April 9, 2008
Chief of Naval Operations on PBS Series Carrier
Our liberal friends at PBS have put together a program on the Navy.
Remember, any time ‘Hollywood’ gets near the military, the result always degenerates to an anti-war film.
USS Nimitz From: Chief of Naval Operations…
Beginning Sunday, April 27, PBS will air a reality-TV documentary
entitled “CARRIER”, filmed while the production company was embarked
during the entire USS NIMITZ’s 2005 deployment. The program will air
over five nights from Sunday, April 27, to Thursday, May 1, 2008,
9:00-11:00 p.m. ET.
Ten hours of film will be aired, selected from almost 2,000 hours that
were shot over the course of a 6-month deployment to CENTCOM. I have
viewed the production and want to share context and some thoughts
While “Carrier” shows the outstanding work our young Sailors do every
day and the opportunities the Navy offers, it also shows Sailors
making mistakes in their personal and professional lives. The
snapshot is frank and may be somewhat disconcerting to some who came
into the Navy some time ago. However, that said, I believe it will
also resonate with a significant segment of our country, especially
potential recruits and young Sailors serving today.
1) What we did. We provided unprecedented access to our Sailors,
and this production tells their story in a very personal way. There
is no narrator — the stories are told by the Sailors themselves.
You get unvarnished views from junior personnel about their hopes,
aspirations, and challenges of life in the Navy aboard the carrier.
We did not get between the film crews and the Sailors.
2) What we got. The production highlights the racial, gender,
religious, and socio-economic diversity of our Navy. The hard work
our Sailors perform and the remarkable feat of forging thousands of
individuals on a carrier into a truly unique team really shines
through. Culling through hundreds of hours of video, the producers
created a 10-hour reality-TV documentary that shows selected aspects
of our Sailors’ personal and professional challenges. The
cinematography is very high quality and the visuals and music are
sure to appeal to younger audiences.
3) What we did not get. We did not get a Navy “commercial” in the
traditional sense. “CARRIER” is very different from the hardware
documentaries we have supported in the past. This program focuses on
our people and the reality-TV approach gives it a sense of
authenticity and credibility. Since we did not monitor the
individual interviews and ongoing production, the program contains
material that does not always and fully represent the discipline,
values and mission of the U.S. Navy.
You will see some Sailors making personal and professional mistakes,
and expressing opinions that are different from the Navy’s. However,
the production shows that these are the exception, not the norm, and
that leadership is engaged to shape lives and appropriate outcomes.
There are abundant examples of how the Navy changed Sailors’ lives
for the better by giving them opportunities and a disciplined
4) Why did we agree to the project? This production, although not an
all-inclusive picture of the Navy, will give potential recruits and
those who influence them a glimpse of what life is really like in the
Navy. We want the American people to know, understand and appreciate
the contribution our Sailors make each and every day while deployed
around the world. We also want them to know us, not as a monolithic
bureaucratic entity, but as a diverse organization of individual
Americans who have set aside the comforts of home and have put
themselves on the line to serve a greater cause. You already know
how inspiring our people are, but few in our Nation get to see our
people in an operational environment.
Some of you may be called upon to offer public comments about this
film to the media or to community groups. We will soon distribute PA
guidance to support your efforts and will be putting additional
information on www.navy.mil in the near future. If you need any
additional information, please contact CHINFO, RDML Frank Thorp.
Thank you for all that you do.
All the best,
Thank you (foot)notes:
Thank you to John Howland at USNA-AT-LARGE for sending this out.
See more pictures.