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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Operation Home Base: The Next NCIS

Written by
Theresa Chaze

(Operation Home Base is copyrights; no part may be used, stored or reproduced without expressed written permission by the author)

To Read an excerpt of the first draft of the two hour made for TV movie click here

Operation Home Base is a nationwide non profit organization with local chapters that gives support to military families, veterans, wounded warriors, and active duty military personnel by working with existing programs and organizations. Acting as an information hub, OHB works in partnership with the bases’ Dependent Centers to give aid and comfort to military personal and their families while acting as an intermediary not only with other military agencies but with the civilian services. Staffed with active duty and retired military personnel along with the civilians, OHB was created by the combined branches of the services to take care of their own. Their single goal is to fill the voids left by governmental agencies who are unable provide the necessary services and support for all branches of the military.

The Red Cross Liaison assists family members in communicating with military personal through official channels. Using established avenues, the Liaison speeds up the verification process, thereby helping the messages arrive in a timely fashion. In addition, they help arrange transportation across country for the family members whose loved ones have been injured as well as for military personnel during times of family crisis.

Legal Aid --Staffed with both in-service and civilian volunteers, Legal Aid represents military personnel and families both with military and civilian legal issues. Although the representatives works directly with JAG/Provost Marshall/CID/NCIS/local law enforcement, they represent military personnel and their families in all legal issues.

Mental Health Services-Staffed with counseling professionals, they give emotional and spiritual support during times of crisis for active duty, vets, wounded warriors, and family members. Providing help with emotional and spiritual issues that arise from war, they find the necessary care for:

-domestic abuse
-head trauma
-rape crisis
-personality disorders
-family counseling
-suicide intervention

Unlike the existing services, these Mental Health professionals are both civilian and military, who have the authority to call in to question existing treatment protocol calls from the sandbox to the bases to homes. Civilians work on a situational basis and are granted rank, which is equivalent to their education and experience by the head of OHB.

Domestic Assistance acts an intermediary with local organizations for families in crisis. Every military base has a Dependent Center that helps military families find assistance from civilian organizations. OHB helps find additional resources to help improve the families’ standard of living, while helping vets and wound warriors successful reenter civilian life.

Casualty/mortuary Team-Made up of multi-denominational spiritual councilors as well as senior staff, this team helps the families of vets cope with the injury or death of their loved one. The mortuary team members notify the family members of the death of their loved one as well as helping them make the appropriate burial arrangements. In the case of injury, the casualty team keeps them informed of the status of their loved one and arranges the appropriate transportation.

Veterans Affairs Liaison-Combination political appointee and retired vet with at least ten years of active service, the Liaison helps military personal not only receive the benefits due, but to also fights for additional economic, medical and educational assistance. The position could be best described as the Military’s ambassador to the U.S government.

Financial Aid Officer-The Financial Aid Officer is accountant who finds sources of income from government grants, private donations and fund raising. In addition, this department helps arranges loans/grants through private the government or private institutions for emergency needs.

By combining their talents and resources, Operation Home Base does its best to catch those who would have fallen through the cracks. Sometimes humorous, frequently heart breaking, their stories are those of the U.S military and those who love them. Although intra-service rivalry continues, the branches of the military have come together to protect and provide for their members with the help of their government or in some cases in spite of it.

My first choice for the following roles:
Lorelei Stewart--Gloria Loring
Retired Lt. Colonel Elaine Reynolds--Deidre Hall
Deacon James William--Tom Selleck
Michael Woodsman--Drake Hogestyn
Martin Flying Crow--Graham Greene
Randi Cullen--Alyssa Milano

