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Airman creates heritage paint scheme for NASCAR team

  • Published
  • By Samuel King Jr.

Tech. Sgt. Andrew Brockman grew up watching NASCAR on Sundays with his father.  Being from Southwestern Illinois, the opportunity to see and feel the speed and fury at an actual race seemed near impossible.  On April 24, 2022, at Talladega Superspeedway, the Airman will get to experience the sights and sounds for the first time ever and cheer on a car with a paint scheme he helped design.

Brockman, a 96th Maintenance Squadron senior munitions inspector, recently won the Petty Motorsports and Air Force-sponsored Paint Scheme Fan Vote Contest.  All submissions came directly from Airmen. 

“We wanted to get Airmen across the Air Force involved in our most visible partnership.  With more than half of our enlisted jobs involving maintenance, this partnership reaches mechanically inclined people we need recruited into our ranks," said Master Sgt. Shawn Emmerling, Air Force Recruiting Service events marketing. “We wanted to showcase the talent of our Airmen outside of their normal jobs and then let the NASCAR fans decide their favorite design.  This paint design doesn’t just represent Air Force Recruiting, but it reflects the entire Air Force and our heritage.”

The top three paint scheme designs were voted on via a Twitter poll, with Brockman’s Air Force heritage theme winning out with approximately 4,500 votes.

“The design pays tribute to those before us, who flew in the face of death knowing they may never return home,” said the 32-year-old, nine-year veteran. 

Brockman’s dark green paint scheme design was modeled after a B-29 Superfortress with glass up front and riveted panel design.

Brockman said his idea came from searching for Air Force beginnings with the Army Air Corps and images of the World War II bomber.  He also wanted to bring attention to the Air Force’s 75th Anniversary this year.

“I wanted to somehow convey where we are and also how far we’ve come,” said Brockman, whose brother, both grandfathers and grandmother were Airmen.  “Bombers paved the way for victory throughout the Air Force’s reign in the skies.”

The technical sergeant saw the AFRS contest advertisement after Thanksgiving break in 2021.  Brockman, who created graphic as stickers for his squadron earlier in the year, said he saw the contest as an opportunity to expand on his new design skillset.

Brockman’s main skillset as a munitions Airman began however in 2013 when he joined the Air Force.

His first assignment was building bombs for the 325th Fighter Wing’s F-22 Raptors at Tyndall AFB.  He deployed with the unit in 2018.  Brockman was just settling into a new position in the unit’s missile shop when Hurricane Michael changed his life forever.

He and his family evacuated during the storm, but lost most of their belongings in their base housing unit due to wind and water damage.  Upon returning to his home after Michael, Brockman said he remembered the devastation and recalled the eerie sight of curtains blowing outside of broken windows and the smoke detectors beeping throughout the neighborhoods.

Brockman and his family followed the F-22s here when they were reassigned to Eglin in December 2018.  He and the other 325th FW munitions Airmen were officially incorporated into the 96th Test Wing last year. The unit provides ammo support for all the wings and military services on base.

In his current position, he is the lead inspector for any type of munition that enters or exits Eglin from a seven-gram bullet to a 5,000-pound bomb. 

The Airman said he tried to channel his family connection, the ups and downs of his career and his love for history and heritage into his design.

Brockman said he was thrilled to hear his paint scheme would be voted on by fans.  He researched various NASCAR and AFRS social media platforms so he’d be ready to vote, promote and share his design when voting started in mid-January.  He didn’t have a twitter account yet, but created one so he could be sure to vote for his paint scheme. 

Once the poll was live, he said he monitored it constantly as the votes came in. His paint scheme led the way throughout the week-long race.  When the poll closed, he was way ahead. He said he thought, “well, what happens now?”

Eventually, he received the congratulations and plans began to use his paint scheme on the Number 43 Chevrolet Camaro sometime this year.  Not long after the 2022 racing season started, Brockman, who collected NASCAR die-casts as a kid, saw his paint scheme available on the new model.

“That was just such a crazy thing to see,” said Brockman, a Jamie McMurray and Greg Biffle fan in his youth.  “There’s going to be a little die-cast of this thing I helped inspire.”

The Airman said he can’t wait to see his design, which so far has only been seen on monitors or a phone, become a reality in the form of a full-size stock car.

“It’s going to be a super exciting weekend and I’m really looking forward to it,” he said.