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Cherry Pop

'Forgotten Heroes: The Robert Hartsock Story'
(DVD + Digital / NR / 2019 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: 'Forgotten Heroes: The Robert Hartsock Story' interweaves the story of Medal of Honor recipient Robert Hartsock with an overview of dog handlers in the Vietnam War.

This inspirational and worthwhile documentary carefully explains the major issues that America faced during this generally unpopular war.

Despite a few negative elements related to the world of war, Robert Hartsock's story is a shining example of courage and resolve in the face of certain defeat.

DVD Verdict: Military working dogs and their handlers save lives on the battlefield and continue to do so today.

In Vietnam alone, 10,000 American lives are credited with having been saved by the actions of over 4,000 dogs and their handlers. Yet their service and sacrifices are not well known.

Neither is the fact that almost none of the dogs came home. Lesser still is that on February 23, 1969, US Army Staff Sergeant Robert Hartsock saved his lieutenant, his base, every dog on that base, and altered the course of the war.

In so doing, he became the first and only military working dog handler in the history of the United States to ever receive the Medal of Honor.

Yet almost no one knows this. SSgt Robert Hartsock has become a forgotten hero. It’s time to tell the story and so here within these captivating and eye opening 70 minutes of 'Forgotten Heroes: The Robert Hartsock Story' that story is indeed brought to the fore.

Archived news footage, portions of presidential speeches and film footage from the government archives are interwoven with the personal details of Robert Hartsock’s life from his childhood through his time of service in the army as a Staff Sergeant with his dog, Duke.

Key interviews include Rodger Forbes, a fellow dog handler and best friend of “Bob” as Robert was called by everyone; Larry Hughes, the 2nd Lieutenant who led the 25th Infantry Division; and, Lamar Smith, a veterinary tech who cared for the war dogs.

Several other interviews add key information to round out the movie’s overall narrative.

The movie credits include archived film from the White House Medal of Honor ceremony where President Richard Nixon presented the award to Staff Sergeant Robert Hartsock’s family. Also, there is a photo with President Richard Nixon and Dion Hartsock, the son of Robert Hartsock.

The story of 'Forgotten Heroes' is told in a heartfelt and thoughtful manner and where the opening credit montage is truly well created.

There are applicable Bible verses included throughout the documentary along with some subpar technical details that were subtly noticeable; such as ambient noise during an interview and a few rough transitions.

Also included are a couple of offensive words, scenes of war violence and references to alcohol and tobacco consumption, but it is a documentary about life spent in Hell (so we can definitely forgive them these cinematic lapses). This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.