I was fortunate enough to have been flying C-130 Hercules from Dyess Air Force Base when this film was made. A call went out for volunteers to go to Las Vegas for an unknown "film project". Most of the guys in the squadron demurred, thinking it would be an "Air Force Now" recruiting propaganda film, and a general hassle. I, on the other hand, would have crawled through shredded glass on hands and knees for ANY excuse to escape West Texas for awhile.
When we contacted McCarran Int'l (Vegas) Airport, we were vectored South and given a radio frequency to contact a Forward Air Control team. They brought us in to land on a dry lake bed. No sweat, this is what the Herc was born to do.
The first clue that something very unusual was up came when a modern, fully air conditioned bus picked us up at the airplane. This was NOT standard USAF procedure! We drove around a sand dune and saw . . . well, I can only describe it as being very much like a circus tent. We were escorted in, and found it was a huge kitchen, serving steaks, lobsters, salads, and everything in between.
We were filled in that we were to fly in a "Major Hollywood Motion Picture" by Hal Needham. It was made clear from the outset that it was intended to be campy, cheesy, ridiculous, and fun. And so it was.
From the tent we were taken to a hotel on the strip, where we each got private rooms (again, not USAF standard), free meal passes, and best of all, invitations to screen the nightly "rushes" or raw footage. There was a buffet and open bar (Yay!) each evening, and we ate and drank liberally while howling at the truly loony dialogue and effects each night.
Meantime, we were flying some extreme tactical operations (which unfortunately do not look as hairy on camera as they felt from the cockpit. At one point in the rushes you could see the bird flying so low that it was kicking up dust devils from the propeller vortices. Unfortunately, our command didn't want that bit on film where the taxpayers and the Brass could see it, and it was cut).
I've been looking for a copy to show my kids and, having found it here, MUST have it!
It was a great, great week or so in the desert, and I shall be ever grateful for the experience. In fact, I still occasionally wear my old "Megaforce Official" windbreaker and belt buckle, which were given to each of us on departure.
Kelly "Not that they aren't a tad tighter these days" Fitzpatrick