Tent makes Ten-Miler a ‘Hooah’ event
By Steve Arel
U.S. Army Cadet Command
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Amid the frenzy of people snagging ROTC-branded material, Cadet Command staffers scrambled inside their white tent to keep pace with demand. Almost as quickly as they could set out T-shirts, water bottles and other trinkets, they were gone.“It’s hard work, but fun,” Keith Mills, Cadet Command’s division chief of events and outreach, said during a break Sunday.
Positioned in the thick of a small tent city next to the Pentagon serving as an attraction at October’s 25th annual Army Ten-Miler, Cadet Command was among more than 50 organizations and installations from around the world showcasing their mission and connecting with scores of people. Those hosting what was known as a Hooah Tent gave out everything from shirts to keepsake bags to key chains to food.
And all of it was free.
By the time the race ended and the crowd disappeared, Mills figured he and his staff of 10 had handed out more than 10,000 items emblazoned with the ROTC name and logo.
Cadet Command’s tent proved something of a magnet. Standing out front wooing passersby was a 15-foot high balloon shaped like a second lieutenant, along with a staffer dressed in an air-filled costume also shaped like a second lieutenant who made his way around greeting people in the crowd.
A couple of recruiters also worked the booth to offer information about the benefits and opportunities of ROTC.
But Cadet Command’s tent offered much more than giveaways. The area gave the dozens of Cadets running in the 10-miler a place to store their gear, rest up and grab a bite to eat. Many of them took advantage.
Cheering them on was Maj. Gen. Arthur Bartell, commanding general of Cadet Command. He spent time with Cadets, applauding their efforts, patting them on the back, taking photos with them and lending a hand passing out freebies.
Brenda Fuentes, a marketing and advertising specialist at Cadet Command’s Fort Monroe, Va., headquarters, began working the tent around 4 a.m. on race day. Planning for the exhibit began in April, when organizations could register for a tent.
“The tent worked out perfect,” she said. “It’s putting the right people in the right places.”
The Association of the United States Army, which puts on the Army Ten-Miler and organizes the Hooah Tents, handed out an award for the best tent. This year’s went to the one set up by Fort Hood, Texas.
While Cadet Command’s didn’t win, organizers of the tent said an award paled in comparison to the exposure ROTC received to the thousands of people who stopped by.
Mills said response to Cadet Command’s tent was overwhelmingly positive.
“It was definitely worth it,” he said.