As I was flying through the sky, instead of being in a blackout as I should be, my mind was a perfectly focused computer: I realized that Conley had stepped directly onto a bomb, I realized he was dead, and I hoped as I landed that my wounds would not be so bad, and that I indeed might even survive. And somehow, I was able to wonder why I was completely free of the shock that 95% of the others told me they experienced. I wondered why I was so locked into the reality of what was happening.
I lived in a four story mansion with a beautiful wrought iron elevator that shot through the middle. I thought it was an extravagance at first, but after just one two story climb up the winding staircase I appreciated it as a necessity. This is what it’s like being rich – an elevator in your house can be a practical necessity, free of all pretenses. It had been a long a ride from the welfare and food stamps of my early grammar school years. Dad was a dead drunk by the second grade, Mom had fled with us from the immigrant concrete caves of New York to the endless sun and sea promise of Los Angeles.
By age 40 I was a Hollywood pimp with a seven figure income and Oscar-winning director Steven Soderbergh as my flagship client. I had made and spent millions. My mansion was in the hills just a click west of the Hollywood sign. As I took a every morning I watched planes land at LAX. They say the best view in L.A. is at a Japanese restaurant called Yamashiro’s. It sat a good distance below me. From Burbank to Long Beach to Santa Monica, my view was much better.
Photo of actual Humvee Pat Dollard was blown up in and badly wounded that night. He was sitting in the back left seat.
Before I landed I remember being horrified at the realization that a young boy like Conley was dead, and that the motherers had planned for one of us to get out, and had buried the bomb to kill whoever did – and that Conley had made a bad decision. I was waiting to die. Time plays by such weird rules when you’re blown up. It’s impossible that so much went through my head, but it did, as I waited to lose pieces of myself, to be opened, to die. I really wanted none of this to happen, to fight through it all if any of it did or if they kept trying to kill me, which is why I was so focused. It must be the only reason. Or maybe because by now, I was a human camera, an anthropomorphized document. Maybe I was just doing my job.
I had about 15 employees, a wife, a daughter, and no one believed I was going to lock horns with Al Qaeda, especially because my only motivations were to keep more American civilians from dying, and to honor those who were already risking their lives for that very reason. Who does such a thing? But go I did, and like Kurtz, when I got back from the first three months, I sold the house, sold the kids, sold the car. Well, not the car. I love my H2. But I got out of the Hollywood agenting game, at a cost of about $10,000,000.00 in future income. And I had no savings. But I had to go back, to finish the work, to finish the story. There was nothing in the civilian world that provided the same sense of purpose. There was never a time when I felt like my life had much of a purpose, other than making money and indulging myself. Except for parenting. But some of us find jobs to be done that demand we not be home. I did.
When I crashed I realized I had all my limbs, although my leg felt clearly broken, and as I crawled forward in the midnight blackness, my throbbing left palm was soaking wet, and I figured it for split open and bleeding. I had to get back into what might be left of the Humvee. We were being ambushed. The air has no armor. A Humvee does. There were likely many more IEDs around me, I heard of all the others shredded, made legless, wiped out, by the IEDs set like little traps to blow on those escaping a struck vehicle. Never get out of the vehicle. I had been blown out – I had to get back in…
Also read an Article Pat wrote for Maxim Magazine
Pat Dollard as told by the Marines he patrolled with and filmed.
By CPL Jeremy Froio
The first time I met Pat, I was on the roof of OP Horea, and there was this guy smoking on the stairs. He hadnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t shaved in a few days, and I thought, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Who the hell is this guy?Ã¢â‚¬Â He is not a marine. So I went to talk to him, and bum a smoke.
