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Posted May 8, 2014

Coming Back with Wes Moore

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Three-Part Documentary Tells Personal Stories of Iraq and Afghanistan
Veterans as They Struggle to Reintegrate Into Society

Tuesday nights at 7:00pm (May 13, 20 & 27)

Host Wes Moore Visits Alabama May 19-20

What is it like to be a U.S. soldier returning home from war? What is going through their minds? How do they reintegrate into society, establish new identities, and find a new mission?

COMING BACK WITH WES MOORE answers these and many other questions — providing a window into the lives of the brave men and women who have served our country during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The three-part series premieres Tuesday, May 13 at 7:00pm on Alabama Public Television and continues on Tuesdays, May 20 and 27.

“We all have integration challenges,” says Wes Moore, the show’s executive producer, who is also an Army combat veteran and best-selling author. “We can’t expect people to go into a combat zone on Friday and be back in their hometown on Saturday and for everything to be smooth.”

Viewers will accompany Moore as he visits Bonnie Collins, the mother of Brian Collins, one of Moore’s oldest friends and a fellow officer. After getting married and beginning a new career, Collins abruptly took his own life. This tragedy motivated Moore to learn more about why some veterans can move forward with their lives, while others cannot.

Episode one, “Coming Back” introduces viewers to veterans as they return home from the war. More than 2.6 million soldiers have served in Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11. Episode two, “Fitting In,” (May 20) explores the concept of identity — how it’s first altered during de­ployment and again when a veteran returns home. “Moving Forward,” (May 27) the final episode, examines the veterans’ drive to find a new mission and continue making a contribution here at home.

You’ll meet Bobby Henline of San Antonio, Texas. A veteran of Desert Storm by age 19, he re-enlisted in the Army and deployed to Iraq three times. In 2007, Henline’s Humvee was hit by a roadside bomb and more than 38 percent of his body was burned. He has had more than 40 surgeries. Henline is now working to heal himself and others through his stand-up comedy and motivational speaking.

You’ll also learn more about the inspirational story of Army National Guard Lieuten­ant Colonel and Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth of Schaumburg, IL. In 2004, Duckworth was deployed to Iraq as a Blackhawk helicopter pilot, and was one of the first Army women to fly combat missions during Operation Iraqi Freedom. When her helicopter was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade, Duckworth lost her legs and partial use of her right arm. She spent the next year recov­ering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Duckworth was elected to Congress in 2012, and since her recovery, she has taken up scuba diving and completed several marathons.

“They allowed our cameras into their homes and workplaces... [and] let us ask questions they’ve never been asked before. They’ve done it with a sense of optimism and pride about their service,” Moore continued. “This mini-series is not the end of the conversation; it’s the beginning.”

Wes Moore will visit Birmingham and Montgomery, Alabama on Monday, May 19 and Tuesday, May 20 to meet with local veterans and present a special screening of the COMING BACK series at Alabama Public Television’s Montgomery studio at 1255 Madison Avenue.  The screening, which starts at 6:30pm, will be followed by a panel discussion featuring Wes Moore and moderated by APT’s CAPITOL JOURNAL host, Don Dailey. Local Alabama veterans will also appear on the panel. The event is free and open to the public.  Details are available at www.aptv.org.

“We are pleased to have executive producer and program host Wes Moore include this visit to Alabama in his national schedule for COMING BACK WITH WES MOORE,” says APT executive director Roy Clem. “Alabama has a strong tradition of military service, and we have a large population of veterans and military families here. We’re reaching out to those veterans and their families and working to help the general public better understand the challenges faced by the courageous men and women who protect our freedoms.”

Nationally, PBS will collaborate with the United Service Organizations (USO), in addition to other military support organizations and local veterans groups, to generate awareness about the series and encourage troops, families and veterans to tell their stories.  This will include screenings and panel discussions that highlight local stories and programs in schools, on military bases and with other organizations.

Major funding for COMING BACK WITH WES MOORE is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s (CPB) Diversity and Innovation Fund, which supports content that engages diverse viewers and encourages the use of emerging technologies to reach new audiences, and PBS.

COMING BACK WITH WES MOORE is a production of Powderhouse Productions and is executive produced by Joel Olicker. Molly Fowler also served as co-executive producer for Powerhouse Productions.

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Families welcome soldiers back from deployment in COMING BACK WITH WES MOORE.

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Wes Moore visits the mother of a fellow officer who committed suicide after returning home from service.

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Best-selling author Wes Moore is the executive producer and host of COMING BACK WITH WES MOORE.

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