National Geographic Channel's Rocket City Rednecks Test Their Latest Invention At The 37th Annual Marine Corps Marathon

09/26/2012 - 16:51

Dr. Travis Taylor Will Compete Wearing 40 Pounds of Full-Body Armor for Special Episode in Season Two

Season Two Premieres Thursday, November 29, on NGC

The Rocket City Rednecks have bombproofed a truck using beer cans in an effort to create armor for military vehicles and constructed a homemade hovercraft using a tarp from the garage. This October, they'll bring their unique mix of southern charm and advanced degrees to the 37th Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) in Washington, D.C., as Rocket City Rednecks star Dr. Travis Taylor runs the course wearing the Rednecks' latest invention - a lightweight, full-body armor suit.

With the loss-of-limb rate for U.S. troops at an all-time high, the Rednecks were inspired to create an alternative version of full-body armor that would protect troops in combat without impairing mobility or performance.

To prove that the suit is mobile, Travis will run the 37th Marine Corps Marathon in the Full-body Armor Suit Test Unit #1 (FAST U1), which also includes a removable facemask. The armor is made of Kevlar, Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMWPE), canvas, polyurethane, polyurea and polycarbonate materials, and weighs 40 pounds, the same amount as the U.S. military's current armor, which protects only the torso. The entire process is being filmed for a special episode to premiere during the show's second season, which begins Thursday, November 29, on NGC.

"My older brother is an E9 in the U.S. Air Force, and is about to leave on his fourth deployment," said Travis. "I want to do everything I can to make certain that he and the other superheroes like him in our armed forces always come home safely."

"There is not a more appropriate event for Rocket City Rednecks to showcase this new prototype that could ultimately enhance the protection afforded the men and women of the armed forces," says Rick Nealis, MCM director. "The MCM is an ideal testing ground for Dr. Taylor."

Prior to Travis' appearance at the MCM, the Rocket City Rednecks will test the suit through a series of rigorous experiments to confirm that the suit can withstand the same elements our troops face overseas, including detonating improvised explosive devices underneath it, shooting at it with various firearms, burning it and running an obstacle course under the direction of a U.S. Marine Corps drill instructor while wearing the suit to test mobility.

"National Geographic Channel is proud to support the dedication and service of the U.S. Marine Corps, and we're honored to have the Rocket City Rednecks debut their creation at the Marine Corps Marathon," said Michael Cascio, EVP of programming for National Geographic Channel. "This represents an incredible feat of engineering and is a testament to how science and technology can solve issues in unique and unconventional ways."

The 37th Marine Corps Marathon will be held on Sunday, October 28, 2012, in Arlington, Va., and throughout the nation's capital. Thirty thousand runners from across the United States and representing 52 nations will participate.

Rocket City Rednecks, called "ridiculously fun" and a "rip-roarin reality series" that is "as addictively tasty as a platter full of Southern-fried chicken" by critics in season one, follows a family of NASA rocket scientists living in Huntsville, Ala., as they combine hillbilly ingenuity with advanced engineering and physics to tackle real-world scenarios. With their thick accents and distinctive vocabulary, the tight-knit group brings its own unique style of southern charm to science and technology.

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About National Geographic Channels
Based at the National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C., the National Geographic Channels US are a joint venture between National Geographic and Fox Cable Networks. The Channels contribute to the National Geographic Society's commitment to exploration, conservation and education with smart, innovative programming and profits that directly support its mission. Launched in January 2001, National Geographic Channel (NGC) celebrated its fifth anniversary with the debut of NGC HD. In 2010, the wildlife and natural history cable channel Nat Geo WILD was launched, and in 2011, the Spanish-language network Nat Geo Mundo was unveiled. The Channels have carriage with all of the nation's major cable, telco and satellite television providers, with NGC currently available in 84 million U.S. homes. Globally, National Geographic Channel is available in 440 million homes in 171 countries and 38 languages. For more information, visit

About the Marine Corps Marathon:
Voted the "Best Marathon for Families" and the "Best Marathon in the Mid Atlantic," the Marine Corps Marathon honors the dedication, sportsmanship and patriotism of its participants. Runners from all walks of life participate in the largest marathon that does not offer prize money, earning the name "The People's Marathon." The 37th Marine Corps Marathon will be held on Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, in Arlington, Va. For more information, visit

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