Recruiters from the 9th Marine Corps District are breathing in that new car smell of the new fleet of Event Marketing Vehicles - the red High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles.
Eight smaller, more environmentally friendly, less expensive, recruiting-tactical Hummer H3s have arrived.
The District-leased H3s will supplant the two existing EMVs. One will be maintained at each of the eight recruiting stations.
Reduced costs, allowing decentralized control to recruiting station commanders, and a greater ability for a recruiting station to saturate its marketing opportunities is why the 9th MCD added with the H3s, said Capt. Kirk Dooley, District Marketing Officer.
Under the old EMV program, recruiters were limited to two vehicles which were shared by all recruiting stations to cover a myriad of community relations opportunities, Enhanced Area Canvassing events, and high school visits.
“Having the H3 at the RS-level will allow me to get into more (EAC) events and last-minute events,” said Sgt Matthew Shelato, RS St. Louis Marketing and Public Affairs Representative.
Gunnery Sgt Lonnell V. Jones, SNCOIC of RSS Crown Point, RS Chicago, said he used the old EMV whenever he could. “But having our own vehicle will help us to logistically plan for all of our events,” he said. “Now we won’t have to compete with the other RSs.”
The old program was expensive to maintain because of maintenance and transportation costs. Although there was an initial outlay of money spent on graphics, and audio and video upgrades for the new vehicles, this new program is still cheaper to maintain, and will cost much less than in subsequent years, said Dooley.
While the primary functions of the original olive-drab HMMWVs are as cargo/troop carriers, armament carriers, and TOW missile system carriers – a newer prototype was deemed necessary for recruiting’s special needs. Several years ago, District obtained a modified militarized version of the HMMVW, painted a dazzling red with sword decals and a state-of-the-art sound system, and maintained it at 9th MCD. A civilianized hard-back EMV later was added and staged at RS Chicago. Designed for the single purpose of attracting America’s youth, the vehicles proved successful in providing recruiters with the opportunity for face-to-face interaction with potential applicants.
Although the H3 EMV has the capability to ford 24 inches of water at 5 mph, can scale a 60 per cent slope, and climb a 16-inch vertical wall, it’s not a battle-proven tactical vehicle. Yet, its purpose remains the same: to recruit.
And to identify with today’s technically and visually-stimulated youth, its appearance has been modified yet again.
These H3s have on-board televisions designed to play motivational recruiting DVDs to keep the attention of our target-market age group and give the recruiter a good opportunity to talk with them.
“It’s definitely a midsize, smaller than you might expect of a hummer,” Dooley said, “but they have a very striking and unique design for the novelty value needed in an EMV.”
The basic image of the EMV, though, is not new. The design keeps with the proven, yet simple theme of the old EMVs, incorporating the enlisted and officer's sword motif, unique to the Marine Corps.
“The design reflects that which is enduring and noble; unchanging,” Dooley said. “The iconic use of the swords, representative of the Dress Blue uniform, should symbolize what today’s youth want to become, rather than currently are.”
Previously, two Marines - an Extended Active Duty recruiter stationed at RS Chicago and a recruiter at District were assigned to accompany each of the old EMVs at EAC, high school, and community relations events to assist with recruiting. With the introduction of the H3s, these two billets will rotate back into production recruiters, Dooley said.
The H3 has the guts to perform in grueling desert races over dry riverbeds in events such as the Baja 1000, and features an advertising campaign promising adventure. District’s basic hope is that potential applicants make the analogy to the attributes of the Corps.