Episode Seven of ‘Faces of the Fleet’, The Ascender, Breaks Down Military Stereotypes

The gritty documentary looks at how being a part of the camaraderie of the Navy, took away those feelings of isolation and self-doubt and how, despite the odds being so heavily stacked against him, he ended up becoming the pilot of MH-60 Romeos and a success story.  

Created by CLICKON and Y&R Memphis, The Ascender, tells the story of Aric McGee who was born in Utah and spent his childhood moving around from town to town with his mother, feeling lost and unable to make lasting friendships.

The one constant in his life were his grandparents in Texas and it was the stories he was told by his grandfather about his cousin, Charles McGee, a legendary African American pilot, that gave this little boy a glimpse into the life he could have if he really wanted it.

His family’s aviation history got him thinking and at 18, he joined the United States Navy which not only gave him the stability and structure he had been craving all his life, but it also took him on the adventure of a lifetime where he smashed glass ceiling after glass ceiling.

The gritty documentary looks at how being a part of the camaraderie of the Navy, took away those feelings of isolation and self-doubt and how, despite the odds being so heavily stacked against him, he ended up becoming the pilot of MH-60 Romeos and a success story.  

Aric commented in the film, “I remember checking in to my first squadron as an electrician and I walked into the hanger bay. Showed up to Virginia Beach super late and walk in and everything is really dark and all I see is the silhouette of this F18 as I’m walking around not knowing where I’m going I just remember the smell of the jet fuel and the oil and the grease and it just has this really unique peculiar smell when you walk into an aircraft hanger and I just kinda knew I was where I’m supposed to be.”

Richard Wilson, CEO of CLICKON MEDIA, said, “Today, there is still a misconception that military personal come from picture perfect backgrounds but Lieutenant Aric McGee is living proof that this simply isn’t the case. This film delves into his past and shows that it wasn’t his background that the Navy was interested in, but his dedication, passion, and determination to succeed.  We wanted to show that if this kid who had faced a lifetime of challenges, could go into the Navy, then others can too.”

CLICKON’s Creative Director, Benjamin Potter, added, “It is pretty clear to see from this film that Aric McGee needed to make changes in his life if he didn’t want to go off the tracks, and it was the connection with a Navy recruiter that showed him the way forward. We know that if brands really get someone’s attention, they need to work at a deeper, more meaningful level and that is what we have tried to do with this entire series of films. The feedback we get from America’s Navy is that honest storytelling in their recruitment drive is working. Real people from all walks of life can identify with feelings of needing to belong and want to find their purpose and our films show that a career in the services can offer them that and so much more.”

Aric says in the film, “You think about it statistically, with your background, your struggles, people like you don’t make it far in life.”, but his story and others in The Faces of the Fleet series, certainly prove this isn’t the case. 

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