U.S. Army chaplain Capt. Justin Roberts documents yearlong deployment to one of the most dangerous provinces in Afghanistan in new film
In 2010, Army Capt. Justin Roberts deployed to Afghanistan’s Kunar Province and served as chaplain with the renowned “No Slack” battalion of the 101st Airborne. He documented the unit’s experiences, ultimately releasing a feature-length documentary, “No Greater Love,” about the war and the struggle when soldiers return home.
Roberts wasn’t content letting the soldiers he served come to him at the comparably safer confines of the base. He ventured outside the wire to be with his men to better understand their experiences firsthand, rather than just be counsel to them in their darkest moments. By nature of that act alone, he became one with his men.
“I absolutely wanted to serve these guys, wherever they’re at—I wanted to go and I wanted to be their chaplain,” Roberts said. “The most important issue we need to face as we’re coming home is the issue of suicide, depression, [post-traumatic stress] and these other issues that are taking soldiers’ lives. The No. 1 killer of soldiers isn’t combat; it’s suicide.”
Of the 800 soldiers in the battalion, 18 were killed in action and 200 Purple Heart Medals were awarded.
“No Slack’s losses began before the deployment even began,” said Roberts. “On my second day in that unit, we had our first suicide. A week later, we had another. A couple of months later, another one, and then a few months later, another one. Every week there was a suicidal ideation, gesture or attempt.”
“Justin is shedding light on issues that our brave military men and women have known all too well over recent years, and something very close to our hearts here at DAV,” said National Headquarters Executive Director Barry Jesinoski.
The film’s website features a “Give” tab to inform the public of DAV’s mission, connect veterans with assistance and give visitors an opportunity to support the cause. Visitors can also enter their ZIP code to locate DAV’s nearest service location.
“It means a lot to us to be involved in Justin’s efforts, and it will allow us to continue to confront the issues facing our nation’s veterans and their families,” Jesinoski said.
“DAV is a critical advocate for our warriors who have made some of the greatest sacrifices for our nation,” Roberts said. “The reason I stand for DAV is because they have stood for some of my soldiers, who were wounded on the battlefield, and fought to get them the kind of care they needed when they came home.”
For more information about the film, visit nogreaterlovemovie.com.