News Story Manager

National Guard works with district to film new commercial

Los Angeles District
Published May 17, 2013
Steve McCombs, an occupational safety and health specialist with the Corps of Engineers' Los Angeles District, looks on as a crew films a scene for the National Guard's new recruiting commercial.  The scene was shot at Whittier Narrows Park, a flood control area managed by the district, March 8.  The district handles numerous permit requests to film at other locations the district manages, including the Los Angeles River.

Steve McCombs, an occupational safety and health specialist with the Corps of Engineers' Los Angeles District, looks on as a crew films a scene for the National Guard's new recruiting commercial. The scene was shot at Whittier Narrows Park, a flood control area managed by the district, March 8. The district handles numerous permit requests to film at other locations the district manages, including the Los Angeles River.

A civilian helicopter transporting a film crew circles above an Army Blackhawk helicopter as it executes a simulated rooftop evacuation on the set of the Army National Guard's new recruiting commercial.  The National Guard worked with the Los Angeles District to secure a filming permit for the shoot, which took place at Whittier Narrows Park March 8.

A civilian helicopter transporting a film crew circles above an Army Blackhawk helicopter as it executes a simulated rooftop evacuation on the set of the Army National Guard's new recruiting commercial. The National Guard worked with the Los Angeles District to secure a filming permit for the shoot, which took place at Whittier Narrows Park March 8.

A civilian helicopter transporting a film crew circles above an Army Blackhawk helicopter as it executes a simulated rooftop evacuation on the set of the Army National Guard's new recruiting commercial.  The National Guard worked with the Los Angeles District to secure a filming permit for the shoot, which took place at Whittier Narrows Park March 8.

A civilian helicopter transporting a film crew circles above an Army Blackhawk helicopter as it executes a simulated rooftop evacuation on the set of the Army National Guard's new recruiting commercial. The National Guard worked with the Los Angeles District to secure a filming permit for the shoot, which took place at Whittier Narrows Park March 8.

An Army National Guard Blackhawk helicopter executes a simulated rooftop evacuation on the set of a new recruitment commercial filmed at Whittier Narrows Park near Los Angeles.  The National Guard and the commercial's director, Zach Snyder, worked with the Los Angeles District to obtain filming permits for the shoot. (USACE photo by David A. Salazar)

An Army National Guard Blackhawk helicopter executes a simulated rooftop evacuation on the set of a new recruitment commercial filmed at Whittier Narrows Park near Los Angeles. The National Guard and the commercial's director, Zach Snyder, worked with the Los Angeles District to obtain filming permits for the shoot. (USACE photo by David A. Salazar)

LOS ANGELES—The skies darkened as an Army National Guard Black Hawk helicopter hovered over a home submerged in murky, churning waters.

A little girl clad in a light blue hoodie and pink pajama pants cowered atop the shingled roof as a soldier rappelled heroically from the helicopter.  Upon landing, the girl ran to meet the soldier’s embrace, and the two ascended to safety from the flooded vestiges.

The harrowing rescue was a scene in the Army National Guard’s newest recruitment commercial filmed at the Whittier Narrows Recreation Area, part of the Whittier Narrows Flood Control Basin, which is managed by the Los Angeles District. 

The shoot took place in early March, but the Army National Guard launched the new commercial May 10, as part of a campaign called “Soldiers of Steel.” The commercial calls attention to similarities between National Guard soldiers and Superman, the subject of the film “Man of Steel,” which is scheduled to be released in theaters June 14, which also coincides with the Army’s birthday.  “Man of Steel” director Zack Snyder also directed the new commercials.

Due to the complexity of the filming conducted at Whittier Narrows Recreation Area, Steve McCombs, a district occupational and safety specialist, was on hand to observe the production.

“We’re out here today in the Whittier Narrows Recreation Area and we’re supporting the filming of an Army National Guard commercial, which is involving the use of a Black Hawk helicopter, fast rope techniques, cranes, wind machines,” McCombs said.  “We’ve got about 100 people out here that are permitted to do the filming.”

Much of the property owned by the federal government can be made available for filming projects and permits can be obtained by applying with the respective federal agency.  In the district’s case, permits can be obtained by applying with the district’s asset management section. 

“The Corps of Engineers was very supportive in helping us.  Securing this location is one of the added benefits of working with the Corps.  It was very flexible,” said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Lisa Bryan, the Army National Guard’s new media program manager in charge of the service’s social media, web design, and advertising.  “The Corps is a great agency to work with.  Like with anything, you want to stage yourself for success and believe me, working with the Corps definitely helped us.  We look forward just look forward to the successful and continued relationship that we have working with the Corps of Engineers.”