A documentary film about an Apache helicopter mission during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, featuring a University of Wyoming graduate telling his story, is scheduled to be screened today.
“Apache Warrior,” a production of Strong Eagle Media, is scheduled to screen at 6 p.m. today at the UW College of Agriculture auditorium. Following the screening, Ret. Col. Kevin Christensen will take questions from the audience. The event is free to the public.
Christensen, who grew up in Casper and attended Kelly Walsh High School, graduated from UW in 1989 with a degree in electrical engineering. He was a member of the university’s Army ROTC program, and he went on to serve as an Army aviation officer for 27 years, flying the AH-64 Apache.
He was deployed twice to Iraq. In 2003, he was the operations officer in the 6th Squadron, 6th Cavalry.
“Apache Warrior” features actual footage from a combat mission in the first days of the 2003 invasion, along with interviews with participating soldiers. Combat footage came from aircraft tapes.
The film was released in December on Amazon, iTunes and the American Heroes Channel.
“It’ll keep folks on the edge of their seats and give them a glimpse into Army aviation and what they go through in a combat environment,” said Lt. Col. Thomas Haas, UW ROTC department chair and a professor of military science.
He said the mission was one of the most intense in modern aviation, and Christensen played a vital role.
The battle was important, Haas said, because it took place early in the war and served as a learning experience for future operations.
“It was the first time really we’d gone to war in this kind of fashion since the Gulf War, so they were using tactics and techniques and procedures they’d used in previous wars,” he said.
“From that standpoint, they learned a lot of lessons because of this engagement and were able to implement those lessons to be more successful later on.”
The film maintains a focus on a specific unit participating in a specific engagement during the war.
“The producers really tried to focus on the individuals and their stories,” he said.
Christensen, who lives in Virginia, retired in 2016. Haas said the UW Cowboy Battalion is excited to welcome him back to Laramie.
“We’re proud of what he’s done, and he’s got a lot of pride being a Cowboy,” Haas said.
He said the UW ROTC program is fortunate to count Christensen among its graduates.
“We have a lot of patriots that we can be proud of their accomplishments and proud they’re from the state of Wyoming,” he said.