Hollywood Visits Navy Ships
By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jose Lopez, Jr., Navy Public Affairs Support Element West
SAN DIEGO - Actors, writers and producers from the television and motion picture industries visited a guided-missile destroyer and attack submarine Feb. 11 as part of the Hollywood to the Navy program to interact with Sailors and learn how the Navy operates.

"We bring them to ships and submarines and show them the hard work Sailors perform with the hopes that they will communicate that to the American people through their craft," said Lt. Cmdr. Daniel Bernardi, officer-in-charge, Navy Reserve NAVINFO West. "Even in a Hollywood film, we want the American people to see that their Navy is forward deployed, ready to serve."

Hollywood has had a long relationship with the Armed Forces. At the beginning of World War II, the film industry produced classic films like "Sergeant York" and "A Yank in the R.A.F." as morale boosters to assist the war effort. The Navy has been involved with several projects over the years, with television shows such as "JAG" and "NCIS," as well as films like the upcoming release "Battleship."

An important goal of the Hollywood to the Navy program is to ensure an accurate portrayal of life in the sea service by having production crews and actors visit active-duty ships and interact with Sailors to bring their roles to life on the big screen.

"If you see a ship or an aircraft in a film or television show, there is a very good chance that it was coordinated through our office," Bernardi said. "At the office, they'll read over their scripts and make sure they have the culture right. It is often simple stuff like which uniforms we wear in what situations and how ribbons are worn."

During their recent visit, Hollywood professionals toured the Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Asheville (SSN 758) and the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Spruance (DDG 111). They visited working and berthing spaces, including seeing how Sailors "hot rack" in the torpedo room of a submarine.

"I've always wanted to visit a submarine, this was an amazing opportunity," said Kris Selvidge, television production coordinator for the show "Melissa & Joey."

"I'm learning a lot about the Navy," said Selvidge. "We all knew that submarines were small. I just never realized how tight it was. Then I heard that there are 150 people who live here."

The group also had the opportunity to visit USS Spruance's cramped main engineering spaces, and the bridge, where most decisions are made aboard ship. Several visitors had questions, such as "Does the captain drive the ship?" And "How old is the ship?"

"It's not as glamorous as it comes across in television or film," said David Valliere, script coordinator for "Melissa & Joey." "It's much more real."

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