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6 movie scenes that show what military families go through

Military movies traditionally focus the lens on the troops fighting overseas while skipping the story of the families at home.


Here are 6 movie scenes that remind viewers how hard the lives of military spouses and children can be:

1. "We Were Soldiers" - Notification of next of kin

Families of deployed service members live with the dread of a casualty notification officer showing up. Families from the Vietnam War and earlier conflicts had the same fear, but it was embodied in taxi drivers who delivered dreaded telegrams. In "We Were Soldiers," Julia Moore almost loses it when a cabbie walks to her door. Luckily he's not there for her, just directions to another house.

The trauma for real-world families can be visceral. "I've picked family members off the floor," Army chaplain Capt. Gregory J. Broderick told the Army News Service. "I've sat and held them as they've rocked and cried. People have been so upset they can't change their baby's diaper."

2. "A War" - Family members are never the only priority

Service members have to juggle the needs of the nation with the needs of their family. In this clip from the Oscar-nominated "A War," the commander's wife argues for her husband to say whatever it takes to avoid jail time after an errant airstrike. For Claus Pederson, the commander, the necessity of supporting his family's needs has to be balanced with the needs of his troops.

3. "American Sniper" - The family never knows when the service member is safe, except when they know they aren't

Troops usually know whether the current danger level is high or low. They get updated on local threats, know when they're safe behind walls or in the most dangerous part of the battlefield, and are watching out for enemies.

For family members, the threat is always real and they never know if their soldier is in relative safety or outside the wire. The only exception is when they're actively speaking to their loved one, in which case every background noise is terrifying.

4. "The Hurt Locker" - The soldier who comes home may not be the one who left

"Hurt Locker" was Oscar gold but hated-on by vets (for good reason). But it got some parts of the military experience right. In this scene, explosive ordnance disposal technician William James is playing with his son while talking through his own scars from deployment. The family will often want to help, but troops may want to talk only rarely or not at all.

For James, the best course of action was apparently to talk to the only family member who can't possibly understand.

5. "American Sniper" - PTSD can be a tough problem for military families

While most movies overplay the symptoms of PTSD, "American Sniper" earned a lot of credit for portraying a vet afflicted by the disorder as mostly just stuck in their own thoughts, rather than showing them as a caricature of violence.

American Sniper had other good scenes about vets struggling with normal relations at home, including this one from a barbecue and the scene in a mechanic's shop.

6. "Independence Day" - Military families face national crises without a head of household

Photo: YouTube/TrailersPlaygroundHD

While "Independence Day" is hardly a gritty war movie, it contains one scene that reflects a dark reality for military families. When Will Smith's Capt. Steven Hiller learns that aliens have arrived on earth, he immediately heads to base to get ready for a fight.

When the U.S. was attacked on 9/11, most Americans were reeling from the surprise attack and military families had to recover while their loved ones went to bases to get ready for deployment. President George W. Bush even said in his speech for all Americans with a uniform to get it ready.

How the 82d Airborne sent Putin a message at Saber Strike

The 82nd Airborne Division has a long and storied history. It also has a very significant mission for the United States: It's America's fire brigade — sent to a hot spots around the world to draw a line in the sand whenever needed. It did just that in 1990, at the start of Operation Desert Shield, but a lot of time has passed since then.

During Saber Strike 2018, an international exercise held annually in partnership with the Baltic States and Poland to rehearse the deployment of troops in defense of those nations, the 82nd Airborne Division was used to send a pointed reminder. The world needed to know that this division remains ready to act.

With the help of nine U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III transport planes, roughly 700 paratroopers from the famed division, as well as some from the British Army's Parachute Regiment, dropped into Latvia, simulating a no-notice deployment.

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This Microsoft training fast tracks veterans into sweet tech careers

Solaire Brown (formerly Sanderson) was a happy, gung-ho Marine sergeant deployed in Afghanistan when she realized her military career was about to change. She was tasked with finding the right fit for her post-military life – and she knew she wanted to be prepared.

Injuries sustained during mine-resistant vehicle training had led to surgeries and functional recovery and it became clear Brown would no longer be able to operate at the level she expected of herself as a Marine.

Like many of the 200,000 service members exiting the military each year, Brown knew her military training could make her a valuable asset as an employee, but she was unsure of how her skills might specifically translate to employment in the civilian world.

Enter Microsoft Software & Systems Academy (MSSA), a program Microsoft started in 2013 to provide transitioning service members and veterans with critical career skills required for today's growing technology industry.

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Chinese missiles, deployed to the South China Sea despite previous promises from Beijing not to militarize the islands, fired at drones flying overhead to simulate combat, the South China Morning Post reported.

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Which workouts burn the most calories in the least time?

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Why Owen from 'Jurassic World' is one of the most accurate movie vets

Hollywood seems to have a skewed idea of veterans who return to the civilian world. They're either over-the-top action junkies, like John Rambo (in movies outside of First Blood), or they're a broken-down husk of who they once were, like, well, basically any character in any drama set after a war's end.

In real life, veterans are cut from the same cloth as everyone else. You've got your outstanding, Captain America-types, your aggressive Punisher-types, and just about everyone in between. But all of the characteristics of your everyday veteran can be seen clearly in Chris Pratt's character, Owen Grady, in 2015's Jurassic World.

Grady's service is barely hinted at in the movie. In the scene where Owen and Claire are trying to find her nephews, Claire implies that Owen could, simply, just track them down by their scent or footprints. Owen quickly (and hilariously) responds with, "I was with the Navy, not the Navajo."

This one line gives a whole new meaning to everything that he does throughout the film.

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Watch this heart-stopping video of an F-16's low takeoff, high-G turn

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Piloted by Maj. John "Rain" Waters, an operational F-16 pilot assigned to the 20th Operations Group, Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina and the United States Air Force F-16 Viper Demonstration Team commander, the F-16 performs an aerobatic display whose aim is to demonstrate demonstrate the unique capabilities by one of the Air Force's premier multi-role fighters, the F-16 Fighting Falcon, better known as "Viper" in the pilot community.

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