China ups recruiting ante with hip-hop video, USAF F-16 makes cameo

A Mountain Home AFB- based F-16 featured in China's newest recruiting video.

The People’s Liberation Army is ramping up their recruitment drive with a bizarre hip-hop video that just so happens to feature a cameo by an American fighter plane.

In their new recruiting video, the PLA unleash a military show of force, complete with hip-hop music, flame-based training (an inexplicably popular exhibit for militaries like Russia and China) and of course, theatrical depictions of terrorists being taken down by PLA troops.

A Mountain Home AFB- based F-16 featured in China's newest recruiting video.
A Mountain Home AFB- based F-16 featured in China’s newest recruiting video.

While the grandstanding video is mildly humorous to the average Western viewer, those with a little attention to detail might notice the USAF F-16 at 2:58, which somehow made it into the video.

The F-16 appears to be a Block-52 fighter bearing the tail code and flash of the 389th Fighter Squadron -known as the “Thunderbolts”- out of Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho. Originally using F-16s to provide Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD, also known as “Wild Weasel” missions), the squadron abandoned their F-16s in favor of the F-15E Strike Eagle around 2007.

An F-16 of the 389th FS (Credit: USAF)
An F-16 of the 389th FS (Credit: USAF)

The cameo of the F-16 using USAF footage that is eight years old (or older) makes the recruitment video all the more humorous, particularly when one takes into consideration that China has done this before. In 2011, Chinese news agencies used footage of the 1980s film Top Gun, claiming it was live footage from a PLA military exercise.

While it is unknown if members of the USAF fighter squadron featured in the video are aware of their presence in a Chinese military recruiting video, it can be surmised that they would likely get a kick out of it as they jam to East Asian hip-hop and a recruiting video almost as absurd in premise as the 90s Marine Corps recruiting ads.

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  • Andy Wolf

    Andy Wolf is an Appalachian native who spent much of his youth and young adulthood overseas in search of combat, riches, and adventure- accruing decades of experience in military, corporate, first responder, journalistic and advisory roles. He resides in North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains with his K9 companion, Kiki.


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