Kelsey Grammer to Narrate UNTIL THEY ARE HOME, Premiering 5/28
Kelsey Grammer narrates a new documentary from Filmmaker Steven C. Barber UNTIL THEY ARE HOME - chronicling the search for The Remains of missing U.S. Marines of World War II killed in the Battle of Tarawa in November of 1943. Featuring country music superstar Clint Black's original song "She Won't Let Go," the film premieres on Memorial Day, May 28, 2012 at 6 p.m. at the Directors Guild of America Theater Complex (7920 Sunset Blvd.) in Los Angeles.
Directed by Barber, produced by Matthew Hausle and Tamara Henry and executive produced by Tim Shelton, "Until They Are Home" brings to light the extraordinary dedication of the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) team members, largely unsung heroes who, until now, have been unrecognized while working in The Shadows. These young men and women returned in 2010 to the site of one of the most horrific battles of World War II in order to bring home fallen military heroes. Their efforts on the island of Tarawa have provided some closure after 69 years, recovering The Remains of a few U.S. servicemen and flying those remains back to American soil.
The Pentagon originally activated the JPAC on Oct. 1, 2003, to research and recover The Remains of more than 83,000 unaccounted-for Americans from foreign wars in order to support the Department of Defense's personnel accounting efforts. The command is located on the island of Oahu in Hawaii and identifies an average of six missing servicemen each month while utilizing the largest and most diverse forensic skeletal laboratory in the world. JPAC has more than a dozen teams that travel the globe on recovery missions, and "Until They Are Home" is the story of one of those missions.
Sequel To Award-Winner "Until They Are Home" is the much awaited sequel to the award-winning "Return To Tarawa: The Leon Cooper Story," narrated by Academy Award®-nominee Ed Harris, which won "Best Documentary" honors at the Staten Island Film Festival and was nominated for "Best Documentary" at the Milan International Film Festival.
Cooper, 93, is one of the few remaining survivors of the battle of "Bloody Tarawa" and this first film tells the story of Cooper's February 2008 return to the battlefield where he bravely fought 65 years earlier. Cooper was a young U.S. Navy commander of a group of Higgins landing crafts that ferried U.S. 2nd Marine Division troops to Red Beach during the November 1943 invasion. The battle was the U.S. military's first major amphibious assault on Tarawa, a fortified Japanese stronghold, located in a series of coral reef atolls in the Pacific's Gilbert island group. It is approximately 2,500 miles southwest of the Hawaiian islands and currently within the Republic of Kiribati.
During Cooper's stirring 2008 return visit to Tarawa, he was able to confirm firsthand many disturbing conditions about that site where The Remains of several hundred Americans still lie neglected and forgotten on the island. In addition, Cooper learned there is still live ammunition scattered everywhere on the densely populated island, and that huge piles of garbage lie on Red Beach, the hallowed ground where hundreds of Americans were killed and wounded by Japanese gunfire.
Deeply disturbed by what he saw while back on the island, Cooper dedicated his life to garner local support for his restoration plan to clean up the beach and the island, including the building of a modern incineration facility to relieve the island's issues of refuse disposal. He also targeted U.S. governmental support to repatriate The Remains of his fallen comrades while it is still possible.
Through Cooper's efforts and the impact of his story in "Return To Tarawa," he gained the attention of Representative Henry A. Waxman, of California's 30th Congressional District, California Senator Dianne Feinstein, and ultimately Representative Dan Lipinski, of Illinois' Third Congressional District, who got involved in Cooper's cause. They were instrumental in presenting the issues to Congress in May and June of 2009, and having legislation written for a Congressional mandate to fund a JPAC mission to recover U.S. MIA remains. The details of that important 2010 JPAC mission to Tarawa are documented in the sequel "Until They Are Home."