From that point on Pat and I were pretty much boys. It didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t take long for me to realize he was not like some of the other reporters that I had dealt with. He wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t even a reporter at all. He was a once rich (before paying his way to Iraq) Hollywood talent agent. I thought, damn why is he here? He had it all. After talking to him, I figured out he was just like me, and my fellow Marines. He was fighting a war with his camera instead of a rifle. The war he was fighting was my war, our war against the media, the biased media who only showed the bad things in Iraq and condemned the President. Well I was there since the beginning and I saw the positive changes in Iraq first hand, and that is what Pat wants to show the country. He wants to show you all how we really feel about being over there and how it really is. None of the fake Hollywood created worthless crap like Over There. That show is not reality; it is as fake as MTVÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Real World.
Pat is a man who believes in something, which is more than can be said about the majority of the country. I was with Pat on more than 5 missions, he never hesitated to go to the front where the action was to get the truth. I would want Pat in an ambush with me any day, because he, like us, would suck it up and wait for the enemy silently and without complaint. That I think says a lot about who Pat is.
I provided overwatch on a patrol that Pat was with when they were catastrophically hit by an IED, inflicting 2 KIAÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s. Pat was thrown from the HMMWV. Yet after that he still did not hesitate to go out on missions. If we lost someone or had a casualty he would turn off the camera until we agreed he could roll film again. He felt the pain of losing a brother to WIA or KIA just like us. Until you feel what that is like you can never fully understand how we feel about being there, and that is why I believe Pat will tell our story truthfully to the best of our ability. Everyone I was close to felt that Pat was one of us. He was willing to risk all, just like us. He was willing to do whatever necessary to accomplish the mission. His mission was to get the most live footage possible in order to show the country our dedication to duty and the daily sacrifice we make on the front lines every day.
Ramadi was many times referred to as the most dangerous city in the world, and the Government Center was the most dangerous part of Ramadi. Pat lived there with us for about 12 days a month, and he visited post Charlie, the most dangerous place at the Government Center. Hence, Pat, like us has been to the most dangerous place on earth, and came back to tell about it.
Pat wants to tell my story, the MarinesÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ story of 3/7 and 3/1. That is what you will get from Pat Dollard, and that is who Pat Dollard is!
By CAPT Iglesias
I met Pat during my second tour in Iraq. I was immediately stunned because here is a “filmmaker” from Hollywood, and he barely knows how to use his camera. (I went to film school and found it odd that he didn’t know too much). Being not only a Marine, but a Marine Officer, I had an innate distrust for media personnel. Not because we were conditioned to distrust the media, but because my Marines and unit were personally betrayed by the media; several times over. We would sit and watch a war on television that was advertised as our war, but was much different in reality. We watched as our bloodshed was wildly exploited as political cannon fodder. After hearing Pat’s story and having him live with me, keeping constant supervision of this possible media-serpent, I realized that he was something of an odd creature. What kind of person gives up his comfortable life to go to combat, and why? Why did this agent (not filmmaker) spend a ton of money on equipment and airfare just to come to Iraq? Why not someplace nice, like Thailand? Why is he intent on “telling the truth” when no one else would? What makes him any different? We have had many “truth tellers” come across our path, with promises of accurate reporting and honesty, only to be stabbed in the back by editorial perversions, liberal bias, and self serving reporters looking for the next big story. All the while operating under the careful care and security of the men they will soon betray.
Like most Marines who volunteer for service, looking to become a part of something larger than themselves; to live a life of sacrifice, fueled by purpose and truth, Pat Dollard himself answered a higher calling. He sacrificed all of his material possessions, and put his life on the line in order to tell the story that no one else wanted to tell. To think, this man could have, and almost did, die just so he could bring a reality to the American people that would otherwise be unknown. We live in a sheltered world, in this media bubble where our “truth” is based merely on what we receive from today’s media. And since we do not control what the media tells us, we do not control the truth; we are victims of it.
