True-Life Drama With A-List Cast Honors Heroes Who Gave ‘The Last Full Measure’

The Federalist | 4/11/1966 | Josh Shepherd
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“These men faced life-or-death battles, with bombs going off and someone dropping next to them,” Diane Ladd, today age 84, told me in a phone interview from her home near Los Angeles. “I’ve met these veterans, sharing meals with them and hugging their necks. They told me this film captures the essence of what happened.”

In “The Last Full Measure,” which opens Friday in theaters, the award-winning actress plays the mother of William Pitsenbarger—an enlisted airman and pararescue jumper who volunteered to go into combat during the Vietnam War. On April 11, 1966, when a Huskie helicopter dropped him east of Saigon, 21-year-old Pitsenbarger found a scene much worse than expected.

Time - Operation - Abilene - Battle - Vietnam

“At the time, Operation Abilene was probably the bloodiest battle of the Vietnam War,” said Robinson via phone. Known for his work as producer on Ridley Scott’s “White Squall,” the writer/director has spent 20 years crafting this story as a major motion picture. “Thirty-four Americans were killed in action, and others passed afterwards from their wounds.”

Young medic Pitsenbarger had a chance to escape the combat zone by helicopter but waved it off. He stayed, defending the Army’s 1st Infantry Division before making the ultimate sacrifice. Yet “The Last Full Measure” reveals a larger story. It’s a visceral account of war told in flashback scenes, a fast-paced legal/political thriller, and an emotional tribute to U.S. service members.

Mid-budget - Film - Star - Power - Stan

The mid-budget film has unexpected star power. Sebastian Stan, known as the “Winter Soldier” in a half-dozen Marvel films, portrays a Pentagon lawyer who is approached by Pitsenbarger’s brothers in arms during the mid-1990s. The soldiers include Samuel L. Jackson, Ed Harris, William Hurt, and the late Peter Fonda, in his final role before his death last August.

With the advent of the internet, the comrades had reconnected and realized the man who saved...
(Excerpt) Read more at: The Federalist
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