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Tinker crews in movie spotlight

Nathan Poppe Published: July 3, 2009
"Transformers” star Megan Fox said she doesn’t like seeing herself onscreen, but Lt. Col. Jimmy Warren said he’s looking forward to the DVD of "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” — so he can hit pause and show his kids exactly where he is.

Getting rewarded for hard work usually involves a small get-together featuring cake or pastries, but a select group from Tinker Air Force Base was rewarded with something bigger: an opportunity to appear in "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.”

Director Michael Bay approached members of the 552nd Air Control Wing with this scenario: There’s the "mother of all battles” happening on the ground in Egypt, and you’re here to give air support to make sure the Autobots beat the Decepticons, Warren said.

"(It) was very similar to what we do, at times, on our aircrafts,” Warren said. "(We did) what we would really do … if we were deployed somewhere.”

Warren said the "best of the best” participated in the summer blockbuster. About 40 members of the 552nd ACW flew in an E-3 Sentry, a plane based at Tinker, for filming at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico.

Bay featured the E-3 and members of the 965th Airborne Air Control Squadron in the first "Transformers” film and decided to include Tinker’s E-3 again but with the 964th AACS and a support crew. Inside the E-3 is the airborne warning and control system. It takes a crew of dozens to operate the AWACS, which use a radar with a 250-mile range to gather information while flying at an altitude of 29,000 feet.

Filming inside the plane lasted a few hours during a three-day period, which was sandwiched between training missions on the way to and from New Mexico.

"We were the ones that came up with what was going to be said. We were given the framework … to make our little piece of the scene work. That’s probably what made it as realistic as we could make it."
Lt. Col. Kerry Drake

"I was very impressed and surprised and happy that some of the … big-time stars like Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson and Michael Bay, those guys, were very appreciative of what we do. They would come up shaking our hands, talking to us (and) asking us what we do."
Lt. Col. Jimmy Warren

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