Story and photo by Sgt. 1st Class Kevin Quill
43rd Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs Office
Fort Carson recently found out that invasions don’t necessarily involve tanks, artillery and other forms of military might.
Boots to Suits LLC, a company contracted by the Army to produce a reality TV show, executed a mini invasion in which Fort Carson and its Soldiers played a starring role.
The production company arrived March 30 and spent the next three days swarming the post, using Fort Carson facilities and Soldiers as tools to get the Army message out in an entertaining way.
The premise of the show is this: a potential recruit is undecided on whether or not to join the Army. The Army takes the recruit to an Army post where he or she gets to experience the life of a Soldier and find out if the military occupational specialty they’re interested in is something they would want to do. At the end of each episode the recruit makes the decision to join the Army or not.
In this case, the recruit was Josh Johnson from Minnesota and the MOS was 63B – light-wheel vehicle mechanic.
The first day was spent primarily downrange where Johnson joined mechanics from the 43rd Sustainment Brigade’s 68th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, as they ran through a vehicle recovery scenario while under simulated attack. Johnson not only got an idea of what being a 63B in combat is all about, he also got to hang out and get to know his “battle buddies,” mechanics from the 68th. This is an important aspect to the show; the Army wants to promote not only its jobs, but its people.
The next day Johnson got to try his luck at the climbing wall on post while Soldiers from the 43rd SB provided both vocal and physical support. Sgt. 1st Class Andrew Puls from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 68th CSSB, served as Johnson’s mentor throughout the show and thought that this kind of event was important for any potential mechanic.
“Mechanics are going to get to see that they’re joining for more than just to be mechanics,” he said. “They’re going to get to do all the fun stuff as well.”
The final day was divided between the Close Combat Tactical Trainer, where Johnson got to see what combat in a tactical vehicle might be like, and the 68th CSSB motor pool, where he helped perform maintenance on a Humvee.
All this was part of an Army effort to reach potential recruits in an ever-changing information environment, something the 30-second Army commercials may not be able to do.
“As technology becomes more readily available, as (digital video recorders) are out there and people are fast-forwarding through commercials, the story of the Army is getting missed. So with reality
television, the Army becomes the star,” said Maj. Gregory Galligan, the show’s program manager.
Mixing civilians with Soldiers is not always easy, but both sides were more than up for the challenge.
“Since we are working for the Army, you guys kind of opened the doors for us,” said Terry Southern, the show’s co-creator along with actor Ricky Schroder. “You guys are more hospitable than some of the civilian places we have to go to. It’s been a great experience.”
The film crew didn’t actually shoot Johnson’s decision while at Fort Carson. That will be done in Las Vegas at the National Hot Rod Association track after he gets to talk to a former 63B who is now a dragster mechanic.
“The Recruit” or “GI Jobs” are two possible titles for the show and the episode filmed at Fort Carson is one of two pilots. Look for it in late summer or early fall on cable television.