Michael Strobl

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Michael R. Strobl
Bacon and Strobl.jpg
Michael R. Strobl and Kevin Bacon
at the premiere of Taking Chance (2009)
Bornc. 1966 (age 52–53)
Alma materGeorge Mason University (PhD in Economics)[1]
Military career
AllegianceUnited States
Service/branchUnited States Marine Corps
Years of service1983 - 2007
RankLieutenant Colonel
Battles/warsOperation Desert Storm

Michael R. Strobl (born c. 1966) is a retired U.S. Marine Corps officer from Stafford, Virginia.[1]

Michael joined the service when he was 17 years old as told in the movie Taking Chance (2009).

After serving in Operation Desert Storm in 1991,[2] Strobl was assigned a desk job at Marine Corps Base Quantico in Quantico, Virginia during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Feeling guilty that Marines he served with in the Gulf War were serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom while he wasn't, Strobl volunteered to escort the remains of a fallen Marine to his home in the United States.

Chance Phelps[edit]

Strobl escorted home PFC Chance Phelps, a Marine killed in the Iraq War on April 9, 2004 (Good Friday), outside Ar Ramadi, Iraq.[3][4]

Strobl was working at a desk job, but volunteered to escort PFC Phelps home.[5] He initially did this because the press release concerning the death of PFC Phelps had listed Clifton, Colorado as his hometown, a town near Strobl's hometown of Grand Junction. But the final destination and resting place of PFC Phelps would be Dubois, Wyoming, Phelps having only lived in Clifton for his senior year of high school.

During the trip, Strobl kept a diary of the experience and his feelings. After he concluded the mission, he wrote an essay entitled "A Marine's Journey Home" from the notes in the diary and shared it with Phelps's father John. The essay appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle on May 2, 2004 (with the approval of John Phelps), and then a longer version (of 5,375 words) appeared in the July issue of Marine Corps Gazette as "Taking Chance".

Strobl's 12-page narrative essay followed his journey with the remains of PFC Phelps from the military mortuary at Dover Air Force Base to Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Billings, Riverton, and Dubois.

Strobl's essay became the subject of an HBO film, Taking Chance, in 2009.[6][7] He helped write the screenplay, and he was portrayed in the film by Kevin Bacon.[8] Subsequently, he co-won the Writers Guild of America Award in Long Form Adaptation in Television at the Writers Guild of America Awards 2009 and was co-nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie, or a Dramatic Special, both with Ross Katz.[9]

Decorations and awards[edit]

Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal ribbon.svg Combat Action Ribbon.svg U.S. Navy Unit Commendation ribbon.svg
Bronze star
Southwest Asia Service Medal ribbon (1991–2016).svg
Bronze star
Bronze star
Kuwait Liberation Medal (Saudi Arabia) ribbon.svg Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait) ribbon.svg
Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal Combat Action Ribbon Navy Unit Commendation National Defense Service Medal w/ 1 service star
Southwest Asia Service Medal Sea Service Deployment Ribbon w/ 2 service stars Kuwait Liberation Medal (Saudi Arabia) Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait)

Strobl received the Vietnam Veterans of America President's Award for Excellence in the Arts at the organization's national convention in Louisville, Kentucky in August 2009.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Rich, Colleen Kearney (November 1, 2010). "Patriot Profile: Michael Strobl". Mason Spirit. Retrieved 13 May 2013.
  2. ^ Strauss, Gary (2009-02-19). "Marine officer went the distance in 'Taking Chance'". USA Today. Retrieved 13 May 2013.
  3. ^ Taking Chance by Lieutenant Colonel Michael Strobl (ret)
  4. ^ Taking Chance by Michael Strobl
  5. ^ Foundas, Scott (Feb 18, 2009). "Coming Home: Taking Chance Writer Lt. Col. Michael Strobl and Producer-Director Ross Katz on the Iraq Movie About America". LA Weekly. Archived from the original on 23 January 2013. Retrieved 13 May 2013.
  6. ^ KMIR6 NBC story on Taking Chance
  7. ^ HBO Official web page for Taking Chance
  8. ^ Shales, Tom (February 21, 2009). "HBO's 'Chance' Finely Renders Solemn Honor For Fallen Troops". TV Preview. Washington Post. Retrieved 2009-02-23.
  9. ^ Michael Strobl on IMDb

External links[edit]