In 2014, Nissan launched Project Titan in cooperation with the Wounded Warrior Project. Army veterans David Guzman and Kevin McMahon, two WWP alumni, were selected to take a trip through the Alaskan wilderness in an outfitted Nissan Titan truck. In September, they set out with a camera crew to document their journey and the resulting short film debuted on the History2 Channel last Veterans Day. The entire 21-minute film is worth watching and it's embedded below.
The journey was suggested by journalist Joe Byers, who designed the trip after answering Nissan's call for ideas at the 2014 SHOT Show. The company loved the concept and Byers joined Guzman and McMahon on the trip. Nissan executive Scot Cottick also participated in the project and Military.com asked him to give us some insight into what he learned from the experience.
The Nissan Titan used on the trip was outfitted via a crowd-sourcing campaign on the Nissan Trucks Facebook page. The Recon Titan wrap on the truck complemented hardware like the NISMO cold-air intake and Borla cat-back exhaust system. To handle the terrain, there were 18-inch Fuel Revolver D525 wheels wrapped in 35-inch Nitto Trail Grappler M/T tires. Adding utility was a matching customized all-terrain camping trailer featuring a camp-style kitchen, tent, water/fuel storage and a spare tire. You can also check out an infographic on the truck modifications embedded in Scot's story below.
WHAT I LEARNED FROM WOUNDED WARRIORS
By Scot Cottick
Nissan got involved with the Wounded Warrior Project as a part of Project Titan. We asked people at the 2014 SHOT Show about what would be the ultimate test for the truck. We had some great submissions, but Joseph Byers suggested we take the truck to Alaska. He joined us for the trip and documented our journey for his audience.
Scot Cottick on location in Alaska (photo by Max Moosman)
We wanted to make the Wounded Warrior Project a part of the trip. If you stop and think about who they are and what they represent, it’s easy to understand why we reached out to them. Their logo is a soldier carrying another soldier and they talk about living the logo. They offer medical care, psychological support and so many other support programs. Their aim is to rebuild confidence in men and women who have given so much to their country by giving them experiences that help wounded warriors heal visible and invisible scars. Nissan saw this as a tremendous way to pay homage to those people, so we gave them this adventure as part of that healing process.
When I watch the videos, I couldn’t be prouder. The reactions from those gentleman are 100% genuine. They're not fabricated. They're real. They are the real deal. The trip was one of the most meaningful experiences in my life.
photo by Max Moosman
When David Guzman talks about September 11th in the film, that was taken from an audio session with him that couldn’t be more unscripted. It’s 100-percent genuine, pure heartfelt emotion. I've listened to that more than once and it still sends chills up my spine. He talks about sacrifices and what it means to be an American. At the end, after a very emotional statement, he just kind of nonchalantly says, without a second thought at all, “I’d do it again.” That’s meaningful. I get choked up just thinking about it.
Every day, we’d meet for breakfast. You gotta get up, you gotta eat, you gotta get ready for the day. These were long days, so the crew was tired and sleeping. I'm an early riser and it was usually just me and the military guys eating breakfast or drinking coffee and just talking about what the day was going to be. They would share their personal experiences with me and talk about about the injuries and the sacrifice. My jaw was on the table.
Click on the above image to see a full-size version.
I've been close to people who have been in the military, but I’d never heard things like this. There's helicopter footage in the film and one of the gentleman said to me, “You know the last time I was in a helicopter was when my crew, my injured and wounded crew was being flown out of the battlefield.” How do you react to that? You give the guy a hug.
David Guzman, Joe Byers and Kevin McMahon (photo by Max Moosman)
Those are the things that ring most true to me. I'm not sure why I was chosen for this, but I couldn’t be more thrilled that I was and these are memories that I'll never forget. That’s part of what we tried to do.
These men and the Wounded Warrior Project echo the true meaning of partnership. They are 100 percent genuine and I can't say enough good things about them. We are living under the blanket of freedom that these soldiers provide and we should be incredibly thankful.