Journalist Harry Sanna was embedded with the C Company Dustoff, Mountain Division, 3-10 GSAB medevac unit at FOB Shank in Logar Province, Afghanistan. Harry intensively filmed the time he spent living with the unit, heading out on missions and befriending the medics and pilots in the process.
Between 2014 and 2016, Harry reconnected with the unit in their hometowns, interviewing them and learning about how the mission affected them as they returned to civilian life.
This is their story.
Harry Sanna is a documentary filmmaker, cinematographer and cross-media journalist. His work has taken him from Australia to India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Pakistan, Haiti, Afghanistan, Jordan and the United States.
Between 2009 and 2011, Sanna was in Afghanistan working as an embedded journalist visiting bases in the East and South of the country. In early 2011, Harry was embedded with the C Company Dustoff, Mountain Division, 3-10 GSAB medevac unit at FOB Shank in Logar Province, Afghanistan.
Harry’s work has been featured in publications including The New York Times, The National, The Sydney Morning Herald, GlobalPost, Motherland and the Huffington Post. His work from Afghanistan has also appeared on CBS and PBS.
This film’s story began when I was working as an embedded Australian journalist in Afghanistan in 2011 and met, documented and lived with the members of the helicopter medevac unit featured in the film. I have continued documenting their lives over the last six years, updating their stories as they returned home to locations all across America and periodically in the following years. All of the subjects of the film have been affected by what they (we) saw in Afghanistan.
For me, the purpose of the film was always to communicate the intensity of the medevac role and to breathe some human complexity back into our go-to concept of a veteran and the challenges that veterans face. The very different men and women from the medevac missions – from family types to fierce individuals, unwavering cynics, flippant jokers and staunch faithfuls – are now spread right across America from New York to Louisiana, Texas, Idaho, Washington, Alabama, and California. They’re pretty much everywhere. Whether still on military bases or in civilian life, they’ve all forged lives beyond who they were on that helicopter. And yet, in some ways, they are all still there.
My hope, with Trauma is to simply highlight a very small but real aspect of that war, and what it is like now for those individuals.
– Harry Sanna
“We screened Trauma last night in Sioux City, IA. It was quite a moving experience. Almost all of the Veteran Service Organizations had representatives who attended. There were a lot of Veterans from Vietnam, Desert Storm and Afghanistan in attendance and a lot of tears, but it reminded us of how fortunate we are. It meant a lot to everyone, thank you.”
- Sarah Petersen, Support Siouxland Soldiers
We’ve partnered with Tugg.com, a web-platform that enables individuals, groups, and organizations to set up personalized screenings of Trauma in theaters and community venues across the country. This is a fantastic opportunity to experience first hand the incredible bravery of the men and women who work on the front lines, keeping our soldiers safe. Not many can truly understand what these people experience every day and why their experience has had such a profound impact on their lives. This film provides unique and powerful insights on PTSD and its effects on veterans and their communities. To spark change in your area, events can be used as fundraisers and can include audience discussions. There are two ways to host a screening: In a Local Theater or in a Community Center or Campus.
Tugg’s Promoter Walkthrough will guide you through the process of hosting a screening
and getting the most out of your event!
The process is simple: