MILITARY CHANNEL: Bringing viewers compelling, real-world stories of heroism, military strategy, technological breakthroughs and turning points in history, Discovery Communications, Inc. transitions its Discovery Wings Channel to the Military Channel on Monday, January 10, 2005. While Discovery Wings Channel focused exclusively on aviation, the Military Channel will feature a dramatically broadened programming mission, as well as an all-new on-air look. The network’s revamped slate of series and specials is designed to take viewers “behind the lines” to tell the personal stories of servicemen and women and offer in-depth explorations of military technology, battlefield strategy, aviation and history. The Military Channel also provides access to military personnel and hardware, allowing viewers to experience and understand a world full of human drama, courage, innovation and long-held traditions. Military Channel
Times are Eastern Standard Time (EST)
Silver Spring, Md. Offering viewers a front-row seat to history in the making, the Military Channel premieres DELTA COMPANY, the story of the U.S. Marine Corps’ Delta Company 1st Tank Battalion, as it pushes toward Baghdad in the early days of Operation Iraqi Freedom. DELTA COMPANY premieres on Monday, January 10, at 9 PM (ET/PT).
Using previously unseen footage of the actual events shot in HD by Marine Corps combat cameramen assigned to the unit, as well as first-person accounts from frontline troops, this two-part special puts viewers in the middle of the action as the Marines of Delta Company move from the Kuwait-Iraq border to the heart of Baghdad. Through this unprecedented behind-the-scenes access, DELTA COMPANY provides extraordinary insight into the life of a Marine on the ground in Iraq”the dangers, the adrenaline, the camaraderie and the honor of service on the front lines.
The story is told entirely from the point of view of Delta Company, one of four companies in the 1st Tank Battalion, based out of the Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command in Twentynine Palms, California. Shot over the course of three weeks during Operation Iraqi Freedom in April 2003 by Marine Corps combat cameramen – who were undergoing all the risks and hazards inherent in a Marine’s life before, during and after combat – the program offers a window into the furious action the Marines faced in their initial encounters with Iraqi resistance.
As the program opens, the Marines of Delta Company are staging at the border between Kuwait and Iraq, awaiting the start of combat. Among those profiled are the Company’s leaders: Lt. Col. Jim Chartier, Commanding Officer of 1st Tank Battalion, and Capt. Greg Poland, Delta Company Commander, a 10-year Marine who will be experiencing his first taste of battle in Iraq. Then the war begins and Delta Company tanks take the lead in the push into Iraq, leading a convoy that at its longest point stretches more than 50 miles.
Viewers ride along as Delta Company overcomes initial resistance, gains speed and engages resistance at the crucial Basra Bridge. But there’s no time to rest: the Company must push ahead, with virtually no sleep, on the 300-mile trip to the outskirts of Baghdad. Meanwhile, it must deal with the Iraqi enemy outside – including fighters who dress as civilians and wave white surrender flags before attacking – as well as the internal enemy: fatigue. The Company experiences a tragic loss when one vehicle drives off the bridge and into the Euphrates River, and four members of the battalion are lost.
As the tanks head into more populated areas and approach the Diyala River just outside of Baghdad, the Marines must clear a minefield and overcome the armed resistance blocking their way into the city. Viewers see how Marine engineers use mine-clearing line charges (MCLCs) and cross a severely damaged bridge under enemy fire. Delta Company achieves the Marine Corps’ first Regimental opposed bridge crossing since the Korean War – only to discover another minefield on the far side of the bridge. This time, the MCLC doesn’t detonate. It requires the heroism of Lance Corporal Joey Bianchimano to detonate the line charge by hand – for which he later receives the Bronze Star.
Amid scattered resistance, Delta Company tanks push through and enter the city of Baghdad. The Marines are greeted by civilians of all ages, and witness Iraqis toppling a statue of ousted dictator Saddam Hussein. As major combat operations conclude, the Marines reflect on their experience and prepare to return home.
DELTA COMPANY makes its world television premiere on Monday, January 10, airing from 9-11 PM (ET/PT). The special will have an encore airing on Thursday, January 13, from 9-11 PM (ET/PT). Discovery Networks, U.S., a unit of Discovery Communications, Inc., operates and manages the Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, the Travel Channel, Discovery Health Channel, Discovery HD Theater, Discovery Kids Channel, Discovery Times Channel, The Science Channel, the Military Channel, Discovery Home Channel, Discovery en Espanol and FitTV. The unit also distributes BBC AMERICA.