Directed by Barber, produced by Matthew Hausle and Tamara Henry and executive produced by Tim Shelton, “Until They Are Home” brings to light the extraordinary dedication of the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) team members, largely unsung heroes who, until now, have been unrecognized while working in the shadows. These young men and women returned in 2010 to the site of one of the most horrific battles of World War II in order to bring home fallen military heroes. Their efforts on the island of Tarawa have provided some closure after 69 years, recovering the remains of a few U.S. servicemen and flying those remains back to American soil.
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The Pentagon originally activated the JPAC on Oct. 1, 2003, to research and recover the remains of more than 83,000 unaccounted-
Sequel To Award-Winner
“Until They Are Home” is the much awaited sequel to the award-winning “Return To Tarawa: The Leon Cooper Story,” narrated by Academy Award®-nominee Ed Harris, which won “Best Documentary”
Cooper, 94, is one of the few remaining survivors of the battle of “Bloody Tarawa” and this first film tells the story of Cooper’s February 2008 return to the battlefield where he bravely fought 65 years earlier. Cooper was a young U.S. Navy commander of a group of Higgins landing crafts that ferried U.S. 2nd Marine Division troops to Red Beach during the November 1943 invasion. The battle was the U.S. military’s first major amphibious assault on Tarawa, a fortified Japanese stronghold, located in a series of coral reef atolls in the Pacific’s Gilbert island group. It is approximately 2,500 miles southwest of the Hawaiian islands and currently within the Republic of Kiribati.
During Cooper’s stirring 2008 return visit to Tarawa, he was able to confirm firsthand many disturbing conditions about that site where the remains of several hundred Americans still lie neglected and forgotten on the island. In addition, Cooper learned there is still live ammunition scattered everywhere on the densely populated island, and that huge piles of garbage lie on Red Beach, the hallowed ground where hundreds of Americans were killed and wounded by Japanese gunfire.
Deeply disturbed by what he saw while back on the island, Cooper dedicated his life to garner local support for his restoration plan to clean up the beach and the island, including the building of a modern incineration facility to relieve the island’s issues of refuse disposal. He also targeted U.S. governmental support to repatriate the remains of his fallen comrades while it is still possible.
Public Can Help
While Cooper is pleased with JPAC’s preliminary efforts in 2010 to recover the remains of a few American MIAs from Red Beach, Cooper will not rest in his efforts to bring massive public awareness to the hundreds of U.S. Marines and other members of the Armed Forces “still” buried at Tarawa in unmarked grave-sites…
To that end Cooper is encouraging Americans, who want ALL remaining U.S. MIAs buried at Tarawa to be returned home to their families, to join in his campaign to influence the U.S. government this action needs to be completed as once promised. To participate, sign the online petition to bring the remains of these American MIAs home: UntilTheyAreHome.com/
About Vanilla Fire Productions:
Founded in 2006 by Steven C. Barber and Tamara Henry, Vanilla Fire Productions is a full service video and film production company that strives to create works that emotionally connect with audiences. Vanilla Fire specializes in servicing the entertainment and advertising industries in traditional and new media and also helps create projects by bringing content creators and advertisers together to develop sponsored and branded entertainment for distribution. Vanilla Fire is located in Santa Monica, California. For more information on Vanilla Fire Productions and its films, visit: vanillafire.com and untiltheyarehome.com and at facebook.com/
In addition to the “Until They Are Home,” Vanilla Fire Productions will be releasing the upcoming documentary “Carrier Classic” on Veterans Day 2012. Barber’
“I highly recommend the long-awaited sequel of “Return to Tarawa.” Don’t miss the premiere of ‘Until They Are Home.’” – LARRY KING
“Don’t miss this important film… a remarkable journey of positive dedication and patriotism.”–
“’Until They Are Home’ is a gripping film telling the story of men and women of JPAC and their efforts to fulfill America’s promise to bring home lost Marines who lost their lives in the legendary World War II Battle of Tarawa. It’s a movie that touches all Americans.”
– JOE MANGANIELLO (HBO’s True Blood):
“Don’t miss this 2012 Memorial Day spectacular.”
Vanilla Fire Productions
Steven C. Barber