Monday, September 13, 2010

124th ASOS to be featured in national ad campaign

Extracted from the Beacon News, official newsletter of the 124th Fighter Wing (August - September 2010 public online PDF issue), released today:

The Battlefield Airmen commercial shoot in Boise required more than 50 wing personnel to make it happen. In addition to the cast, made up of ASOS TACP's, members of the maintenance group, wing staff, operations group and mission support group all pitched in with duties like prepping the aircraft, hanging a huge flag for the set, scheduling and flying and many, many more. (Photo by Drew Gardner, ANG Creative) Larger version

Note: Pictured in this photo session is A-10C 78-0624 with a targeting pod on station 10.

By Capt. Tony Vincelli, Public Affairs Officer

Filming for a series of national commercials wrapped July 19 here that will feature Tactical Air Control Party, or TACPs, from the 124th Air Support Operations Squadron and other Airmen from the Idaho Air Guard.

The "Battlefield Airmen" advertising campaign will be aimed at recruiting airmen into three highly specialized and demanding combat-related Air Guard career fields: TACP, Pararescue and Combat Control.

The Idaho Air Guard played a key role in the creation of this marketing campaign as a team of directors, producers and highly skilled film professionals from ANG Creative, the National Guard Bureau's in-house production studio, were on location for nearly a week scouting, coordinating and filming the commercial.

Both Idaho and its Airmen were on display: the mountainous desert terrain looks eerily like Afghanistan and the Air Guard's 124th Air Support Operations Squadron calls this area and its awesome training areas home.

"It's a natural fit. (Boise has) both a very strong ASOS and also an A-10 squadron, which is one of the airframes most often associated with close air support missions. It also has the terrain that allows the commercial to be shot in a similar
environment to those Battlefield Airmen are engaged in currently," said Col. Mark Auer, commander of the 182nd Air Support Operations Group and chairman of the TACP
weapons system council.

Colonel Auer, a key architect of this new marketing campaign, worked closely with the National Guard recruiting service to enlist the expertise of the skilled filmmakers, creative professionals and Air Guard members who make up ANG Creative, led by Senior Master Sgt. Rob Truvia. He also leveraged a close working relationship with Col. J.R. Compton, commander of the Idaho Air Guard's 124th Fighter Wing,
with whom he worked on several occasions in the past on the Air Director Field Advisory Council.

Colonel Compton knew that Boise, Idaho and the great training ranges nearby, unique blend of close air support assets and first-class airmen would make the ideal filming location to highlight the TACP mission. So when asked, Colonel Compton was more than happy to showcase his state and his unit in a nationwide advertising campaign.

The driving force behind the Battlefield Airmen ads is a shortage of 220 TACPs Air Guard-wide. Colonel Auer cited the following reasons for the shortage: continuing combat operations have created a real need for Battlefield Airmen, especially TACPs; and it takes years for a new TACP to become a fully-qualified member of the TACP community.

While the other career fields will be highlighted in the ads with additional filming in other locations, the need is greatest for TACPs, the colonel said.

That is why it is necessary for the Air Guard to reach out through innovative and professional marketing to educate and increase awareness of the Air Guard's dynamic career fields that are attractive to young men who, in the past, have gravitated toward Special Forces, Marines reconnaissance, and other elite military specialties.


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