White House Chief of Staff and retired Marine Gen. John Kelly has praised the movie Taking Chance for its depiction of how the military attempts to console the family of a fallen U.S. military member.
During a White House press briefing on Thursday, Kelly — whose son was killed in action in 2010 — spoke about his personal connection with the 2009 film. Taking Chance tells the story of volunteer military escort Lt. Col. Michael Strobl accompanying the body of Lance Cpl. Chance Phelps back to his hometown.
“A very, very good movie is Taking Chance. Chance Phelps was killed under my command right next to me. It’s worth seeing that if you’ve never seen it,” he said. “That’s the process. While that’s happening, a casualty officer typically goes to the home very early in the morning and waits for the first lights to come on. And then he knocks on the door, typically the mom and dad will answer, the wife. And if there is a wife, this is happening in two different places, if the parents are divorced, three different places, and the casualty officer proceeds to break the heart of a family member. And stays with this family until — well, for a long, long time. That’s what happens.”
Kelly’s remarks came in the wake of the controversy surrounding President Donald Trump allegedly telling the widow of Sgt. La David T. Johnson — who was killed in Niger — that her husband “must have known what he signed up for.”
Correction: The original version of this story misidentified John Kelly as a retired Army general. He is a retired Marine general.