Features
Video chronicles life on the job in Iraq
OOIDA member creates music videos of Iron Pony Express

By Jami Jones
feature editor

The saying goes “a picture is worth a thousand words.” If that’s the case, then a music video must be equal to a novel – especially when “Tugboat Skippy” creates it.

OOIDA member Jason Hoehne, a member of the mail-hauling unit in Iraq known as the Iron Pony Express, has created a pair of videos chronicling life in the unit.

Armed with a laptop computer and pictures, Hoehne put his self-taught computer and video knowledge to work just before the Great American Trucking Show this past September. His mission was to create an “Iron Pony Express” video.

“ ‘Uglypuppy’ (OOIDA member Mark Taylor) came into the office about halfway through it and told me he had a chance to get it to the truck show in Dallas and they may play it,” Hoehne said. “I said ‘Hey great. I’ll get it to you when I get done.’ Then he says ‘Well, we have six days.’ I short-circuited.

“After I picked my jaw up off the ground, I went at it furiously. I literally slammed it together.”

As other members laughed about gluing the locks shut on Hoehne’s “hooch” or sleeping quarters, he brought the video to reality in only an amazing couple of days. The video barely made it to GATS, but nonetheless inspired many people and drummed up serious support for contractors in Iraq.

As popularity of the Iron Pony Express grew, Joey Holiday and another Iron Pony Express member, David Baker, created “Iron Pony Express” the song. After the release of the song, it just seemed natural for Tugboat Skippy to spring back into action and create a video just for the “Iron Pony Express” song.

Hoehne’s work has never left out the military personnel in his videos about the Iron Pony Express.

“I miss the soldiers we lost,” he said. “We were all close to them. We had our own experiences on convoys and around base. We were unstoppable for so long … Then poof. We got reminded we are still human. Those times are tough.”

Hoehne is putting the finishing touches on his second video. The members of the Iron Pony Express are working on getting the bankroll needed to fund the pitching process for the video in hopes that it will hit the mainstream and remind viewers of the role they and the military play in Iraq.

Vicky Holiday, president of Truck It Records, Joey Holiday’s recording label, is getting ready to pitch the video to smaller markets to see if “Iron Pony Express: The Video” has a chance at the “big-time.”

“Nothing is out of the stretch of the imagination,” Hoehne said. “If you can think it, it can eventually come to be.”

jami_jones@landlinemag.com