The Chicago Recruiting Battalion hosted the annual Army Strong! Zone during the 10 day Chicago Auto Show at McCormick Place Convention Center February 13-22, 2009. Filled with combat vehicles, flight simulators, helicopters, and chin-up bars, the display attracted tens of thousands of people.

As visitors made their way past HyundaiAca,!a,,cs and HummerAca,!a,,cs, SaabAca,!a,,cs and SubaruAca,!a,,cs, the Army Strong! Zone, covered in camouflage, and the signature yellow and black Army Strong! logo caught their attention. Visitors lined up to climb the two-story rock wall, test their flying skills in an Apache flight simulator, compete in physical training exercises led by the Mobile Drill Exhibiter Team, and create a custom-made dog tag. Aca,!A"[The Army zone] provided something fascinating and fun for the kids, and brought a smile to everyoneAca,!a,,cs faceAca,!A?, said Sgt. 1st Class Phillips, Chicago Recruiting Battalion.

Throughout the show, the Chicago Recruiting Battalion hosted senior Military officials, Army athletes, Army musicians, AmericaAca,!a,,cs Army Real Heroes and Chicago media personalities. According to Lt. Col. Ed Box, Commander, Chicago Recruiting Battalion, their participation in the nationAca,!a,,cs largest auto show increases Army awareness and creates a positive image of the Army and its Soldiers.

Sgt. 1st Class Jamie Buckley, U.S. Army Recruiting Command Entertainment Team, sang the National Anthem for the Opening Ceremony Friday, February 13. The opening ceremony was attended by Gov. Patrick Quinn and Secretary of State, Jesse White. Buckley also gave multiple performances throughout the weekend in the Army display area and greeted thousands of visitors as they shuffled in and out.

Maj. Gen. Thomas Bostick, Commanding General, U.S. Army Recruiting Command, conversed with Future Soldiers and local centers of influence, and conducted media interviews during his attendance at the Chicago Auto Show. He spoke about the importance of maintaining an interactive relationship between America and her Army and congratulated the Future Soldiers on their commitment to patriotism.

The show featured two Olympic Gold medalists from the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, Spc. Vincent Hancock and Sgt. Walter Glenn Eller III. Hancock and Eller signed autographs for hundreds of visitors on Saturday and Sunday, February 22 and 23 while a few feet away, AmericaAca,!a,,cs Army Real Hero, Sgt. 1st Class John Adams, gave away signed copies of his action figure to eager kids.

The event also hosted Army Ambassador and Chicago TV personality, Merri Dee, who spoke to local High School students, Future Soldiers and signed autographs Monday, February 16. Dee discussed the satisfying and honorable work of a Soldier and spread awareness about the over 150 plus jobs available in the Army. Aca,!A"[The Chicago Auto Show] is a chance to show people the Army offers a great opportunity to have a good, secure jobAca,!A?, said Sgt. Will Mora, Chicago Recruiting Battalion.

The Chicago Recruiting BattalionAca,!a,,cs correlating advertising theme Aca,!A"Now Hiring, Ages 17-41Aca,!A? adorned the halls of the McCormick Place for the duration of the 10 day event and helped generate over 15,000 leads and 130 on-site appointments.

In addition, visitors to the Army display could see and learn about Future Combat SystemsAca,!a,,c Class IV Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, which was on exhibit in the Army Strong! Zone. A looping video distributed information to those passing by and familiarized the general public with the future of the ArmyAca,!a,,cs combat vehicles.

Whether stopping by to climb the rock wall, take a ride in the Apache simulator, have an Army Marksmen Olympic gold medalist sign an autograph, or talk with a recruiter about joining the Army, the Army Strong! Zone provided something for all one and half million visitors at the 2009 Chicago Auto Show.