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'Captain Marvel' Is The Recruiting Tool Of The Air Force's Dreams
After a minute of explosions, alien spacecraft, and a crash-landing in a Blockbuster — so you know it takes place in the ‘90s — the new trailer for the upcoming Marvel film shows us the real origins of Air Force Col. Carol Danvers. Danvers grows from downtrodden adolescent to determined Air Force cadet, to outstanding fighter pilot, to cosmically-powered warfighter in the span of a few frames.
“I’m not what you think I am,” quips Brie Larson’s as the titular Captain Marvel, before bursting with roiling energy; your next badass superheroine is here to stay.
If this seems familiar, it should. The trailer evokes old Department of Defense recruiting commercials, like a young woman’s transformation from student to Marine in last year’s recruiting spot, “Battle Up.” It’s a common hook in military recruiting ads: You tell a life story, or a coming-of-age tale, in 60 seconds flat. After all, joining the military to transform into the pinnacle of martial perfection, and thus become a national superhero in your own right, isn’t a new lure. Anyone remember that one commercial involving a mameluke-sword-wielding Marine in dress blues vanquishing a demon?
The similarity is likely accidental, as is the trailer’s release on the Air Force’s 71st birthday. But those similarities underscore an intriguing facet of the upcoming Marvel movie: With Carol Danvers poised to take over the mantle of tentpole hero from contractually-liberated Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans, the new trailer is a potentially powerful recruiting tool for a service eyeing an ambitious expansion amid an ongoing pilot shortage.
The transformation of Col. Carol DanversMarvel Studios
Captain Marvel arrives at an inflection point in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with Col. Danvers expected to (eventually) pick up where Avengers: Infinity War left off with an unmitigated beatdown on purple space Hitler, Thanos. But Danvers’ introduction to the MCU also comes amid some veritable torch-passing, with longtime heroes Captain America and Iron Man (contractually) set to hang up their shields and privately-owned weapons of mass destruction and walk off into the sunset. Sure, fellow Air Force pilot James “War Machine” Rhodes and pararescue airman Sam “The Falcon” Wilson could step into those roles (as they have in the comics), but it’s more likely that the next decade of movies will see Danvers as the beating heart of the MCU.
“The Air Force partners on any number of entertainment projects to ensure the depiction of Airmen and the Air Force mission is accurate and authentic,” Todd Fleming, chief of the Community and Public Outreach Division at Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs, told Task & Purpose via email. “Our partnership with ‘Capt Marvel’ [sic] helped ensure the character's time in the Air Force and backstory was presented accurately. It also highlighted the importance of the Air Force to our national defense.”
This means that, instead of an Army O-3 and a drunken defense contractor, Marvel’s figurehead will be a female Air Force pilot — the perfect symbol for a force focused on recruiting and retaining pilots. And while Fleming emphasized that the Air Force’s collaboration with Marvel was not part of an explicit recruitment strategy, she did praise the film’s portrayal of Danvers’ time in the service.
“[Captain Marvel] is not part of a recruiting strategy but we would expect that audiences seeing a strong Air Force heroine, whose story is in line with the story of many of our Airmen, would be positively received,” Fleming said.
The spotlight on airmen comes at a time when the Air Force, like the other services, is hunting for the next generation of pilots. The Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps are all short 25% of their pilot billets, according to a GAO report published this summer; the Air Force in particular has doled out cash incentives like candy in a vain effort to prevent pilots from defecting to the private sector. Indeed, the branch’s plan to increase its number of squadrons by 76 to Cold War levels will require an additional 40,000 personnel, further straining the service’s recruitment capabilities. At the Air Force Academy, female cadets are increasingly encouraged to vie for pilot spots to help bridge that gap.
“It is in the interest of the Air Force for the public to understand the importance of the Air Force to our national defense.” Flemming said. “[And] the main character's story also highlights the incredible work that our Airmen do every day.”
