Beginning this week on the National Geographic channel is the global miniseries event with creator Mikko Alanne telling the story of “The Long Road Home.”
Aguero (E.J. Bonilla) is with the First Cavalry Division at Ft. Hood but also a family man leaving behind wife Amber (Katie Paxton) and two small children to serve overseas. His youngest son Elijah is not taking it well and Aguero explains that he must go with the other soldiers because he is their leader. His son takes it the wrong way but it weighs heavy on his heart.
The next morning the entire company boards their transport to leave for Sadr City in Baghdad, Iraq. Getting ready for transfer of authority Gary Volesky (Michael Kelly) prepares for the change working with Troy Denomy (Jason Ritter). Aguero, Sgt. Eric Bourquin (Jon Beavers), SPC Acevedo (Franklin Silverio), SPC Garza (Jorge Diaz), Sgt. Jackson (Joshua Brennan), Spc Carl Wild (Thomas McDonell) and the company are going through town learning the streets.
Stopping to visit with children along with translator Jassim Al-Lani (Darius Homayoun) they are being watched. Sgt. Miltenberger (Jeremy Sisto) makes it clear to the other soldiers that things aren’t always what they appear and that they need to be prepared for that.
Back home Gina Denomy (Kate Bosworth) begins working with Leann Volesky (Sarah Wayne Callies) inputting care packages together for the soldiers. Leann tells the families that help is only a phone call away and they should be afraid to reach out.
In Iraq, the platoon encounters weapons that are inside a mosque and when confronted, tensions rise. Calmed down by allowing the weapons to stay inside the mosque, the soldiers go on their way. Returning to their mission, the convoy is fired upon and they are trapped in an ambush. Taking fire from machine guns, they are forced to run through roadblocks and into smoke laden streets where seeing is difficult at best.
At Camp War Eagle the wounded are being brought in and Volesky’s story is told. Celebrating Christmas early with his wife Leann and their young son Alex, the couple deals with last-minute life things like changing the oil on the car.
Sadr City has become even more dangerous as the troops begin to search for those shooting at the convoy. This is a firefight that isn’t going to stop soon.
Bonilla as Aguero is the leader of the group and it is clear why. He knows what needs to be done and leads his men. Trying to find positions to protect them all, he waits while Volesky decides on the next course of action.
Kelly as Commander Volesky believes in the mission of returning every soldier under his command home again. As the ambush breaks out, he must bring about the best plan to take more soldiers into for a rescue. Seeing the wounded men pushes him harder to find answers. Beavers as Sgt. Bourquin doesn’t settle fools lightly and is clear on what he must do. The first casualty brings up Bourquin’s suspicions of their interpreter as he finds it difficult to deal with.
Boseworth as Gina is raising a newborn while waiting for word from her husband Troy. When it becomes clear that something is going on in Sadr City, she turns to Leann. Callies as Leann feels she has the trust of the women under her husband’s command and does her best to keep them calm. Karina Ortiz is Lupita Garza who is the first to hear about the attack in Sadr City and wants answers.
This is only the first episode with Into the Unknown airing Tuesday, November 14th at 10 p.m. on National Geographic. It is a series that is to be experienced in it’s telling of the eight-hour battle that happened in Sadr City on April 4, 2004. Told in real time it is a confrontation of innocent Iraqis and trapped soldiers whose families are at home waiting for news.
The film is based on the New York Times bestselling book “The Long Road Home: A Story of War and Family” by Martha Raddatz. She is the chief global affairs correspondent for ABC News and over a 20-year period, she has covered the White House and conflict zones worldwide.
Please consider being a part of this experience from National Geographic. Also, know that the scenes are intense and in that are the stories of these brave men. There is a frustration level in the first episode alone as these soldiers must come to terms with their situation and how to survive it.
Once again National Geographic has brought a compelling story to television. “The Long Road Home” is just that – compelling and heartfelt in so many ways. This miniseries is worthy of discussion after just the first two episodes and I will be watching every single one of them.
In the end – it is a story of men, their families and a battle for survival.