and stateside for an upcoming article. ON PATROL also may include it in its 300,000-circulation magazine!

There are no length or form restrictions, but the work must be original, the author must hold the copyright, and authors grant the USO and ON PATROL the right to reprint in either a print or online format.

Please send submissions to by March 30. Include full name, rank and unit number [if applicable] and contact information. Please use the world “combat poetry” in the subject line.

We look forward to being inspired, and so offer a bit of inspiration to get the creative thoughts flowing.

Author Unknown

A woman for all seasons
A woman for today.
She grows to meet the challenges
And grows along the way.
Her life is not an easy one
With many loads to bear.
But she proudly serves her husband
And the uniform he wears.

Although she didn’t take the oath
To preserve democracy
She’s there each day on the home front
To keep our country free.
She’s foreign-born or a country girl,
Diversity you will find.
But to be an army wife
It takes a special kind.
She’s one who keeps on going
Through adversity and pain.
She’s the steady, strong foundation
When nothing stays the same.

She’s the one who sheds a tear
As Old Glory passes by,
But couldn’t give a answer
If you were to ask her why.
Throughout the years, she marches on
Through tears and joy and strife.
She’s America’s unsung hero-
She’s a military wife.