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Ric Arthur plays one of two Marines who abduct and rape an Okinawan schoolgirl in "The First Breath of Tengan Rei," an independent film loosely based on a 1995 incident on Okinawa. Arthur was a Marine training on Okinawa during the time two Marines and a Navy medic were tried for the crime in a Japanese court.
Ric Arthur plays one of two Marines who abduct and rape an Okinawan schoolgirl in "The First Breath of Tengan Rei," an independent film loosely based on a 1995 incident on Okinawa. Arthur was a Marine training on Okinawa during the time two Marines and a Navy medic were tried for the crime in a Japanese court. (Zoe MacKenzie Photography)

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Ric Arthur returned to familiar territory last year during the filming of "The First Breath of Tengan Rei."

The 34-year-old Chicago actor was cast in the role of one of two Marines who abduct and rape an Okinawa schoolgirl, who journeys to the U.S. a decade later to confront the men who ruined her life.

It’s a story loosely based on the 1995 sexual assault of a 12-year-old girl abducted by two Marines and a Navy corpsman in the village of Kin, outside Camp Hansen.

And that’s where Arthur was from November 1995 to May 1996.

"I was an infantry rifleman with 3rd Regiment, 5th Marines out of Camp Pendleton," Arthur said in a telephone interview from his Chicago home. "We were deployed to Okinawa for six months of training."

His unit arrived in the midst of the uproar over the incident that had occurred on Labor Day.

"Prior to deployment everyone was talking about how great it’d be on Okinawa, that we’d be training really hard, but partying hard," Arthur said.

"But just before we left we had a battalion meeting concerning the rape incident and when we got there everything was locked down."

Arthur said he wasn’t sure what the part entailed until he read the script. "When I first got the script and started talking about it, I paused and said, ‘Hey, I know about this,’ " Arthur said.

He said it’s the bad 1 percent of Marines who commit crimes that give the whole Corps a bad reputation — a reputation that taints them when they go out in public.

Arthur said he appreciated how the directors decided to not approach the story as anti-military propaganda.

"Instead, like all good filmmakers they tried to tell a story, leaving it up to the audience to ask their own questions, come to their own conclusions," he said.

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