Master Sergeant Stella Garcia (Casualty/mortuary) Half Potawatomi half Mexican, Stella Garcia is woman in her late 30’s who planned to be a career soldier; however, the IED, which took her left leg, ended her active field duty. The sole survivor of the three vehicle convoy, she suffered from PTSD and depression. Emotionally she couldn’t find the reason for her surviving when rest of her buddies was killed. Using alcohol and sex to numb the pain, she walked through life unable to feel anything while awake. Zombie-like, she settled into her new desk job, yet her dreams were haunted by the spirits of her unit and the others. They asked her why she ran away from her duty--why she allowed their deaths to be in vain. Instead of seeking aid, she hides deeper within the bottle. Her relationships were shallow and temporary; no one was going to get close enough to hurt her again. However, after the death of her maternal grandmother, Stella knew where she needed to go. Going AWOL, she left for the Rez. A Tribal Elder, contacted her Unit Commander and arranged leave. Through ancient ceremonies she not only found the strength to heal and forgive herself, but also finds her new destiny. She became the Wind Talker who spoke for the dead and insured their wishes were fully carried out. Returning to base, she volunteered for Mortuary duty through which she became part of Operation Home Base.

Lorelei Stewart-(Mental Health Director) Lorelei Stewart is a woman in her early-fifties, who started her life as an army brat who married a career officer--Dr. Robert Stewart with whom she had three children-2 boys and a girl. She has Master Degrees in Behavioral Science, Psychology, and Sociology. A published author, she spent her early career working as profiler for the FBI. However, when she met and married career officer Col. Robert Stewart, she moved into private practice until his death during Operation Desert Storm. It was after his death she learned how little support military personal and their families actually received. Determined to use her experiences to help others, she became one of the founders of Operation Home Base. The love of her life Robert Steward left more than emotional and financial void in Lorelei and her children’s life. There were many questions the Army refused to answer. Growing up an Army brat, she was well aware that some questions were never meant to be answered. It was not so easy for her children, especially her daughter, Roberta. Although she has difficulty with helping her children accepting and healing their father‘s death, Lorelei has become part Mother Superior, part Mom and part USO entertainer to those she councils. Whether it be with a wise-crack, singing a song, or with a ruler across the knuckles, she has a unique ability to defuse tense situations that could have easily become violent. Growing up an Army brat, she not only understands the mentality of those who choose to serve, but also the subtext of the messages behind the words. Although it is not part of her normal duties, she arranges for special entertainment features for the troops in the San Diego area as well as else where. On occasion, she has participated as part of the program by singing and acting in comedy skits she helped write.

Lt. Colonel Elaine Reynolds (Financial Aid Officer)-A retired regular army officer in her late 50’s, she is chief financial aid officer for OHB. Half accountant, half weasel, she has able to not only make stingy people take a crowbar to their wallet, but also make sure every buffalo shits twice before the nickel is spent. Whether in the private or government arena, if there is money to be had, she knows how to find it and acquire it. Blonde and beautiful blonde, those who under-estimated her intelligence quickly regret their mistake. Classy by nature when the situation arises, she is not above low blows both physically and verbally. A career officer, mother of two and a wife, Reynolds found a way to balance her career and family needs. Her husband, Larry Reynolds is a police detective. Her daughter Rachael is a junior in college; who does volunteer work for the OHB in the Red Cross office. Her son Mitchell is an active duty marine; his wife Debra and his children live with Reynolds while he is in the sandbox.

Deacon James Williams (Head of OHB and San Diego CA supervisor). Ex special ops, James Williams was nick named Deek soon after he was deployed in Vietnam the summer of 1966. Assigned Recon Intelligence, he worked closely with the Montagnard and the Vietnamese Army. Five years later, he reemerged from his assignment and was immediately air lifted out without any official records of his activities. His military records were sealed except to those with the highest clearance, he occasionally disappears for days without notice or reason. As part of the financial aid agreement with the government, Williams was named as Head of OHB, answering only to the heads of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Pentagon. Charming one minute, deadly the next, Williams is able to accomplish the seemingly impossible. A permanent bachelor, he has many love interests, yet no attachments. He sees the big pictures when it comes to his career and the military, but refuses to get caught up in the messiness of intra-personal relationships. The “companions” who warm his bed at night are never there at dawn. Although there is a great deal of speculation about him, no one really has the courage to ask.

