'Five Came Back' Documents The Famous Forefathers Of Modern Combat Cameramen


The short Netflix docu-series Five Came Back, based on a book of the same name, takes an in-depth look at the forefathers of combat cameramen, following the directors and cinematographers who gave up flashy Hollywood careers to go to the front lines in the Pacific, Europe, and North Africa to document the carnage of World War II.

Leaping from the cushy chair of Hollywood, John Huston, John Ford, Frank Capra, William Wyler, and George Stevens crafted war films that inspired and informed the American public. But the three-part series doesn't just cover the lasting legacy of the footage itself, but the insane hurdles these directors had to overcome to produce it.

The slate of documentaries produced during this era, notably Battle of Midway, D-Day, Why We Fight, and The Memphis Belle, used cutting-edge technicolor footage and compelling scenes of heroism, triumph, and causalities of war to paint an intense portrait of global conflict. Several of the camera operators died while shooting footage, and the directors themselves suffered wounds ranging from shrapnel to catastrophic hearing loss, and post-traumatic stress.

But although the footage produced by these five directors were technically produced as state-produced propaganda, the filmmakers maintained an honesty that the Pentagon tried to shut down time and again for reasons that ranged from the swearing in the aerial combat of Memphis Belle to the crass nature of the Snafu cartoon series, which featured low-brow humor and sexuality.

From Netflix, a new series on wartime filmmakersNetflix

The Pentagon feared to show the true horrors of war to the American public, worried that raw, gritty storytelling would hurt morale. The racism that African-American troops encountered even while serving in the armed forces was left on the cutting room floor by edicts from superior officers in the U.S. Army Signal Corps signal corps. Five Came Back isn't just about wartime filmmaking, but military censorship — and all the implications that come with it.

Featuring interviews by directors such as Steven Spielberg and Guillermo Del Toro, and narration by Meryl Strep, this compelling look at film-making during World War II, which features restored high definition color footage of troops in action, is a must-watch slice of military history.

SEE ALSO: New Documentary Captures How Hollywood Directors Helped Win World War II


Former Army 1st Lt. Clint Lorance, whom President Donald Trump recently pardoned of his 2013 murder conviction, claims he was nothing more than a pawn whom generals sacrificed for political expediency.

The infantry officer had been sentenced to 19 years in prison for ordering his soldiers to open fire on three unarmed Afghan men in 2012. Two of the men were killed.

During a Monday interview on Fox & Friends, Lorance accused his superiors of betraying him.

"A service member who knows that their commanders love them will go to the gates of hell for their country and knock them down," Lorance said. "I think that's extremely important. Anybody who is not part of the senior Pentagon brass will tell you the same thing."

"I think folks that start putting stars on their collar — anybody that has got to be confirmed by the Senate for a promotion — they are no longer a soldier, they are a politician," he continued. "And so I think they lose some of their values — and they certainly lose a lot of their respect from their subordinates — when they do what they did to me, which was throw me under the bus."

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Members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps march during a parade to commemorate the anniversary of the Iran-Iraq war (1980-88), in Tehran September 22, 2011. (Reuters photo)

Fifteen years after the U.S. military toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein, the Army's massive two-volume study of the Iraq War closed with a sobering assessment of the campaign's outcome: With nearly 3,500 U.S. service members killed in action and trillions of dollars spent, "an emboldened and expansionist Iran appears to be the only victor.

Thanks to roughly 700 pages of newly-publicized secret Iranian intelligence cables, we now have a good idea as to why.

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(Associated Press photo)

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Defense Secretary Mark Esper expressed confidence on Sunday in the U.S. military justice system's ability to hold troops to account, two days after President Donald Trump pardoned two Army officers accused of war crimes in Afghanistan.

Trump also restored the rank of a Navy SEAL platoon commander who was demoted for actions in Iraq.

Asked how he would reassure countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq in the wake of the pardons, Esper said: "We have a very effective military justice system."

"I have great faith in the military justice system," Esper told reporters during a trip to Bangkok, in his first remarks about the issue since Trump issued the pardons.

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U.S. Army Rangers resting in the vicinity of Pointe du Hoc, which they assaulted in support of "Omaha" Beach landings on "D-Day," June 6, 1944. (Public domain)

Editor's Note: This article by Richard Sisk originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

For one veteran who fought through the crossfires of German heavy machine guns in the D-Day landings, receiving a Congressional Gold Medal on behalf of his service and that of his World War II comrades would be "quite meaningful."

Bills have been introduced in the House and Senate to award the Army Rangers of World War II the medal, the highest civilian award bestowed by the United States, along with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

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Senior Airman Marlon Xavier Cruz Gonzalez

An airman at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base was arrested and charged with murder on Sunday after a shooting at a Raleigh night club that killed a 21-year-old man, the Air Force and the Raleigh Police Department said.

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