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Getting Prospective Recruits ‘In Our Boots’

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U.S. Army
Monday, April 29, 2019

A new Army marketing campaign aims to give potential recruits a firsthand view of real missions conducted by soldiers.

“In Our Boots,” launched in April, uses high-intensity virtual reality videos to immerse viewers in four scenarios: special operations sniper, explosive ordnance disposal technician, tank commander and unmanned aircraft systems operator.

“Readiness is the Army’s number one priority, and readiness starts with recruiting,” Maj. Gen. Frank M. Muth, commander of the U.S. Army Recruiting Command, said in a press release.

Achieving consistent recruiting goals has proved difficult for the Army recently—last year, there was a shortfall of 6,500 new soldiers. “We have to connect with people where they are to find those qualified individuals for Army service,” Muth said. 

Casey Wardynski, assistant secretary of the Army for manpower and reserve affairs, said during the recent Association of the U.S. Army Global Force Symposium and Exposition that today’s youth live in a world of YouTube, gaming and streaming.

“It’s up to us to bring the right technologies to bear to give them a balanced picture … and ensure we are the first choice,” Wardynski said.

With the virtual reality technology of “In Our Boots,” users can imagine themselves as a soldier with a unit inside a Chinook helicopter. From there, they can select one of the four specific missions, and experience a first-person perspective of the mission narrated by an Army subject-matter expert. For example, in the tank commander mission, users lead four M1 Abrams tanks on an ambush to take out enemy armored vehicles.

The hope is that young people will engage with the authentic, immersive viewpoint and see what success looks like in the U.S. Army.

“In Our Boots” is accessible through a landing page (www.goarmy.com/inourboots) and also via an app available on iOS, Google Play and Oculus GO stores.