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Airman trains Hollywood actors for 'Transformers' movie

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Heather Stanton
  • 49th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
For authentic military aspects, DreamWorks and Paramount Pictures looked no further than Air Force Airmen for the major motion picture production “Transformers.” Actors trained for their individual military parts with an Air Force senior NCO.

Master Sgt. Ray Bolinger, combat controller with the 22nd Special Tactics Squadron at McChord Air Force Base, Wash., trained Tyrese Gibson, one of the lead actors, on the mannerisms and language of a combat controller.

“I am his combat control technical adviser,” he said. “I taught him the authentic dialogue of calling in an air strike.”

As an Air Force combat controller, Sergeant Bolinger provides air and ground interface, is a certified air traffic controller and calls in air strike attacks when in war.

But Sergeant Bolinger taught more than language and dialogue. He also trained actors how to dress in a military uniform in order to look the part.

From the basic battle dress uniform to adding the bullet-proof vest, Kevlar helmet and weaponry, the actors will look like an authentic special operations team in the movie.

Sergeant Bolinger was able to teach the actors Air Force skills because he is an experienced Airman. He has been a combat controller for 20 years, deployed twice to both Iraq and Afghanistan and is now a terminal attack control instructor.

“I did about two years of training right out of basic,” Sergeant Bolinger said.

Combat controller training starts at Lackland AFB, Texas. From there it is on to Keesler AFB, Miss.; Fort Benning, Ga.; Pope AFB, N.C.; and Fairchild AFB, Wash. The Airmen also parachute train at the Yuma Proving Grounds in Arizona and go to dive school with the Navy in Panama City, Fla.

Sergeant Bolinger graduated from Alamogordo High School in 1983. His father was an F-4 Phantom fighter pilot stationed here from 1977 to 1983.

As for the movie, Sergeant Bolinger is excited to see it. He trained with the crew in California for a week and was at Holloman for a week during filming.

“This movie is a good thing for the Air Force,” Sergeant Bolinger said. “I think it will help with recruiting, especially for special operations. Having someone so famous playing the role could bring people in.”