“The Legacy of My Teammates Steadies My Resolve.” Since the time of the Samurai and the Spartans, the warrior code of ethos has served to guide and strengthen the members of elite fighting teams. These words from the US Navy SEAL Code, honor those who have sacrificed all and inspire those yet to come.
June 28th marks the ninth anniversary of Operation Red Wings, where 19 US Navy SEALs lost their lives in Afghanistan while on a mission to capture or kill notorious Taliban leader Ahmad Shah. Marcus Lutrell’s book Lone Survivor gives the details as only one of the SEAL team members can describe. The film by the same name was based closely on the book with Marcus Lutrell acting as advisor to the production. Even the actors had to undergo rigorous training to learn the tactics and skills of the SEALs they were to portray. You see, this is the story of the team, told so their sacrifice would always be remembered, and to steady the resolve of those still in the field.
Ride For Lance is the second biopic by Director Scott Mactavish, himself a US Navy veteran. His 2013 documentary, MURPH The Protector, focused on the life and sacrifice of Navy SEAL LT Michael P. Murphy. In the film, Murph’s family and friends recount their memories as we see his life come full circle, and his enduring legacy. The true heroism of Michael Murphy’s final days became even more vivid in the film Lone Survivor, where we feel we are fighting alongside Murph (portrayed by Taylor Kitsch) and his team in the remote Afghan mountains. Although the larger budget and known actors appeal to a larger audience, it is through the words of those who know these warriors best, that we also know them more intimately, and in turn see them as real people and real heroes.
Mactavish realizes that the story of someone’s life is best told by those they knew, with his documentary film style knitting us into their family. Following a tragic parachute accident that took the life of his fellow SEAL team member, Chief Petty Officer Lance Vaccaro, the director helped launch the Lance Vaccaro Memorial Ride. On June 17, 2010, four Navy SEAL motorcycle riders departed Virginia Beach, Virginia and headed toward Alaska. The 31-day journey covered 12,000 miles and connected with thousands of lives. Each tale of sacrifice, pain and pride carries us further along the journey. Ride For Lance is a personal film, and is meant as inspiration to all and a salute to the veterans and heroes who have paid the ultimate price for their dedication.
It would be impossible to tell the complete story of each and every veteran, although they deserve the recognition. If they could speak, though, I think each would disagree. Through the words of their family members and friends, we learn that these elite warriors care more for their teammates than themselves. Their strength is derived from their bond. Each a link in a chain that can’t exist without each other. We can not remember one without speaking of the rest. They are true heroes. They are unified. They are the tip of the spear.
A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the DVD go to the Navy SEAL Foundation, in perpetuity.
Release Date: August 26, 2014
Anchor Bay Entertainment