Wow! The GI Film Festival 2011 Begins!

© Vithaya Phongsavan

The wolfdogfilms  team is in Kokopellie Arizona, we will fly  back to Chicago today to get the final copy of the film “The Line of Departure” then head to Washington DC for the screening. We will be in DC May 8th to the 15th, please feel free to join us at the 2011 GI Film Festival.  You can be my VIP guest!

Thank you for all your support. It has been a great year so far for us and for the men and women in uniform and America’s Veterans. After ten years plus, the American pubic will finally get to see the hard work of our servicemen and women in uniform.  It has been a difficult long road for us in uniform and our family. We are very appreciative of our military families, they are our backbone as we go forward to serve our nation.

It has been also hard for our families because they know that they are second in our life.  As service members,  we know Country is always first.  It has always been difficult for me personally as a Sergeant of Marines  to explain to my family and civilian friends about my services. Filmmaking has been an easy way to let my family and friends experience what our service members are doing.

I have been fortunate enough to have a mother who hail from Sierra Leone, West Africa. She currently resides in Chicago, Illinois and she is very big on serving country and community.  My younger brother Mohamed K. Tamba is a veteran of the United States Army and so is my third younger sister Lousia Y. Tamba and will be graduating from College this May.  My second to the last sister  Rosemarie K. Tamba who hailed from Liberia West Africa before she became an American citizen is currently deployed in Kuwait. She is serving in the United states Air Force.   My Youngest sister Nedyiah who is the baby, does not know if she might choose her own United States branch of service in the future.  She is currently thirteen years old and she will start high school next year.

Nedyiah was able to go on a school road trip at our national capital in Washington DC.  She saw the changing of the guard at Arlington National cemetery.  She was told about the story of the men and women whose final resting place is at the Arlington cemetery.  She called me after the classes in Washington DC.  I pick up the phone I saw her phone number and asked her how was the field trip; she said it was going great.  She is using the video camera to document all her experience.

My sister told me out of the blue she knows exactly where she wanted me to be buried. I was a little shock because a thirteen year old don’t normally talk about death.   I was quiet on the end of the line for a moment thinking of my own mortality.  She went on with excitement in her voice ” I want you to be buried at the Arlington National cemetary, and I saw the changing of the guard at the tomb of the unknown soldier”.  I told her that I do not think I rate such an honor, besides I still have a lot of things to do in this world.   I don’t think dying is one of them right now, then she reply ‘but can you think about it, that is what I want for you, as your youngest sister.’ I  told her thank you very much for her love, concern and support, I have lost track of how many time I have left her and my family for another deployment.  I told her thank you for been a wonderful sister and understanding.  The Tamba household  is  a proud military family.

On a second note, I am very delighted that the biggest and only military film festival, THE GI FILM FESTIVAL  starts in two days.  It will start May 9th and ends the 15th 2011.  My family, other military families and our troops appreciates the GI Film Festivals for bringing  our Military sacrifices and stories  on the festival big screens at Washington DC.  The festival is five years old, but it is truly the only festival that is for our troops and the rest of the American public who wants to know the life and hard work of being a serviceman and woman.

I am an infantry rifleman with four tours of duty and will soon be on my fifth soon.  I know the beating my job takes on my body,the fears, dying, losing a limb,  the springs ankle, backache, knees pain, broken bones, foot blisters, all that it takes been an infantry man, a grunt  and the most important of all been apart from my loving family.  It is a price I am eagerly willing to pay because I can never repay what America has given my family and I.

The GI Film Festival is a place to go if you want to hear some of the stories of our troops for all you supporters.  You will not see such stories in our countless America movie theaters, who knows maybe someday. I remain hopefully. I am very proud that I will be visiting the GI Film Festival for the first time this year May 9th – 15th  2011.  I want to tell the GI Founders Brandon Millet and Laura Law  and the GI Film Festival Organizers thank you very much for doing  such a great job.  It is always dangerous to take the road less travel, and you two make me proud as a serviceman.  America I hope to see you all at the GI Film Festival.  My friends that have attended it in the past say it is an experience of a life time.  I am excited that I will be in Washington DC this year for the GI Film Festival.

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