U.S. Army Exhibit Attracts Record Crowds at the 2010 Chicago Auto Show
March 2, 2010
The 2010 Chicago Auto Show attracting over two million spectators and covering 1.5 million square feet is the largest auto show in the nation, and the United States Army exhibit was one of the main attractions.
The Chicago Recruiting Battalion hosted a multitude of Army assets throughout the 10-day Auto Show at the McCormick Place Convention Center February 12-21. The never-ending lines to participate in either the interactive displays or talk with Soldiers were a constant from the first day to the last. Some of the Soldiers that assisted the Chicago Recruiting Battalion with the massive crowds at the show, were Drill Sergeants from the 'Drill Sergeant Exhibitor Program' (DSEP), Accessions Support Brigade, Fort Knox, KY; Drill Sergeants from Fort Monroe VA, Fort Benning, GA and Fort Jackson, SC and a local USAR Drill Sergeant Unit, Rockford, IL; Medical personnel from Fort Knox and Soldiers from the surrounding Chicago Recruiting Companies. All were present to share their personal Soldier experiences and assist the tens of thousands of enthusiastic visitors wanting to catch a glimpse of the many Army assets.
The Army exhibit featured: The Army-Branded Harley Davidson Motorcycle in ACU print; The massive Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle (MRAP); a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected All-Terrain Vehicle (MATV); The Defender Simulator Semi-Truck where Soldiers can rehearse combat missions; A Video Game Tent; The Remote-Control Racing Challenge with miniature Army race cars; The Army Orange County Chopper; A Surgical Medical Tent used in a Combat Zone; The NHRA Dragster; The Apache Simulator; The ever-popular Dog-Tag Machine; An Interview Booth and a 'Point of Sale' Electronic Lead Generation System, that was used to pre-qualify candidates for enlistment and track leads and Centers of Influence (COIs).
Chicago Recruiting Battalion Commander, Lt Col. Ed Box, notes that the success of the Auto Show for the Army was a true team effort with outstanding support from the United States Army Accessions Command (USAAC), Accessions Support Brigade (ASB), Fort Knox, KY, Lt. Col Dave Stewart, Battalion Commander, Mission Support Battalion; Army Medical Battalion (AMEDD), Lt. Col Ron Walker, Battalion Commander; Professors of Military Science (PMS) from area universities, including Lt. Col. Jeff Collins, University of Chicago (UIC); and many local United States Army Reserve (USAR) partners as well. "Each and every one of our partners played a huge part in the total success of the 2010 Chicago Auto Show for the United States Army and we could not have done it with out their great teamwork," said Box.
The collaboration proved to be quite a success for the Chicago Recruiting Battalion, as they collected greater than 15 Thousand Leads, conducted over a hundred interviews inside the Point of Sale Booth and participated in a large number of media engagements. Of the two million spectators to the CAS, almost 15,000 people asked for more information regarding opportunities for service in the Army. Box concluded with, "The participation in the Chicago Auto Show helped us expand our market and attract a large number of COIs, that will be a part of our Grass Roots Advisory Board. We now have well over 700 members due to the success of this year's show."
Helping to attract the crowds was Gold-Star Family Member and Musician, Joe Cantafio of the '101st Rock Division Band.' Cantafio, a member of the Chicago Recruiting Battalion's Grass Roots Advisory Board, performed three shows a day for six days of the CAS. Cantafio's superb display of talent was a huge success in helping the Army create additional awareness and support. Joining Cantafio in some of the performances were 'Miss Illinois,' Erin O'Conner and Jonathan Brant, formerly the Bass Player from the rock band 'Cheap Trick.' "Once again, Chrysler and GM could take a lesson from the United States Army on how to attract enthusiastic Chicagoans to their displays. The Army assets outshined any other exhibit at the Chicago Auto Show," stated the passionate Cantafio.
U. S. Army Public Affairs-Midwest Director, Lt. Col. Scott R. Bleichwehl added that the Chicago Auto Show offered an excellent opportunity to showcase Soldiers, equipment and the many opportunities for service the Army provides.