Chinook Down (2013)
10min · Documentary, Short · 11 November 2013
It was a close call with death that inspired War Reporter Alex Quade's film, Chinook Down. In May 2007 - an American Chinook helicopter was shot down by insurgents in southern Afghanistan. The crash killed 7-soldiers. NATO officials suggested the helicopter was brought down by small-arms fire. But classified documents released by WikiLeaks reported the helicopter had been "engaged and struck with a missile," suggesting the Taliban had effectively used a heat-seeking surface-to-air missile - a significant development not publicly disclosed before. Alex Quade, a freelance television reporter, was supposed to be on that helicopter, covering a battalion-size air assault mission involving Special Forces, 1/508th Parachute Infantry Regiment and the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade. But at the last minute, Quade switched helicopter seats with 2-public affairs officers. She survived to report firsthand on the recovery, including a fierce firefight, and interviewed pilots who reported seeing a missile streaking into the sky and striking the Chinook. Over the years, Alex Quade continued to gather material about the attack on the helicopter, interviewing pilots who provided air support to rescue teams on the ground, obtaining previously unreleased Pentagon documents, via FOIA appeals, and collecting video from soldiers and pilots on the scene. The result of her investigation is the award-winning "Chinook Down" -- garnering a national Edward R. Murrow Award, a Society of Professional Journalists Green Eyeshade Award, and American Legion 4th Estate Award. It is Ms. Quade's tribute to the soldiers she was embedded with, and nearly died with, and a look at the effects of PTSD. One soldier who had long suffered from PTSD told Alex, "You helped me come home from the war." Extreme storytelling & silent risk-taking lie at the heart of what Alex Quade does. She is a war reporter and documentary filmmaker, who covers U.S. Special Operations Forces on combat missions. She's the only reporter ever embedded long-term with these secretive units downrange, with no crew or support. She's received 2-Edward R. Murrow Awards, & the Medal Of Honor Society's Excellence in Journalism Award. Quade started her career at the White House; she's worked for CNN, FOX, HLN, CNNI, The New York Times, & The Washington Times. Her films include: "Horse Soldiers of 9/11", narrated by actor Gary Sinise. She serves on the Board of Military Reporters & Editors.
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