As it made its debut at the 2011 Chicago Auto Show, the 9th Marine Corps District's new trailer proved its worth as a traveling road show - carrying a modified tactical Humvee, an Indoor Simulated Marksmanship Trainer, incentive items, pull-up bars, video displays and more – allowing district recruiters the opportunity to bring more than just the standard pop-up tent and pull-up bars to the major events in their area.
“It’s large and highly visible,” said Capt. Amelia Kays, the district’s advertising officer. “The trailer is a way to draw more people to our exhibit area. Nothing replaces the personal connection that Marines build with the community when they are at public events.”
The truck and trailer are decorated with images of Marines in dress blues and proudly display numerous Marine Corps logos. The inside is customized with several televisions, two of which can be displayed on the outside, and eight DVD players. The setup is capable of playing a vast library of different Marine Corps related videos simultaneously. The trailer also carries a tactical Humvee modified with a video game system and a custom-designed sound system. The attached trailer is also self-sufficient and can run on its own generator or plugged in to an external power source.
“(The ISMT) allows us to demonstrate our mastery in marksmanship,” Kays said. “It’s also a good opportunity to talk to the public.”
The ISMT provides an insight on Marine Corps shooting, in an interactive and safe environment, and provides visitors a chance to experience a part of boot camp without having to step on the yellow footprints and have the opportunity to ask questions about the process.
“The ISMT runs several marksmanship programs, including one with the same long range target that we use at the 500-yard line at the rifle range. The program can actually be set to simulate that you are shooting from 500 yards away, allowing the Marines to truly test their marksmanship,” Kays said. “The ISMT also has a program ‘friend or foe’ which requires a split second determination as to whether someone is a threat. This particular program simulates an urban environment where it is difficult to determine who the enemy is.”
“Every booth I have been to doesn’t have videos,” said Staff Sgt. Alejandro Gonzalezdelgadillo, the enhanced marketing vehicle driver. “The trailer has eight televisions all playing videos. You don’t see that at a regular booth, so that’s the difference which sparks interest in people.”
With these features, visitors get a large amount of information about the Marine Corps browsing through the truck and asking the recruiters questions. It also helps to bring crowds of people to the truck.
“Even if they have no desire to join the Marine Corps, they still want to check it out,” Gonzalezdelgadillo said. “But either way, they spread the word and before you know it you have a crowd of people.”
The truck recently debuted at the 2011 Chicago Auto Show, one of the largest indoor events in the Midwest, where it was exposed to thousands of people.
“It’s definitely an asset at events like this,” said Sgt. George J. Papastrat, the marketing and public affairs representative of Marine Corps Recruiting Station Chicago. “Since the truck has all the televisions playing, people come to look at all the different videos and recruiters can identify qualified candidates, which they can approach.”
Its size and features make the trailer a unique tool for recruiters to attract large numbers of people with less effort, increasing the amount of interested youth they can talk to while providing information through several mediums all in one setting.
“The truck brings in the crowds without having to look for qualified prospects,” Gonzalezdelgadillo said. “It makes it easier.”
Furthermore, the televisions also play videos relative to educators, parents or other family members, which help attract more than just youth.
“They get to see what Marines really do and what life as a Marine is all about,” Gonzalez said about the visual aids. “It’s a tool to not only recruit but to educate people about the Marine Corps.”
The truck is slated to appear in future events, including the Minnesota and Iowa state fairs and Marine Week St. Louis. At each location recruiters can take advantage of its features to inform the public.
Because it is capable of running on its own generator, the trailer easily becomes a self-standing event. Along with the Humvee and pull-up bars, the trailer has all the standard tools recruiters use when setting up a booth at an event.
“The truck is a big advertising tool to display the Marine Corps website, phone numbers etc.,” said Master Sgt. Michael S. Hounshell, the 9MCD logistics chief.
According to Hounshell, the trailer will be upgraded regularly based on recruiting stations’ feedback. Some significant upgrades include an overhead projector for the simulator and attaching pull-up bars on the outside of the truck instead of using the pull-up bars setup next to the truck at events.