SAN DIEGO - Production crews completed nearly two weeks of filming for the pilot episode of "The Last Ship", executive produced by Michael Bay, onboard Naval Base San Diego (NBSD) and the Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer USS Halsey (DDG 97) Nov. 2.
Production teams filmed on board NBSD and Halsey in order to capture this post-apocalyptic story of Capt. Tom Chandler and the crew of USS Nathan James (DDG 151).
Assistant Director Basti Van Der Woude, who previously worked on the feature film "Battleship", says that his appreciation for the U.S. Navy has grown even stronger at the conclusion of this initial stage of production.
"We are so thankful to the Navy for their hard work and cooperation. It is so impressive to see this much hardware in one place. I have the utmost respect for Sailors who have to be out to sea for months at a time," said Van Der Woude.
The crew of Halsey has deployed twice in the past two years and has completed a compressed training cycle and ship's restricted availability (SRA), but supporting this television production has been another way for the ship to stay involved and positively represent the fleet.
"We hope to offer a depiction that represents all Sailors. For us being selected is fun because it shows a balance between the crew's ability to execute maintenance and to continue to perform operationally while still placing war fighting first. Onboard it doesn't feel much different than if we were in the middle of a CMAV [continuous maintenance availability] or an SRA," said USS Halsey Commanding Officer Cmdr. Michael Weeldreyer.
Halsey crewmember Operations Specialist 1st Class Shayla Dalton-Bennet, who played an extra in scenes filmed on the flight deck and inside the ship's Combat Information Center, echoed the captain's sentiments.
"For the Halsey it's actually amazing for us. In two years we've done back to back deployments, and the crew has worked really hard and we received the battle E this year. We're just happy that we were chosen," she said.
Despite the challenges of facilitating nearly 200 production requests through various NBSD and Commander, Surface Forces entities, Navy public affairs representatives consider this project a success.
"This is good for Naval Base San Diego and the Navy as a whole because we have a unique opportunity to give the public a glimpse into the inner workings of the Navy that they wouldn't get otherwise. The Sailors on board USS Halsey and Naval Base San Diego have been amazing. We could not have done this without their help, and feel extremely fortunate to work with this ship and base," said Navy Office of Information West's Lt. j.g. Robyn Gerstenslager.