ARLINGTON, Va. — It's all in a day's work for Air Force Chief of Staff Gen.
John Jumper: Prosecuting the war on terror. Looking after airmen and their
Saving the United States from space aliens.
Of course, if Jumper has actually been assigned that third one, the Air Force
no doubt keeps the evidence locked up in the file along with photos of the
long-rumored Area 51's "visitors from outer space."
But Jumper does get a chance to show his service's prowess at preventing an
interplanetary invasion — and to make his Hollywood debut — in the
season-ending episode of "Stargate: SG-1."
The episode, dubbed the "The Lost City, Part 2," was taped Aug. 25 in
Vancouver, British Columbia, is the closing chapter to the series' seventh
season (filming has already begun on Season 8, which will be the show's last
Jumper's episode is scheduled to air in the United States on March 19 on the
Sci-Fi Channel on cable, where "Stargate: SG-1" is the No. 1 show.
But servicemembers who are stationed overseas will have to wait to view the
four-star's performance — while Air Force Radio and Television Station (AFRTS)
carries "Stargate: SG-1," the military channel is still on Season 6.
The "Stargate: SG-1" series is based on a 1994 movie of the same name that
starred Kurt Russell and James Spader, and now stars Richard Dean Anderson,
formerly of MacGyver fame.
Supposedly based at the Air Force's base at Cheyenne Mountain, Colo., the
show's plots revolve around a mysteriously indestructible portal called the
Stargate, which is a time-space travel machine that instantly transports
objects or people anywhere in the universe.
The show's producers first approached the Air Force about using Jumper as a
character in January 2003, according to Doug Thar, the Air Force's films,
documentary, and special effects coordinator.
The Air Force's relationship with "Stargate: SG-1" actually goes back almost
seven years, when producers first approached the Air Force to help make sure
scripts and characters "accurately reflect the Air Force," Thar said in a
Wednesday interview in the Pentagon.
The Air Force reviews the script for every "Stargate: SG-1" episode, and
suggests necessary changes, such as the time a writer had given an airman
character the Army rank of sergeant major, Thar said.
The Air Force has also provided the series with aerial footage of fighter
jets; an honor guard for a funeral scene; and even a C-130 transport for use as
a ground prop, Thar said.
Both sides benefit from the partnering, Thar said.
"We make the show authentic, which matters to the fans … and it's good
exposure for the Air Force," he said.
Jumper is not the first Air Force leader to appear on the long-running
series. Former Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Michael Ryan appeared in an
episode in Season 4 back in the late 1990s.
Jumper originally agreed to be filmed last April. But the war in Iraq
interfered with the original plan, and the general did not have time to travel
to Vancouver until last August, Thar said.
Jumper was originally scheduled to appear in three scenes, but writers were
so pleased with his performance that they wrote him into a fourth, Thar said.
All four scenes take place in the White House's Oval Office.
The Vancouver set was so accurate that Jumper — no stranger to the famous
room — told Thar, "It's authentic to the last picture" hanging on the wall.
In his first appearance, Jumper, who plays himself, has the grim task of
giving the president bad news: "Mr. President, a short time ago, our
space-based radar detected three [alien] vessels emerging from outer space,"
Jumper put in "a long day" at the shoot, which lasted from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.,
But Thar, who spent the day on the set with his boss, said that said Jumper
"He had a great time," Thar said. "He thought it was very interesting."
The Air Force chief was not paid for his appearance, Thar said.
Jumper was on leave Wednesday and unavailable for comment on his acting
But apparently, the four-star prefers his Air Force duties to Hollywood's
"He told me he's not going to give up his day job," Thar said.
Sound Off...What do you think?
Join the discussion.
This article is provided courtesy
of Stars & Stripes, which got its start as
a newspaper for Union troops during the Civil War, and
has been published continuously since 1942 in Europe and
1945 in the Pacific. Stripes reporters have been
in the field with American soldiers, sailors and airmen
in World War II, Korea, the Cold War, Vietnam, the Gulf
War, Bosnia and Kosovo, and are now on assignment in the
Stars & Stripes Website
Copyright 2004 Stars and Stripes. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.