APACHE BLUES:

Welcome Home

APACHE BLUES: Welcome Home” is the journey of two filmmakers, born after the conflict in Vietnam, who are searching for the “truth” between what is commonly taught, and what is the reality for the veterans tasked with fighting this unpopular war.

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history

The 1st Squadron of the 9th Cavalry Regiment (1st of the 9th) was the first Air Assault unit in history. The 1st of the 9th was made up of gunships (the Reds), scout helicopters (the Whites) and infantry (the Blues). 

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The Team

Veterans

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LT. General Paul Funk (RET)

  Apache Troop Commander. He went on to become a Lieutenant General (3 Stars) and led the attack that crushed the Iraqi Republican Guard in the first Gulf War.

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LT. Jack Hugele

  Apache Troop Platoon Leader. It was his job to make sure they all made it home at the end of each mission.

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lT. RB Alexander

  RB was the Platoon Leader before Jack Hugele. He retired from the Army but then served in Iraq as an adviser in 2004.

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Lt. Gary QualleY

Lt. Qualley served as the Apache Troop leader in between Lt. Alexander and Lt. Hugele. He was shot several times during combat, suffering serious wounds that required months of hospitalization.   

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CSM Tony Cortez (RET)

  After Vietnam, Tony stayed in the military and went on to fight in Panama, Grenada and the first Gulf War before retiring as a Command Sergeant Major.

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Sgt. Joe Sanchez

Wounded on the same day as Lt. Qualley, Sgt. Sanchez served four months with Apache Troop. In that time, he was in 78 firefights.  

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Sgt. Kregg Jorgenson

  An Army Ranger before joining Apache Troop. He loved walking point and being out in front of the team. A strategy that backfired on March 25th, 1970. 

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SGT. Ed Beal

  A veteran of two tours of duty. He was a Ranger before joining Apache Troop where he served as Assistant Team Leader and Point Man.

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Sgt. Charlie Ochoa

Sgt. Ochoa served as an Army Ranger team leader for seventeen months. 

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sgt. James Braun

  Company Radio Telephone Operator (RTO). The last line of defense, he called in chopper and artillery support on their position.

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Spec. 5 Richard “Doc” Del Valle

  Company medic. He routinely risked his own life to run into fire to help wounded and fallen soldiers.

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Spec 4 Duane Bloor

 Company heavy machine gunner. Duane received a Silver Star for his actions during their battle on March 19th, 1970. They call that “the day they should have died”. In Kregg’s view, if it wasn’t for Specialist Bloor, many of them them would have.

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Crew

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Dave Merlino

(WriterDirector) is a former federal law enforcement officer with a focus in counterterrorism. He left the government in 2011 to cofound Rainbows and Unicorns Entertainment, LLC with his friend and business partner, Dustin Sweet. 

It is Dave’s relationship with Kregg Jorgenson that has been the driving force in bringing this project to life. 

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Dustin Sweet

(WriterDirector) is an animation artist with work in the film, television, and music industries. Starting out in Taos as an award winning painter, he picked up photography in college and transitioned easily into cinematography as his work moved into effects animation.

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Dr. Jack Faris PH.D 

(Producer) Jack Faris holds the Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Chicago. His dissertation was on Basic Combat Training in the Transition from Conscription to the All-Volunteer Force. After a successful academic career, with promotion to associate professor with tenure at Towson University, Jack moved to Seattle and took a position with the city’s largest advertising agency. 

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Charles Schaefer

(Director of Photography)
In love with the process and those he meets along the way, Charles has been documenting stories that renew the spirit and capture the unseen.

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Chris Duerkopp

(Additional Camera) has worked with Dave and Dustin on every project since their beginning and served as Director of Photography on their short HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DAD. 

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Experts

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Randall Wallace

Randall Wallace is an Academy Award nominated writer and director of several Hollywood blockbusters. (WE WERE SOLDIERS, BRAVEHEART, PEARL HARBOR).

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Dr. Roy Clymer Ph.D

Dr. Clymer graduated from the US Naval Academy in 1967 and served four years active duty, including a one year combat deployment to Vietnam.

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NATIONAL VIETNAM WAR MUSEUM


We visited the museum in Mineral Wells, TX to get a better sense of the history of the war. Founded and run by Vietnam Veterans, the museums artifacts and vehicles on display offered us a greater perspective on the war as a whole. We would also like to thank museum treasurer, Jim Messinger, for sitting down for an interview with us.   

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Apache Troop 1/9
Reenactment Society

The Apache Troop 1/9 Reenactment Society invited us to their reenactment weekend at the Tigerland Training Ground (where many Vietnam veterans went through training) in Louisiana.

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apache blues:

welcome home

The documentary on this page is a fiscally sponsored project of the International Documentary Association (IDA),
a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Contributions are payable to the IDA and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.
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