‘Thank You for Your Service’ is a 2017 war drama film directed by Jason Hall that follows the story of Sergeant Adam Schumann and Specialist Tausolo “Solo” Aieti as they return from Iraq. Depicting the veterans’ journey toward recovery as they deal with PTSD and other psychological issues, the film exhibits the numerous hardships real-life war veterans face across the country. The narrative also employs Solo’s character to highlight the exhausting bureaucratic processes veterans have to go through to receive professional care post-war for their physical and psychological injuries.
With Beulah Koale bringing the character of Specialist Tausolo Aieti to life on the big screen, the film authentically recounts Aieti’s experiences and tells an emotionally charged story. Since Hall’s film is based on reality, taking inspiration from Tausolo Aieti’s real life, viewers must be curious to know more about the man behind the character. Therefore, here is everything we know about Tausolo Aieti, AKA Solo, and his current whereabouts.
Where is Tausolo “Solo” Aieti Now?
As shown in ‘Thank You For Your Service,’ Aieti, an American-Samoan soldier, served multiple deployments to Iraq in the US Army. In 2007, Aieti and his fellow army men went on a patrol in one of the more tense neighborhoods of Baghdad. During the same, a bomb attack blindsided the soldiers, causing immense damage to the men and their Humvee truck. Aieti broke his leg yet managed to pull out two of his comrades from the burning wreckage, saving their lives. However, by the time he remembered about Doster (occasionally referred to as Harrelson), it was too late for him.
Aieti’s experience in the army, including his traumatic encounter with the Humvee accident, went on to be recorded by award-winning journalist David Finkel in his 2013 non-fiction book ‘Thank You For Your Service,’ which is a follow-up to his 2009 book ‘The Good Soldiers,’ and was used as the basis for Hall’s film. After Aieti’s last tour with the military, he experienced severe PTSD that led to several complications in his everyday life. Eventually, after his situation worsened, becoming dangerous for both himself and his loved ones, he was enrolled in an outpatient program in Junction City. However, after that program proved to be unhelpful for Aieti, he was admitted to a Veterans Affairs hospital in Topeka, Kansas.
At the Topeka hospital, Aieti underwent a seven-week program that helped him deal with his PTSD. The survivor’s guilt surrounding Doster’s death was among the most severe of his trauma, with flashbacks and visions of his fellow soldier on fire plaguing his mind. According to Finkel’s account, the question “Why didn’t you save me?” from his comrade’s mouth became a constant in Aieti’s mind. Likewise, in an excerpt from Finkel’s book, Aieti recalled the specifics of the accident. “Harrelson was playing a nice, relaxing country music song. I looked at those palm trees, and it reminded me of back home in American Samoa,” said Aieti.
He added, “It reminded me of the coconut trees back home and when I was a little kid playing and picking the coconuts that fell off. Everything was right, and boom, it happened so fast.”After receiving the proper help that he needed, Aieti completed the Topeka Veteran Affairs hospital program and was able to return to his regular life with his wife, Theresa, in Las Vegas. Going on to attend Juniors College, Aieti also served as a Consultant for Hall’s directorial debut and provided crucial insight into his character and the narrative.
Actor Beulah Koale collaborated with Aieti to bring a nuanced authenticity to his performance in the film. According to sources, the two met up after the filming as well, spending time with each other. Aieti also attended the premiere of ‘Thank You For Your Service’ in Regal Cinemas L.A. LIVE, Los Angeles, showcasing his endorsement for the film. Nowadays, Aieti can be found on his Instagram, where he regularly posts updates about his life post-war.
Full of joyful moments captured, surrounded by his kids, pets, and extended family, Aieti’s life offers an optimistic and fulfilling future for people who have gone through similar situations as him. Occasionally, Aieti also meets up with his former military buddy, Adam Schumann (Miles Teller’s character in the film). It’s delightful to see Aieti continuously overcoming his past traumas and engaging in his interests, like hitting the gym, savoring delicious food, and taking trips to visit family in Hawaii.