So who is Pat Dollard? His is a normal human being like most of us, with good parts and bad. Like every man, he is flawed. But unlike most men, he has a devotion to a set of ideals that he is willing to die for. He is a man who took an introspective look at himself, and the world around him. He didn’t like what he saw and he mustered the courage to change it. At 42 years old, he is no different than that 18 year old kid, heart pure and full of good intentions, who raises his right hand and pledges his life for the good of our nation. He is a man who ventured off into uncertainty and fear, and captured a world that most men would say was best forgotten. For Pat and the Marines, this world of combat will be with them forever; and with his daring efforts, this world can now be rightfully shared with the rest of the world. Simply put Pat Dollard is a patriot. A patriot who entered the fray in search of something greater, and returned with the truth that is reality, however painful, and delivered it to the American people.
Take the time to discover for yourself exactly “who is pat Dollard”. You will undoubtedly find a sincere and honest filmmaker interviewing both Americans and Iraqis alike. You will see our Iraqi counterparts in a new light. View those men, who some of us call brother, husband, father, or son as they unconditionally express themselves to the camera. The candid and revealing footage, along with the many visceral images throughout this film, pay a tribute to Pat’s natural ability as a filmmaker. The technical and creative merit of this film rivals that of seasoned documentary filmmakers.
Bottom line: Prepare to have your opinion of this war changed forever.
By Sergeant Brandon T. Welsh
I had the pleasure of meeting Pat last year. We were conducting operations in Iraq with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit in the Ã¢â‚¬Å“Triangle of Death”, just south of Baghdad. I was a Field radio operator on a Light Armored reconnaissance vehicle. This was right after the invasion of Fallujah, U.S. military commanders had begun turning their attention to other resisting regions of Iraq, where an insurgency in Sunni Muslim-dominated areas had proven to be extremely hostile, possibly endangering nationwide elections scheduled for Jan. 30 2005. The area was considered a hot-spot. So every News network and there mother came to visit. My platoon had seen its share of liberal-ass, winy, scared little reporters. They would come and go like scavengers. Most of them wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t even speak to us unless it was to ask some political question- that was of course staged. They wanted dirt on us. They wanted us to tell them how we didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want to be there. They wanted us to talk about how many civilians we were killing, they wanted us to say we shouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be in Iraq.
They wanted to make us look like the enemy. They were vultures. We would go on raids, searching insurgent hide-outs, and these ass-clowns would stay in the vehicles- filming themselves getting off. On their so called Ã¢â‚¬Å“WhatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s really happening in Iraq,”combat journalism. We would get back on the vehicle and try to explain what had just occurred. These slime balls didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t give 2 s what was really going on. Most of us had already established our own views on reporters. And then along came Pat Dollard. At this point we wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t even look a reporter in the eye, let alone talk to one. But this guy was a lunaticÃ¢â‚¬Â¦. Fucking insane. He wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t leave either. Other reporters would hide in the vehicles, when was going down. Pat would be right behind youÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ like Robert Downey Jr. in natural born killers. He was all about it. The normal reporters slept in the nice tents with AC, got hot showers, and ate real food. Not Pat, he was right there with the grunts. Not showering for weeks, eating MREs, getting attacked by insurgents, and just being plain miserable. He was right there with us.
He was getting the real story, not some fabricated liberal ass clown bull- to fuel the media war. Ask any veteran who has seen Iraq first handÃ¢â‚¬Â¦. They will tell you that what you see on TV is not what really goes on. Pat earned our respect. I got out of the Marine Corps 4 months ago and returned from Iraq last year. I was there for 9 months. Pat was still in Iraq when I got out of the Marines. Pat has been able to witness first hand the truth about Iraq. I truly do hope his documentary comes out, and I could give a if he makes millions on it. If anything, he earned it. To me- and my platoon who were there with Pat- our story is worth so much more. When you’re in your little world driving to get Starbucks, buying Rolling Stone tickets, and getting a new shirt at the Gap, think about the 19 year old kid whoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s getting blown up that very second- whoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s unloading a machine gun while protecting innocent Iraqi civilians, into a crowd of methed-up insurgents- who want to kill him , who goes day in and day out fighting for something that you donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t consider to be right. I was there, and so was Pat dollard with his camera. Maybe some day you will be able to see what itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s really likeÃ¢â‚¬Â¦. just a thought-