Drum Soldiers to Appear in Recruiting Ads
October 22, 2007
FORT DRUM, N.Y. (Army News Service, Oct. 21, 2007) - A film crew descended on Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield Oct. 10-11 to shoot scenes for their latest production, a series of commercials for the Army Strong recruiting ad campaign.
Scenes for two of the five commercials were shot at the airfield using 10th Combat Aviation Brigade Soldiers as local talent.
"There's no better way to show what it's like to be a Soldier than by filming commercials at Army posts and installations, using the real people who wear the Army Combat Uniform on a daily basis," said John Campbell, advertising production manager, U.S. Army Accessions Command. "Soldiers are real people with real stories to tell about where they came from and what military service means to them. No Hollywood backdrop or movie star could achieve the same realism. And we owe that level of realism to the young Americans who choose to join the Army each day."
To find Soldiers to appear in the upcoming commercials, representatives from the U.S. Army Accessions Command and McCann Erickson Advertising Agency hosted a Brigade-wide casting call Aug. 14-16 at Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield.
Sgt. Charles Neal, a UH-60 Blackhawk mechanic with A Company, 3-10 General Support Aviation Battalion, was selected from among the Brigade's top Soldiers to take the lead in a spot titled "Fitting the Pieces."
"I was really excited for the opportunity to star in the commercial," Sgt. Neal said, "but I was most excited about giving my family the opportunity to see what I do. They're always asking what I do in the military, but sometimes it's hard to explain it. This will give them the chance to see exactly what I do, and how much I love the Army."
The commercial first shows Sgt. Neal working on his aircraft in a military hangar, then shows him after he has transitioned to a civilian life, running his own auto shop and leading a team of mechanics in a private business. Mr. Campbell said the commercial is designed to show how skills learned in the military can translate to a successful career as a civilian.
Sgt. Neal said he hopes the new series of Army Strong commercials will help people see that being in the Army means more than just being an infantryman fighting on the front lines.
"Hopefully, people will see a different side of the Army, and be inspired to join," he said. "And hopefully, I inspired some of them to come to aviation!"
Scenes for the second commercial, "Hand Signals," feature Spc. Jeffrey van Geete, a fueler with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 10th CAB, standing on a landing strip at night guiding in a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter airlifting a load of medical supplies. As Spc. van Geete signals the helicopter to drop the sling load, a group of Soldiers rushes in to secure and recover the supplies.
Footage from that scene will be added to scenes shot at Fort Worth, Texas, showing Soldiers in various jobs using hand signals to communicate. In the last scene of the commercial, a Soldier is walking down the street when a citizen stops to shake his hand - saying "thank you" without saying a word.
"'Fitting the Pieces' is an example of what benefits the Army has to offer in terms of experience and education," Mr. Campbell explained. "Meanwhile, 'Hand Signals' addresses service to the nation. Both messages are real, carrying messages that appeal to Americans from the streets of New York to the gravel roads of Tennessee."
For Spc. van Geete, participating in the "Hand Signals" Army Strong commercial was a chance to help gain support for U.S. troops and what they are accomplishing daily.
Spc. Van Geete, a Canadian citizen, said he joined the U.S. Army because "the United States champions a lot of ideals that should be world ideals."
"To not support that, while expecting to benefit from those ideals, is wrong in my opinion," he said. "If I can use showing what I do as a recruiting tool, and get others to support us, then that's important to me."
Mr. Campbell said the goal of the commercials is to show America the value of being a Soldier, and what it is like to be "Army Strong."
Col. Erik Peterson, commander of the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, said it was an honor to support Accessions Command in their effort to produce a quality product.
"I believe Army recruiting and advertizing has come a long way, and I feel the "Army Strong" campaign gets at the essence of who and what we are. I'm looking forward to seeing our great troops staring in these new spots."
Col. Peterson said he is proud of the role his Soldiers played in the production process.
"This was an exceptional opportunity to showcase our outstanding 10th Combat Aviation Soldiers. Our Soldiers are our credentials and I'm pleased that we'll have an opportunity to share some of our finest with America during this nationwide campaign."
The 30-second television spots are scheduled to air nationwide during college football bowl season in January.