Armed with the only thing Chaplain Justin Roberts could get his hands on, he set out on a dangerous mission with the Army's 101st airborne division, deep into enemy territory in Afghanistan.
"Chaplains cannot carry weapons," Roberts noted, "so I asked my commander if I could carry a camera. He said, 'Sure, just don't get shot'. I said, 'Roger that.'"
What he witnessed and filmed inspired him to make a movie about the battalion dubbed "No Slack."
Their mission: to go into Afghan territory, into the Kunar Province, never before reached by enemy forces.
"We didn't know where they were at, so when they popped up it wasn't like they were on one side and we were on the other, we were all mixed together and that's why it became a nine-day battle," he said.
The men of the "No Slack" unit suffered multiple fatalities and came home with more than two-hundred Purple Hearts.
In the film, Combat Medic Lucas Hunt describes the extraordinary dangers the unit faced on the battlefield.
"We started taking rounds from a building that was 800 meters from us, and we couldn't make it stop," Hunt said.
Another soldier in the film describes watching from a distance, an area where they know a bomb is about to land.
"You're watching, you're watching," he said. "Then, all of a sudden: boom!"
He pauses, and then somberly says "Then everyone asks, didn't we have some guys there?"
But through it all, Roberts said the soldiers showed unimaginable loyalty and valor, which is why he named the film "No Greater Love."
"Whenever you see them, it really transforms how you view them, because you see their heart, you see their sacrifices," Roberts said. "You see these courageous moments that are driving them. Behind every act of valor was a selfless love."
Another soldier describes the emotions they feel from one day to the next.
He said, "We were fully aware of what we were getting into. Wait, I take that back: we thought we were fully aware. You'll never be ready for what happened that day."
The movie is the first theatrical documentary made by an active-duty soldier.
"No Greater Love" opened Friday at the Art Theater in Long Beach and will be screened nationwide. You can learn more about it by visiting the film's website, nogreaterlovemovie.com
Roberts said he hopes everyone -- including civilians, veterans and their families -- gets a chance to see the film.
"This is for civilians because veterans don't come home to veterans, they come home to America," he said.
ABC7 Salutes: Documentary 'No Greater Love' depicts sacrifice of war through veteran's eyes