Tag Archives: Korean War

Queens man realizes two dreams through film, serving country


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of American Heroes Channel - Discovery Communications


When filmmakers Brian Iglesias and Anton Sattler released their documentary “CHOSIN,” on the Korean War’s Chosin Reservoir Campaign, they had high hopes for the film.

In addition to positive reviews, it has received several recognitions, including Best Documentary Feature at the GI Film Festival and Best Documentary Feature from the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation in 2013.

But the most important approval was from the men whom the pair interviewed for the documentary.

“That review meant more to us than anything else we’ve gotten,” said Sattler, a Jackson Heights resident who co-produced the documentary with Iglesias, who also directed the film.

They were prepared to remake “CHOSIN” following two private screenings they had for the veterans, but the men gave it a thumbs-up.

Four years following the documentary’s debut, the pair is trying to reach a larger audience and share the battle’s story with more people.

This Memorial Day, on May 26, at 9 p.m., “CHOSIN” will premiere on the American Heroes Channel (AHC) and help launch AHC Films, a new outlet for independent nonfiction filmmakers looking for a television home for documentaries.

“We are proud to kick off AHC Films with the critically-acclaimed documentary, ‘CHOSIN,’ giving viewers an amazing, first-person account about a historic battle, and shining a light on the true meaning of honor and solidarity,” said Kevin Bennett, executive vice president and general manager of AHC.

“It premiering on Memorial Day has huge significance for us,” Sattler said. “It will be seen by a larger audience, and the story will be told and these men [will not be] forgotten.”

The idea for “CHOSIN” and Sattler and Iglesias’ filmmaking partnership came out of the battlefield.

The two were brought together by their shared passion for film and service fighting for the country.

Both men served in the U.S. Marine Corps and were deployed to Iraq. After 13 years of service, Iglesias, who lives in New Jersey, joined the reserves and currently holds the rank of major. Sattler, following six years of active duty, transferred to the reserves, where he is presently serving as a major with Marine Corps Public Affairs, NYC.

Sattler, who’s had family members serve in the armed forces, knew at a young age that he wanted to join the military. The Sept. 11 attacks occurred around the time of his college graduation, in 2002, and he enlisted after finishing school.

A film studies major, the Pittsburgh native wanted to pursue moviemaking after his service.

A mutual friend introduced him to Iglesias and about 24 hours after they met, they decided to launch a film company, Veterans Expeditionary Media, and 30 days later they started filming “CHOSIN.”

They were on the road for eight months, visiting 27 cities in 14 states, where they interviewed 185 veterans who survived the battle.

The Chosin Reservoir Campaign, which took place over 17 days in 1950, is one of three pivotal battles taught in boot camps, according to Sattler.

“The odds were stacked against the Marine Corps,” he said. There were news reports saying the troops were going to be destroyed, he explained, but they fought their way out.
Many of the men didn’t even go through boot camp because of post-WWII cutbacks, according to Sattler.

The brutal battle was not only fought in subfreezing temperatures and on rugged terrain, but it also pitted 15,000 U.S. soldiers and Marines against 67,000 Chinese troops.
Sattler and Iglesias felt it was pivotal to tell the story of Chosin and its survivors because it shed more light on the battle and the entire Korean War.

“Hollywood for the most part hasn’t paid attention to Korea since the 60s,” Sattler said.

Their film is the first feature-length documentary on the Chosin Reservoir Campaign.

They also felt it was vital to capture the survivors’ stories while they were still alive.

“Decades separated us but there was a ‘two-way rifle range,’” Sattler said, describing the experience of interviewing the men. That ability to relate, he said, helped them with in reaching out to the veterans, he added.

The result was a documentary that tells not only the story of one conflict, but also of “the human experience of going off to war,” Sattler said.

Along with the AHC Films premiere, Sattler and Iglesias are bringing the story of Chosin Reservoir Campaign to a younger audience with a graphic novel, now available in a digital version and soon-to-be print version, and an animated adaptation that is currently in the works.

The filmmakers hope if the stories are engaging enough, maybe younger people will watch the documentary and want to learn more about the Korean War.

 

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Benefits for Veterans


| rfatoullah@queenscourier.com

Veterans with limited income who are permanently and totally disabled or 65 years or older may receive an improved pension. To receipt this benefit, the veteran must have been discharged under other than dishonorable conditions and served 90 days or more of active duty, one day of which was during World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam War or Gulf War. A Veteran Administration’s improved pension has three levels: Basic Pension, Housebound Pension and Aid & Attendance.

The first level is the Basic Pension, for which veterans 65 and older are eligible. The Veterans Administration (“VA”) classifies any veteran who reaches the age of 65 as permanently and totally “disabled.” This classification entitles the veteran or his widow to a Basic Pension. A doctor’s assessment is not necessary to confirm disability.

In order to receive the Basic Pension, the veteran must be financially eligible for the pension after a review of income and assets. The VA must determine that the veteran’s assets, excluding his home, furnishings and vehicles, are not sufficient to support him for his lifetime. A commonly used measure is whether there is $80,000 or less in assets, regardless of whether the veteran is married or single. The current maximum monthly basic pension is approximately $1,201 monthly ($12,255 annually).

The second level of pension is the Housebound Pension. To be eligible for Housebound Pension, the individual need not require assistance with activities of daily living per se, but must require some assistance as confirmed by the veteran’s personal physician. The veteran must have a single permanent disability that is 100 percent disabling and be permanently confined to his premises or have a single permanent disability that is 100 percent disabling and another disability that is 60 percent or more disabling. The maximum housebound pension is $1,248 per month ($14,977 annually). The veteran cannot receive Aid and Attendance and Housebound benefits at the same time.

The highest level awarded is Aid & Attendance. Aid & Attendance is a benefit for veterans and surviving spouses who need assistance with activities of daily living, without which they would not be able to function independently. To qualify medically, a veteran or surviving spouse must need the assistance of another person to perform daily tasks, such as eating, dressing, undressing, taking care of the nature’s needs, etc. Being blind or in a nursing home for mental or physical incapacity, or residing in an assisted living facility also qualifies. The attending physician must certify that the individual’s physical limitations are such that he cannot live independently without assistance. The current maximum monthly Aid & attendance benefit is $1,703 ($20,446 annually).

If Medicaid is covering a nursing home resident’s care, the facility will receive the pension and Aid & Attendance and the resident will receive $90 monthly for his personal needs. Due to the complex nature of benefits for veterans, it is advisable to consult a professional who can provide advice regarding what benefits may be available, and to ensure that the Veteran has his legal house in order.

Ronald Fatoullah is a leading expert in the field of elder law. He is the founder and managing attorney of Ronald Fatoullah & Associates, a law firm concentrating in elder law, Medicaid eligibility, estate planning, special needs, trusts, guardianships, & probate. He is certified as an elder law attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation, and he is the current Legal Committee Chair of the Long Island Alzheimer’s Association. This article was written with the assistance of Yan Lian Kuang-Maoga, Esq. Ms. Kuang-Maoga speaks Mandarin and Cantonese and assists with the firm’s Chinese speaking clientele. The firm’s offices are conveniently located in: Long Island, Queens, Manhattan & Brooklyn and can be reached at: 1-877-Elder Law 1-877-Estates.