SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) – Recruiting is underway for veterans right here in the Ark-La-Tex. But, it's not the kind of recruiting you may be thinking about. This is an effort by a local organization to put our veterans on the silver screen. It is all part of something called Tac One Ops.
Movie productions are becoming a near-ubiquitous sight in north Louisiana these days, running the gamut from scary movies like a 'haunted battle' to a battle against aliens in Los Angeles, actually shot on the Interstate-49 overpass in Shreveport, just a stone's throw away from the KSLA studio.
"We get there in hand-to-hand. That's when a bayonet comes plunging through my right side right here. I still got a scar," described retired Army Sgt. and Vietnam veteran Jimmy Brown during a recent KSLA News 12 report on a movie in production. Brown represents just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to local veterans with a wealth of knowledge and experience.
That's where Tac One Ops comes in. Its two founders, Dave Valle and Paul Murray met while training actors on military weaponry and tactics. Valle recalled one day on a movie set, "we both looked at each other and said, 'you know what? This is a perfect scenario for military and police veterans."
You may recognize Paul Murray. In recent years we have spoken with Murray on gun issues. He's the owner of the indoor range called Shooters USA in Bossier City. He's also a former prisoner of war during the first Gulf War, who consistently plays down his truly harrowing experience saying only, "I got pushed around a little bit but that was about it."
Murray and Valle say Tac One Ops is a perfect fit for many returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan, "because it can be quite depressing being unemployed when you come back from overseas and you don't have any choice to go into any type of job," confided Valle.
But perhaps one of the biggest reasons for having these veterans in local productions is that they can handle a weapon the way it is supposed to be handled. "There's a lot of criticism when you're watching a movie and you see someone firing a rocket launcher backwards or something like that."
Valle and Murray have enjoyed early success, placing 90-percent of their clients in three recent productions. And, Tac One Ops will host a Shoot-a-Thon on Sunday, May 30th, as a fundraiser for its fall 'boot camps' to train their veterans for upcoming movie and television roles.
For more information on Tac One Ops and that Shoot-a-Thon just call (318) 747-5811.