Former airman Scott Elrod encourages the audience to bid during the ‘An Officer and an Auction' event at the Embassy of Austria. Dates with current and former service members were auctioned off to benefit the GI Film Festival at the Jan. 31 event. (Mike Morones / Staff)
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Two Navy officers had to bow to the superiority of air power Jan. 31 — at least when it came to finding the most eligible bachelor.
A date with Scott Elrod, an actor and former senior airman, was auctioned off for $1,700, the top price at the GI Film Festival's bachelor auction event at the Austrian Embassy in Washington. Elrod, 37, was so in demand that he agreed to go on separate dates with two women for $1,700 each — raising $3,400 for the film festival.
That's more than the 12 service members from the Army, Navy and Marine Corps combined. They raised $3,350.
Reserve Lt. Cmdr. Jeff Chiang, 39, raised $200, and Reserve Cmdr. David Blackwood, 45, raked in $400, tied for second after the airman-turned-actor. Chiang flies with a Reserve squadron in Maryland; Blackwood works as an intelligence reservist in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.
The GI Film Festival is a nonprofit that hosts an annual showcase of films focusing on the heroism and sacrifices made by service members. It's open to filmmakers of all levels, and prizes are awarded in multiple categories.
Elrod said he participated in the auction because both the military and film are close to his heart. He served in the Air Force for six years as an air traffic controller, according to his online bio, and is now an actor with film credits including "Argo" and "The Switch." He just finished filming "Lone Survivor," about SEAL Team 10's failed 2008 attempt to capture Taliban leader Admad Shad.
Chiang said he participated because he believes the films in the festival tell important stories often not told in mainstream movies.
"I think it's good to balance that with their stories, and some stuff I've been through, too, about sacrifice, duty and how much they miss family," he said.
The auction portion of the event raised almost $7,000 for the 2013 GI Film Festival, scheduled for May.
While many wore sharp suits or dress uniforms, one bachelor stood out — in American-flag pants. When the bidding slowed on Army Capt. Keith Toy, he stripped off his jacket and started doing pushups, eliciting shouts from women in the audience and a flurry of bids, maxing out at $350.