Small Wars Journal

Taking Chance

HBO Trailer: Taking Chance

Chance Phelps was wearing his Saint Christopher medal when he was killed on Good Friday. Eight days later, I handed the medallion to his mother. I didn't know Chance before he died. Today, I miss him.

About HBO's Taking Chance

Now, he was home to stay and I suddenly felt at once sad, relieved, and useless. It had been my honor to take Chance Phelps to his final post. Now he is on the high ground overlooking his town.

A Soldier's Story: "Taking Chance" - Caitlin A. Johnson, CBS News, 15 April 2007

After they are brought to Dover Air Force Base, all fallen soldiers, Marines, airmen, and sailors are escorted home to their families and loved ones by a uniformed member of the U.S. armed forces. In mid-April 2004, 38-year-old U.S. Marine Lt. Col. Michael R. Strobl, a manpower analyst assigned to the Combat Development Command in Quantico, Va., accompanied the body of a young Marine killed in Iraq to his final resting place in Wyoming. Strobl wrote the following description of his journey to Wyoming in a small, spiral notebook on his way back to Virginia.

"Taking Chance" - A personal narrative by Lieutenant Colonel Michael R. Strobl, CBS News

Chance Phelps was wearing his Saint Christopher medal when he was killed on Good Friday. Eight days later, I handed the medallion to his mother. I didn't know Chance before he died. Today, I miss him.

Over a year ago, I volunteered to escort the remains of Marines killed in Iraq should the need arise. Thankfully, I hadn't been called on to be an escort since Operation Iraqi Freedom began. The first few weeks of April, however, had been tough ones for the Marines. On the Monday after Easter, I was reviewing Department of Defense press releases when I saw that a Private First Class Chance Phelps was killed in action outside of Baghdad. The press release listed his hometown as Clifton, Colorado — which is near where I'm from. I notified our battalion adjutant and told him that, should the duty to escort PFC Phelps fall to our battalion, I would take him.

Lance Corporal Chance Phelps - Wikipedia

Taking Chance - LtCol Michael Strobl, PBS

Taking Chance Home - Blackfive

The Marine Corps is a special fraternity. There are moments when we are reminded of this. Interestingly, those moments don't always happen at awards ceremonies or in dress blues at Birthday Balls. I have found, rather, that they occur at unexpected times and places: next to a loaded moving van at Camp Lejeune's base housing, in a dirty CP tent in northern Saudi Arabia, and in a smoky VFW post in western Wyoming.

Semper Fi.


I am a retired TSgt in the Air Force and I am the official State Military Bugler for the state of Rhode Island Veterans Cemetery. I am also the Departmen Bugler for the Rhode Island Marine Corps League. My position is to insure that all eligible veterans receive the sounding of live "Taps" at his/hers funeral. I wss very muched moved by this story and movie.
I must say I was quite disappointed though that there was no sounding of "Taps" at the Funeral Honors! I sound "Taps" on an average of 20 times per week for all combined forces and was wondering why "Taps" was not sounded at his final farewell!
TSgt. Michael J Jackson USAF Ret. Bugler

Michele (not verified)

Thu, 01/14/2010 - 4:31pm

I am the mother of LCpl Seth Garrett Jones, USMC. My son was 18 when he was killed April 8, 2000 in the crash of an MV-22 Osprey aircraft. I have lived this movie, and I wish I could watch it but even after 10 years I am too emotional. I am still very close to our Casualty Assistance Officer, who is like family to me. He saw me at my worst, carried me through that time really. Anybody who does that duty is an angel to me. I can't imagine how hard it is to tell a family that their loved one is dead. It was not pleasant for Major Travis, but he remained strong. Thank you so much for the movie "Taking Chance." It is good for people to know what is given up for them, and our flag. Long may it wave. Semper Fi...Michele, proud mom of LCpl Seth Jones, USMC 3/5 India Company Weapons Platoon