MEMPHIS AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Memphis, Tenn. (Aug. 22, 2018) -- With Penny Hardaway as the new head coach and back to back winning seasons for the football team, many eyes will be on the University of Memphis. This will allow the 164th Airlift Wing, along with 141 other companies, to receive more visibility now that they have joined the Memphis Initiative Program.
Members of the 164th AW, rallied by the recruiters from 164th AW are scheduled to begin tailgating at Tiger Lane September 1.
The recruiters partnered with the U of M’s Athletics Department, which will allow them to increase the visibility of the 164th AW on campus.
The Memphis Initiative Program allows companies to increase the visibility of their businesses to the public by attending the sporting events and utilizing the radio promotions.
“We’re going to be setting up a tent with the Air National Guard logo during the games and we’re going to have brochures and information about the ANG,” said Master Sgt. Karen Malone, the retention manager at the 164th AW. “We’re going to have giveaways and a 30 second radio time advertisement during each game about the ANG.”
Current members of the 164th AW can also attend the games with the recruiters and share their experiences with the community.
“We are also going to include the base,” said Malone. “We’re going to have a little street team with us. We’re going to have different volunteers from different AFSCs that come out to the games with us so they can actually talk about their experience with ANG with people coming up to our table asking questions.”
During each season, the recruiters plan to have either a tent or table set up at the game’s location. For the football season, they will have a tent set up on Tiger Lane. There will be a table inside the FedEx Forum during basketball season and for baseball season, they will be set up at the FedEx Park.
Along with meeting current members of the 164th AW, recruiters anticipate having events like, enlistments and flyovers, during some of the games for the public to see.
Malone said that along with tailgating and recruiting, the recruiters also plan to have enlistment ceremonies sworn in by base leadership on the fields and court. They also expect to have a flyover during one of the games.
The recruiters hope to reach high school and college-aged students, along with their parents and even some veterans by informing the community about the Tennessee Strong Act, which pays for 100 percent of in-state tuition.
“We’re hoping to be able to help the help out the college students who can’t afford to pay for college,” said Staff Sgt. Davis, senior recruiter of the 164th AW. “The ones who are struggling just to kind of let them know that the guard is here to be able to help. Those high school juniors and seniors as well whose parents can’t afford to send them to college, we’re just looking to help them out and let them know there’s also another way to get your education.”
“This partnership is not only for college students, but also for everybody because the people that come to games are going to see us,” said Malone.
There are also other ways that current members can help the recruiters with the new program.
Davis said current members can participate by attending the games, donating waters, Gatorades or even grill while they are out there.
“The more the merrier, it going to be a lot of fun," said Davis. “We will have corn hole boards, have games out there for the kids, so the more people we can get out there to just kind of have a good time and raise awareness for the guard the more the better.”
For more information regarding participating in these events, the recruiters can be contacting at 901-291-7263.
(Air National Guard Story by Tra'Vonna Hawkins)