Tuesday, August 11, 2009

"We don't have time for pants"

A few months ago I wrote a blog called "Fame or Something Like it." I was doing an Air Force Reserve tour at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., and in working up publicity for our Joint Service Open House (air show), I needed to find a celebrity of some sort to fly with the USAF Thunderbirds. This was harder than you'd think.

After contacting Sully of the Hudson Miracle Landing and finding he wasn't available, I got in touch with his First Officer Jeff Skiles. He agreed to come to Andrews to fly during our airshow, but when the Thunderbirds suggested that he could do it in his hometown of Milwaukee, he jumped ship. (get it? a pilot who landed a disabled jet 'jumping ship'?)

And as my blog said, I cast the line for an ever bigger fish, got a bite... and someone else got to reel him in. The reveal is much overdue, but the person was none other than Stephen Colbert! He ended up doing the flight in New York and they showed it during his Operation Iraqi Stephen USO tour.

So, here for your viewing pleasure are the clips of his flight.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Operation Iraqi Stephen - Fallback Position - Air Force Thunderbirds
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorMeryl Streep

And we got even more airtime in his re-report: (warning- there's some Stephen Colbert on Tom Hanks kissing in this clip-NOT a part of his Thunderbird flight!)
The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Re-Report - Lost Treasures of Babylon
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorMeryl Streep

Oh, who did we end up flying with us at the Andrews show? WTOP radio's national security correspondent, JJ Green. He did a 9-part series on his flight. Excellent coverage.
We also participated in the Hero Flight Program, which honors a local hero and shows the public the every-day heroism of the U.S. Air Force. Our flyer was a Fairfax County Police Officer, Brian Bowers, who helped evacuate an apartment complex set ablaze by a suicidal man. Unfortunately, the local press didn't run the story of his heroism or flight. Maybe I'll post it here as one of my blogs. They were both great to work with and the Thunderbirds were an impressive crew.

I'm so glad they got the coverage they deserve on The Colbert Report, even if Andrews AFB wasn't mentioned. It all comes down to creative ways to tell our story to the American public and beyond. Someday, maybe I'll be famous enough to get my own Thunderbird flight. Come on, people! Follow my blog! Only a couple million more to go before I make it big! :-)

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