“A Nation’s Call” is the latest commercial released under Marine Corps Recruiting Command’s “Battles Won” advertising campaign. It showcases the full power of the United States Marine Corps conducting an assault mission.
The commercial opens with Marines loading onto helicopters before they take off from aircraft carriers in the ocean as stirring music plays in the background. The helicopters, along with amphibious assault vehicles and other aircraft, move from ship to shore, carrying Marines toward a fight in an urban area. For a brief moment, the viewer is taken inside of an MV-22 Osprey, the Marine Corps’ assault support aircraft, and sees Marines ready for battle. The camera moves toward the rear of the aircraft where a Marine, her hair blowing in the wind, is seen making ready a heavy machine gun. That battle-ready Marine is 21-year-old Karissa Tanguay-Jones, a native of Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Tanguay-Jones, or “Tangy,” as she’s known by her fellow Marines, serves as a crew chief on an MV-22 Osprey. As a crew chief, Tangy serves as a jack of all trades on the aircraft. She is responsible for maintenance, loading of cargo and personnel, flight observer, and the role she plays in the commercial: machine gunner. She spends most of her days several thousand feet in the air and comes home every day covered in grease and mud. Tangy says it’s the best feeling in the world because she knows she’s accomplished something.
“I love being a crew chief,” said Tangy. “Of course I have my days where I don’t like it as much, but that’s true with any job. Flying is an adrenaline rush…looking down on the world is an amazing sight.”
Tangy, enlisted in the Marine Corps about three years ago after spending a semester at community college and feeling lost. After realizing she didn’t have the drive or money to finish college, she decided to look at the options the military had to offer.
“After talking to the Marine recruiters I knew where I belonged,” said Tangy. “The confidence, pride and discipline the Marines would help give me is exactly what I needed in my life.”
Less than two months later, Tangy entered Marine Corps recruit training and graduated on July 24, 2015. She completed Marine Combat Training before moving on to her job training, which lasted more than a year. In order to qualify as a crew chief, Marines have to complete several different schools that are loaded with heavy physical and academic training such as air crewman school, mechanic school, and flight training. The most grueling training that has to be completed is the Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape program or SERE, which involves learning how to survive under adverse conditions and evading capture from hostile forces.
“My biggest fear throughout all the training was getting dropped because I got injured or didn’t perform well enough to continue on,” said Tangy. “Each school presented a new and very different challenge than the last. Flight school was my favorite, especially when we started flying. I will never forget my first flight. I had a blast.”
Once she was done with training, graduating at the top of her class, she checked into her first unit, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 164, which is based on Marine Corps Air Station Pendleton, California. Since serving with the unit, where she is the only female crew chief, she’s been getting a lot of flight time, and practicing transport of Marines into a combat zone, just like she did in the commercial.
The commercial began airing during the month of February and appeared during the livestream of the Super Bowl. It marked the first time in 30 years that the Marine Corps has advertised during the Super Bowl.
“I went from being lost out of high school to finding something to be proud of. For me, it’s a way I can show that even if you’re lost right now someday you can still find your passion. You just have to take a chance and not be afraid.”
Tangy and her unit are scheduled to deploy to Kuwait this spring as part of Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force – Crisis Response – Central Command. This is a rotational deployment that began in 2013 where Marines support U.S and allied operations within U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility, most notably, coalition operations against ISIS and other terrorist organizations.