Flash: Army Recruiters Offer Climbing, Fun Stuff on UC Campus

By Judith Scherr
Friday November 09, 2007

Second Lt. Joseph Perkins described it as a small carnival—with its Humvee, Apache Helicopter simulator and climbing wall. A graduate of UC Berkeley, Perkins was one of the army recruiters on campus on Friday.  

Perkins hasn’t seen combat. But if he was called to Iraq, he said he’d go. “I signed up,” he said. 

“Get your free dog tags here,” one of the young men called out to those passing by. It was noon on Friday, day two of the three-day marketing effort to promote the army and ROTC on campus. 

“We’re promoting the army with games and personalized ID tags,” Filipe Tamayo told the Planet. Tamayo works for LAX, a marketing agency that sends teams of marketers all over the country to air shows, concerts and festivals to promote the army. They work in tandem with the recruiters. 

They’ll be next to Haas Pavilion on Bancroft Way on campus from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and in Arizona next week. 

Asked why he doesn’t join the army, Tamayo hesitated, then said it’s because he has the job with the marketing firm that he likes. 

Others should join, he said. “Basically, the army opens a lot of opportunities for youth,” he said.  

During the 20 minutes or so the Daily Planet hung around the area, only one person tried out the climbing wall and another one went into the helicopter simulator. A few picked up free dog tags.  

Most walked by. No one protested. 

Joseph Hill, a Laney College student tried out the helicopter, explaining the video simulation had him clearing an area. “It was a simulation of an attack; I cleared the way for a mission to make sure they could get through,” he said. “It’s pretty cool; it’s high tech.”  

Hill said when he was 18 he’d tried to sign up for the military, but asthma kept him out. 

Over at the climbing wall, marked on its side with “Go army.com,” Dwight Crane easily made it up to the top. 

“It’s fun,” Crow told the Planet after taking off his safety helmet. Crow, a senior in chemistry, said he didn’t think the marketing efforts could change the mind of anyone who wasn’t already planning on joining the army.  

He has no plans to join and shook his head “no” when asked if he supports the war. 

Crow doesn’t oppose the military. “It’s not the army, it’s the politicians,” he said.