Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Soldier's Tales of War Air on Cable; Fernandina: He's Part of Younger 'Brothers'

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Soldier's Tales of War Air on Cable; Fernandina: He's Part of Younger 'Brothers'

Article excerpt

Byline: Alison Trinidad, Nassau Neighbors staff writer

Warfare may have changed since the 1940s, but Army Sgt. Josiah "Brett" Blalock of Fernandina Beach believes the personal experiences of soldiers have not.

"It was a dangerous business," the Fernandina Beach native said. "It still is a dangerous business."

Blalock, 28, is one of six present-day soldiers featured by The History Channel as part of its airing of the 10-part war mini-series, Band of Brothers, which runs through June.

The soldiers' stories are connected to those of the men who fought with Easy Company in World War II. They are told in promotional segments that last from one to 10 minutes. A half-hour preview program caps the segments. The soldiers also introduce and summarize most of the episodes in the series.

Executive produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks for HBO, Band of Brothers is based on the best-selling book by Stephen Ambrose. The series follows Easy Company, an elite paratrooper unit, in World War II. The stories told by Blalock and his fellow soldiers are paralleled with those of the men in Easy Company.

The series debuted on The History Channel on April 11. The first episode will air again at 9 p.m. Monday, and continue through the next 10 weeks.

"This is a very historic documentary," Blalock said. "Although it is an American archive, it's still going on today. I thought it was a good idea to tie in the new breed."

According to an Army news release, the featured soldiers all recently have returned from service in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are of different ranks, and four are from the same 101st Airborne Division as Easy Company.

Blalock, who had read the book and watched the mini-series several times, said Band of Brothers gives an accurate portrayal of war and the values shared by soldiers.

Although the living conditions for soldiers overseas are no picnic -- "I'm cold, wet and miserable most of the time," Blalock said -- they're much better than what they were, he said.

"What they did was totally unbelievable . . . I have a lot of respect for what they've done, what they had to go through. . . . I'm not going to fail them. …

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