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Military 'Stars' Thrilled By Role in New DoD Documentary

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 30, 2006 – Eleven servicemembers featured in a new documentary about opportunities in the military said they were overwhelmed by its message and honored to represent the men and women of the armed forces.

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Among 11 servicemembers featured in a new DoD documentary, "Today's Military: Extraordinary People; Extraordinary Opportunities," are (from left) Navy Reserve Lt. j.g. Fernando Rivero, Coast Guard Reserve Petty Officer 2nd Class Trish Carroll, Marine Capt. Vernice Armour, Air Force Master Sgt. John Holsonback and Marine Staff Sgt. Stephen Giove. Photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Chad McNeeley, USN

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

The one-hour documentary, "Today's Military: Extraordinary People; Extraordinary Opportunities," provides a glimpse into the lives of active- and reserve-component members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.

Troops featured in the film were selected from 2,600 nominations, based on their unusual careers and their common drive to do something exceptional with their lives, defense officials said.

The documentary was launched today and will be distributed widely to help educate the American public, particularly adults who influence young people's decisions regarding military service, about opportunities it offers.

The 11 participants got their first look at the new documentary during a Jan. 26 screening at the Pentagon.

Marine Staff Sgt. Stephen Giove, placement director and conductor for the Marine Corps Music Program at Parris Island, S.C., said he was floored by the documentary's impact. "If I was to say my reaction in a word, it would be, 'Wow!'" he exclaimed.

Giove called it an honor to be among "these amazing men and women in uniform" featured in the documentary. "This is wonderful," he said. "It's an honor. I'm beside myself."

"Very inspiring," Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class William Armstrong said of the film. "It shows that there's stuff you can do in the military that you just can't do in the civilian community," he said.

And while offering unique opportunities, the military also entrusts its members with unparalleled responsibilities, Armstrong said. He cited himself as an example, driving his own ship as a surfman instructor. "That's huge," he said.

Army Sgt. Chet Stugus, a medical animal-care specialist for military working dogs at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, called the documentary "very overwhelming" and said he was impressed by how professionally it was done.

Stugus said he's hopeful the documentary will help open people's eyes to the truth about military service and help dispel misconceptions he said many people have. "People don't know that we have a normal life. They think we live in a hole or tent all day," he said. "But it's not that way. We're real people with real lives."

Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Marcus Dingle, an aviation survival instructor, said even he gained new insights into the military as he watched the documentary. "As I watched it, I was thinking, 'Wow! These people have cool jobs!" he said.

The documentary demonstrates that military service offers a huge array of careers beyond what many people think of, Dingle said. "It made me proud to see the diversity and the fact that you can have these kinds of jobs and opportunities," he said.

In 11 individual segments, the servicemembers featured in the documentary provide a candid look at their jobs, the challenges and gratifications they face and the unique opportunities they're offered in the military.

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