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Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Filming of "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" at White Sands Missile Range, N.M. Photo Credit: Jaimie Trueblood ? 2009 DreamWorks LLC and Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved. Hasbro, TRANSFORMERS and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro. ?2009 Hasbro. All Rights Reserved.
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Hollywood 'transforms' Holloman yet again

Posted 6/26/2009   Updated 6/26/2009 Email story   Print story


by Airman 1st Class Sondra Escutia
49th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

6/26/2009 - HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- Michael Bay and his heroic Autobots and evil Decepticons are back at it again with this summer's much-anticipated "Transforms: Revenge of the Fallen," and once again two bases in Southern New Mexico play important roles in the film.

The movie, which opened officially June 24, features both Holloman Air Force Base and White Sands Missile Range prominently throughout the two-and-a-half hour sequel to the 2007 blockbuster, Transformers.

Production on the film began in April 2008 with the DreamWorks/Paramount Pictures production crew making their way to Alamogordo, N.M. to build a set that was twice as big as the one built in 2006. Filming began in September with some areas of Holloman serving as the Middle East and a location on White Sands Missile Range serving as Egypt.

More than 100 Holloman Airmen were given the opportunity to be extras in the film, while numerous personnel worked behind the scenes to ensure everything went according to the script.

"We began our support in April 2008 and continued through the end of January 2009," said Col. William Goad, 49th Materiel Maintenance Group commander and Holloman project officer for the Transformers filming. "We setup regular meeting times each week to facilitate communication between the production crew, location manager and our Air Force subject matter experts."

The subject matter experts for Holloman "really kept the Holloman production on track," while they continued to keep issues moving and provide answers for everyone involved, Goad said. The SMEs that helped keep the Transformers production on track and on target included Lt. Col. Mike Hernandez, 7th Fighter Squadron commander and project air boss; Tech. Sgt. Raymond Lara from the 49th Logistics Readiness squadron; Mr. Teddy Beldad, installation security, and Ms. Terri Bood, a real estate agent from the 49th Civil Engineer Squadron.

Representatives from the 49th Fighter Wing Public Affairs office acted as SMEs between the Air Force and the DreamWorks crew. One PA representative, Mr. Arlan Ponder, worked closely with the crew from the first location scout until the cleanup was complete.

"This was an experience I will never forget," Mr. Ponder said. "We learned a tremendous amount about Hollywood and its relationship with the Department of Defense. From the moment we received the location scout request we worked closely with both DreamWorks and our Los Angeles PA office to make sure the Air Force was represented in the best light possible."

Josh Duhamel stated in the first film, "We can't do this without the Air Force" and that statement applies to the sequel as well.

"The Air Force and Department of Defense approved participation in this film because it offered the unique opportunity to highlight our capabilities and to showcase our Airmen to a worldwide audience," Colonel Goad said. "Both films provide very real opportunities to showcase Air Force aircraft and their capabilities."

After making its feature film debut in the original "Transformers" movie, the F-22A Raptor was back in action for the sequel. One of Holloman's own F-22s, featuring the "HO" tailflash, was filmed dropping munitions and could be featured in the film.

Holloman airfield manager, Mr. Sean Brady, and his staff coordinated all airfield support during the filming. He said this was a great opportunity to showcase Holloman's F-22 in a powerfully dynamic way.

"I have not seen the film yet, however I know that the DreamWorks staff was in awe of the [F-22]," he said. "I would expect that it is portrayed in a way that only Hollywood could imagine."

Additional aircraft such as six F-16 Fighting Falcons, two C-17 Globemasters, an E-3 Sentry and two A-10 Thunderbolt II "Warthog" tank-killers from around the Air Force were flown in to take part in the filming. Other equipment and personnel used in the White Sands portion of filming included the Army's Golden Knights parachute team, two Abrams tanks, two Bradley tanks, two missile-launcher vehicles and two armored personnel carriers.

Over 200 personnel from Holloman, White Sands and Fort Bliss also played roles as extras in the film, while personnel and equipment at locations such as Edward Air Force Base and Davis Monthan Air Force Base hosted the DoD approved film.

This isn't the first time Holloman has supported a production crew with personnel and assets, Mr. Ponder said.

"In May 2006, the first 'Transformers' was filmed here. At that time it was the largest DoD approved movie since 'Black Hawk Down,'" he said. "More recently, a new Stargate series, 'Stargate Universe,' was filmed here in May 2009 and Holloman has been scouted for productions like the last Indiana Jones and 'Terminator 4.'"

Capt. Bryon McGarry, deputy director or the Air Force Entertainment Liaison Office in Los Angeles, said Holloman offers a filming opportunity that "makes Hollywood drool."

"New Mexico and Holloman specifically offer film and TV productions an amazing amount of inherent production value," he said. "Holloman's environment, people, assets and in-place subject matter expertise across a myriad number of specialties make it a shining example to Hollywood of what the Air Force can bring to the table to make a production more plausible, realistic and just awesome overall."

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