Air Force parody ‘I Got U’ video a sarcastic, hilarious commentary on deployed life


This screen grab from YouTube shows a scene from a parody video created by U.S. airmen to provide commentary on life while deployed to a war zone. (YouTube screen grab)

British house music artist Duke Dumont topped charts this year with the song “I Got U” The music  video for it depicts an awkward, skinny man receiving some sort of virtual reality helmet, and then wandering through a alternate universe filled with sunshine, sparkly swimming pools and beautiful women. It has been viewed on YouTube more than 42 million times since it was posted online in February.

Apparently, members of the 13th Air Support Operations Squadron, of Fort Carson, Colo., are among those who enjoy it. They decided to put their own spin on it in a new parody video that pokes fun at life in an undisclosed location in southwestern Afghanistan and the “vacation” troops get while deployed there. Check this out:

Let’s break it down a little farther. First, a comparison of foods:


(YouTube screen grab)

On the left, we have our skinny “I Got U” star enjoying some delicious looking fresh fruit after jumping on a bed in a resort hotel room. On the right, our airman protagonist enjoys some dry crackers after waking up on a dusty cot, or “rack,” on a military base.

Here’s another:


(YouTube screen grab)

On the left, our “I Got U” friend wanders down to a speedboat on gleaming water after taking a swim with tropical fish. On the right, our hero swims in a pool with his fellow airmen — already an upgrade over deployed life for many troops — and then wanders down to an armored vehicle.

The videos then meander through scenes of our heroes feeding the local wildlife — exotic primates in paradise, and smelly camels while deployed:


(YouTube screen grab)

… and then on to a comparison of the music they find in their worlds. Do you prefer steel drums in paradise, or your buddy banging on plastic containers while deployed?


(YouTube screen grab)

Moving on, we also have a comparison of recreational options. On the left, our ‘I Got U’ hero went parasailing over beautiful blue-green waters. On the right? Yeah, they’re totally riding a pallet getting pulled behind an MRAP, a mine-resistant ambush protected vehicle.


(YouTube screen grab)

The video was posted earlier this week, and only has about 14,000 views as this blog post is published. That’s certain to rise.

I could go on and on, but it’s probably better to just congratulate the men of the 13th Air Support Operations Squadron for a job well done. Well played, gentlemen.

UPDATE: July 25, 12:55 p.m.: One of the airmen involved in this video, Staff Sgt. Ryan Keithley, just reached out in response to a message I sent earlier this morning. The group involved was a small unit of joint terminal attack controllers and tactical air control party personnel. They were attached to a U.S. Army unit, working with ground troops to provide close-air support and call in airstrikes as needed.

Keithley said the video was recorded over time while they were deployed from October 2013 until earlier this month. He and the other airmen were “mesmerized” after watching the original “I Got U” video, and decided to parody what their own “paradise” looked like.

“We had GoPro cameras, and shooting it helped kill the time while making us laugh,” he said. “It also came out way better than we thought.”

Keithley credited Staff Sgt. Nathan Mansfield for editing most of the video. He’s the airman seen in the opening scene, putting the helmet on. It was shot in Kuwait and on several other bases that Keithley said he could not disclose.

Dan Lamothe covers national security for The Washington Post and anchors its military blog, Checkpoint.
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