Michael Woodsman (Veterans Affairs Liaison) A political appointee who knows the ins and outs of how and when to kiss ass and when to kick it, Woodsman worked his way up through the political system. His hard edge and cynicism makes him a dangerous opponent, but also a very effective Liaison for the OHB. He is a team player with an us or them mentality. For the us he is a supportive and loyal advocate; the them quickly learn that crossing him was not a pleasant experience for his charm was on a thin façade. A car accident in his late teen, permanently damaged his spine, the physical limitation is a source of great anger as well as being a profound motivator. Although he never served himself, he has great respect for those who do step up to the plate. When Lorelei approached him to help with OHB, he finally found a cause he could believe in. Using his political capital both above board and blackmailing behind the scenes, Woodsman was a major force in opening doors for its creation. In his mind, it is his way of serving those who do serve.

Debra Anne Lee (Red Cross) In her early twenties, this southern bell grew up with seven older brothers most of whom join the military. A martial arts expert in her own right, she is proud of her family heritage that can be traced back to the civil war. Her mother used to say that Debra Anne walked where fools and angels fear to tread and was kicked out for being a smart ass. More moxie and intelligence than common sense, she is willing to take on situations and people that most people run away from. Using the immortality of youth as a shield as well as her passion and natural curiosity, she would con, charm, or connive her way to achieving her goals.

Martin Flying Crow(Domestic Assistance) A full blooded Oneida, Flying Crow enlisted in the Navy to escape the abject poverty of the Rez only to find the destiny his ancestors placed before him Trained by his shaman grandmother, Flying Crow walked the Red Road from childhood. At age 13, he set out on vision quest to learn his life’s path. The Eagle Spirit showed him that he was too destined to be a healer and guide to others. This life was to be one of service to others. He was to teach them the way of spiritual balance. However, in order to lead others, he needed to walk the path himself. Enlisting as a combat medic in the Navy was the first step of many. In Vietnam, he served two tours as a medic with his unit. Although he was not officially allowed to carry weapons, he did not hesitate to defend those in his unit by whatever means necessary. It was during this time that he crossed paths with Deek. Although they met with opposing agendas, they developed a mutual respect for one another both on and off the battlefield. After his tour, he returned to the Rez. Working as Paramedic, he quickly learned how little emotional, spiritual and medical support there was for the military personal, vets and wounded warriors along with their families. Working on a local level out of his garage, he gathered information, contacts and resources, which he used to improve the lives of those affected by war. He gained national attention when he was able to talk a wound warrior out of committing suicide. It was this exposure that brought him to the attention of Lorelei Stuart and Michael Woodsman. Using his template, the three of them created Operation Home Base.

Randi Cullen (Legal Aid) Randi Cullen grew up as Marine brat until her mother divorced her father early in childhood. Eventually her mother remarried and moved across country, taking Randi and her brothers away from the military way of life. After the divorce, her birth father severed contact. He quickly became the elephant in the room that neither she nor her mother was willing to discuss for fear of where it would lead. During her teen years, she tried to contact him; however, she had little success. But she was able to learn that two years before his twenty year retirement, he suddenly resigned his commission and disappeared. Although both of her older brothers enlisted straight out of high school, Cullen both loved and hated the military. She loved the discipline and the service, yet she blamed it for the loss of her father. Following her step father, she joined the San Diego County Prosecutor’s Office and quickly rose in the ranks. She was not only known for her fairness and tenacity, but her out spoken views.

These are the core characters to the series. Supporting characters for the OHB would be added or removed as the series develops. This show will not be anything close to Army Wives. Taken from the headlines as well as from the writer’s imagination, the stories will accurately portray the challenges of military personnel, vets, and wounded warriors along with those their families must face.

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