Fast tool for Reserve recruiting

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Robert Dennard
  • 94th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

While some servicemembers in the Air Force Reserve are used to being propelled by jet engines through the air, only one is doing so on the ground.

"Faster than you can pull out your cell phone and call your mom, I've gone from zero to 400 miles per hour," said retired Master Sgt. Bill Braack, driver of the Air Force Reserve Jet Car.

The Air Force Reserve Jet Car is a dragster powered by a Westinghouse J-34 jet engine capable of reaching speeds of greater than 400 mph. Mr. Braack, the jet car, and its crew travel the country performing at air shows and special events year round. The car will be set up for a static display where people can view it up close.

In a cloud of smoke and streak of fiery exhaust, it rockets down the runway, to the "Oooos" and "Ahhs" of spectators. A typical run only takes about 8.5 seconds, but leaves a lasting memory for those who see and hear it.

The Jet Car program continues to be the No. 1 lead generator for reserve recruiting. Last year it was the subject of 182 minutes of live television coverage, said Mr. Braack. Live TV coverage by news organizations represents free advertising for the recruiting program. Young people, like many of the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps members who visited in March, are impressed with the dragster.

"It's fast and interesting ," said Army JROTC Cadet Pfc. Michael Miller of Grady High School in Atlanta, "because I'm learning about the things that the jet car just demonstrated--like force, speed, acceleration and velocity."

"It was awesome to see the fire shooting out of the exhaust and watching the parachutes," said Air Force JROTC Cadet Josh Al-zaharnah from Pendleton High School, South Carolina.

"The two parachutes were really cool," said Army Cadet Pfc. Delansha Mosley from Grady High. "I never saw that before."

"People that are drawn to this are usually mechanically minded," Mr. Braack said. "It shows recruiters they are interested in turbines, engines and things that go fast."
Scott Hammack, the car's designer and builder, and his wife Linda, have worked on the crew for over 10 years. Larry Carlson, the crew chief and a former chemist, is in his first season. 

The jet car demonstration was one of the highlights of a very successful JROTC Week that took place here March 12 to 15, a program aimed specifically at young people considering a career in the military.

"I'm able to make an impression on young people and tell them about my career," said Mr. Braack. "Being able to represent the Air Force Reserve Command is a privilege,"