Arrowhead Films To Document the Story of Dustoff
FOR WIDE RELEASE, June 5, 2011
CONTACT: Cheryl Fries, 512-657-7880
Austin, Texas: Arrowhead Films of Austin today announced production has begun on its latest documentary, a one-hour feature which will tell the story of Army helicopter medical evacuation for the U.S. Army Medical Department (AMEDD) Center for History and Heritage. The film will document the history and legacy of the life-saving role of “Dustoff” from the its origins to the present.
The film will be directed by Patrick Fries, whose documentary films about American military service have won numerous awards in both the film industry and the veteran community. Fries’ feature In the Shadow of The Blade, produced with his wife and business partner Cheryl, first introduced him to the Dustoff story. In the Shadow of the Blade follows a combat UH-1 “Huey” helicopter across America to tell the stories of Vietnam veterans. Army medical evacuation was one of the Huey’s most important roles during the Vietnam War. The mission takes its name from the call sign used by the crews in Vietnam.
Dustoff dates back to the Korean War and was more fully developed during the Vietnam War, resulting in an unprecedented survival rate for combat injured troops. Today, an American marine or soldier wounded in action has a 95% chance of surviving, due in large part to the rapid response of highly trained helicopter medical evacuation crews. Dustoff helicopters fly unarmed, and crews save the lives of civilians and enemy forces as well as American and coalition troops.
Fries will film current Dustoff crews at work in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, including the unit commanded by Major Patrick Zenk, whose father Bruce served in the original Vietnam War Dustoff unit and inspired his son to follow in his footsteps. The film will explore the key roles of Dustoff medics and crew chiefs in saving lives, and the importance of the mission to combat infantry troops who know that if they are wounded in action, Dustoff will come for them, a heroic legacy established during the Vietnam War.
“Arrowhead Films has a proven history of telling the story of the American warrior, and extensive knowledge of the history, mission and people of Dustoff. The story is in good hands,” said Colonel Dan Gower (US Army, RET), Executive Director of the Dustoff Assocation. Gower is assisting as a technical advisor on the production.
The Dustoff documentary will be the newest addition to Arrowhead Films’ military history library. In the Shadow of the Blade won the Worldfest International Film Festival and a Vietnam Veterans of America President’s Award. The aircraft and clips from the film are part of the Smithsonian Museum of American History’s “Price of Freedom: Americans At War” exhibit. Telly Award winner An Ocean Away: The Donald Matocha Story, produced for Discovery, documents the return of a U.S. Marine to American soil 30 years after the war. A Touch of Home: The Vietnam War’s Red Cross Girls documents the combat zone service of young women who served as Vietnam Donut Dollies. It won the GI Film Festival.