Indeed, the Air Force is working hand-in-hand with Marvel as it has since the production of Iron Man in 2008 to help ensure that Larson’s Danvers reflects the life of an Air Force pilot through and through, including access to “Airmen, installations, and capabilities to ensure the depiction is as accurate as possible,” Fleming told Task & Purpose.
“When the Air Force and OSD reviews a script and elects to support a project, we have determined that the movie portrays the Air Force and military in an accurate way and that is in the service's interest to partner on the project,” he added.
And it’s clear Larson is taking her new role as America’s foremost airman seriously. In March, Marvel Studios announced the official start of production on Captain Marvel with a photo of Larson, and Air Force Brig. Gen. Jeannie M. Leavitt, then-commander of the 57th Wing and the service’s first female fighter pilot, atop an F-15 at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada
Brie Larson (left) gets hands-on help from Brig. Gen. Jeannie Leavitt, 57th Wing Commander (right), on a recent trip to Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada to research her character, Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel.Marvel Studios/Brad Baruh
"I was very impressed with how seriously Brie took the role and how much she wanted to ensure it was accurate,” Leavitt said of Larson’s visit, which included a flight in an F-16 and a tour of the Gulf War-era F-15. “She spent a lot of time with our pilots, understanding what it meant to be a fighter pilot and how we do certain things. And so I was very impressed by that dedication she showed and how seriously she took the role."
"She really got to experience what it's like to fly in a high-performance fighter jet,” Leavitt told T&P.; “She could give the specifics of how much she enjoyed it, but I think she had a great time."
A Marine wanted for killing his mother's boyfriend reportedly escaped police by hiding inside an RV they'd spent hours searching before towing it to a parking lot, where he escaped under the cover of darkness.
It wasn't until more than two weeks later authorities finally caught up to Michael Brown at his mom's home, which was the scene of the crime.
Brown stuffed himself into a tight spot in his camper during an hours-long search of the vehicle on Nov. 10, according to NBC affiliate WSLS in Virginia. A day earlier, cops said Brown fatally shot his mother's boyfriend, Rodney Brown. The AWOL Marine remained on the lam until Nov. 27, where he was finally apprehended without incident.
No motive is yet known for last week's Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard shooting tragedy, which appears to have been a random act of violence in which the sailor who fatally shot two civilian workers and himself did not know them and did not plan his actions ahead of time, shipyard commander Capt. Greg Burton said in an "All Hands" message sent out Friday.
Machinist's Mate Auxiliary Fireman Gabriel Antonio Romero of San Antonio, an armed watch-stander on the attack submarine USS Columbia, shot three civilian workers Dec. 4 and then turned a gun on himself while the sub rested in dry dock 2 for a major overhaul, the Navy said.
"The investigation continues, but there is currently no known motive and no information to indicate the sailor knew any of the victims," Burton said.
SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea said it had successfully conducted another test at a satellite launch site, the latest in a string of developments aimed at "restraining and overpowering the nuclear threat of the U.S.", state news agency KCNA reported on Saturday.
The test was conducted on Friday at the Sohae satellite launch site, KCNA said, citing a spokesman for North Korea's Academy of Defence Science, without specifying what sort of testing occurred.
Since the Washington Post first published the "Afghanistan papers," I have been reminded of a scene from "Apocalypse Now Redux" in which Army Col. Walter Kurtz reads to the soldier assigned to kill him two Time magazine articles showing how the American people had been lied to about Vietnam by both the Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon administrations.
In one of the articles, a British counterinsurgency expert tells Nixon that "things felt much better and smelled much better" during his visit to Vietnam.
"How do they smell to you, soldier?" Kurtz asks.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Erik Prince, the controversial private security executive and prominent supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump, made a secret visit to Venezuela last month and met Vice President Delcy Rodriguez, one of socialist leader Nicolas Maduro's closest and most outspoken allies, according to five sources familiar with the matter.