Air Force

Five Things I Learned About the Air Force from the Iron Man and Transformers Movies

Critically and sarcastically penned by our own Patrick Weeks, a recovering Marine Corps Logistics Officer.

The Iron Man and Transformers movies are very similar in many respects

They both feature super heroes (/machines), epic world-saving, boundary-pushing action and special effects, huge personalities, and excessive glorification of our United States Air Force. Let’s pull back the curtain. What do we really learn about the Air Force from these movies?

1: Pilot Worship

The Air Force is still in love with the flashy, expensive flying machines that capture every boy’s imagination. Even though drones are the future. Sorry, Top Gun.

Colonel James "Rhodey" Rhodes opines on the future of air combat by suggesting that "no unmanned aerial vehicle will ever trump a pilot's instinct."

2: Salute Yourself

No matter what an Airman tells you about how his service understands customs and courtesies, these guys throw around salutes like they’re all leaving an epic frat party. Constantly. Indoors. Uncovered.

3: The Air Force has the Coolest Tech

And they know it. It’s so irrefutable, it’s annoying.

starscream transforming f-22 gif
As the F-22 wasn’t cool enough on its own, Hollywood makes it a transforming robot

4: What Uniform Regulations?

“Look cool”
“Be yourself”
“Don’t worry about uniformity”

“Bro, your eye black looks sick!” “Helps me see fastballs better, bro.”

5: Unlimited Budget

One of the aspects of the Hollywood Air Force that mirrors real life (from the perspective of a disgruntled Marine) is the unfathomable budgets. In these movies, the constant stream of high-tech gear, aircraft, and expensive destruction is no big deal for the Air Force. While deployed Marines ask for toilet paper in care packages.

The favorite branch of the Military Industrial Complex

What do you think?

Fair/unfair? Let me know if I missed anything in the comments below.


Who burns through a budget faster? The US Air Force or Michael Bay?

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Patrick served in the Marine Corps from 2009-2014 and is the founder of the USMC OCS Blog and

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