Sunday, July 06, 2008

PBS's "Carrier" Reality Series: One Submariner's Notes

First, I want to express my profound gratitude to every crewmember of the USS Nimitz for obviously arduous and hazardous service. The sacrifices of individuals like these allow the rest of us to sleep at night in our homeland.

Has the submarine community been watching the PBS series Carrier? Other than trying to prove how open and honest the Navy is with the public, I see scant DOD value to this reality navy series about the USS Nimitz's 6-month deployment to the Persian Gulf in May 2005.

On the 2005 deployment, there were a total of 12 detainees in the Nimitz brig (03:18 video), detained for three days on average. Some will argue with this, but the primetime series is probably attracting more interest from soap opera fans and military detractors than anyone besides carrier crews. It is definitely not putting the Navy's best foot forward.

Is Carrier just another Navy recruiting film? Not exactly. The message being sent is that the discipline expected is not what it was for your uncle or granddad. Some things can still hurt your naval career, but you have to be pretty dumb nowadays to let them happen.

This documentary covers everything from homosexuals in the military to religion to combat and everyday life aboard the ship. Shows sailors/marines on liberty and what they are allowed to do and not to do. Also interesting is that is seems to focus more on the enlisted then the officers especially the pilots. review

In the latest episode (personally only watched the first episode and the last half of the third) a female AN remarked about her ill-advised quickie with a PO1: News on this boat spreads real quickly, so ...

QUESTION: How fast does news spread on a smaller boat, like a submarine?

Apparently, a nuclear carrier, like a nuclear submarine is called a 'boat' these days. Not only was I embarrassed for her and the male PO, both of whom are interviewed on camera at overly ample length, but I was embarrased for the CO [Capt. Ted Branch] and the Navy. They just had to be following orders from a highly placed civilian. Not that I alone may have felt so:

I was most surprised by some of the feelings several of our people shared on film. In many cases these were deeply personal. In the age of MySpace and social networking sites, there is definitely a generational difference in how young people are willing to discuss personal matters openly. - from Interview with Rear Admiral Peter H. Daly, Asst. Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information, Plans and Strategy

In a preview, another female sailor casually says, We would all go crazy if we did not have portholes! Now that was comforting because, as we all know, most military submarines have no portholes!

Her candid admission further underscores the inadvisability of female submarine crew, don't you think? Incidentally, when will the French Foreign Legion accept females?

Well, the Légion étrangère (France's Foreign Legion) which is not open to females, also had a successful role in the Gulf (1990) as a part of Opération Daguet. Is the female director of Carrier simply portraying the feminized version of carrier duty (very noisy) as preferable to say, service in the Legion? Here are the previews, complete with obvious hints; you decide:

Carrier previews...

One source described the production as what appears to be an intimate doc[umentary] about the people of a (floating) institution..

Mel Gibson's Icon Productions (APOCALYPTO) helped fund the project as a production partner.
The a 10-part miniseries Carrier documented some aspects of naval life, aboard the carrier Nimitz (CVN-68) required 17 filmmakers to accompany the crew on its Gulf deployment in support of the Iraq War. The film crew spent weeks trying to find assimilate while 5,000 sailors and Marines were too busy to take notice. Eventually, the film crew captured the ebb and flow of carrier life.



At 06 July, 2008 20:00, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What qualifies Racquel Welch as the 1st female submariner?

At 06 July, 2008 21:08, Blogger Vigilis said...

SonarMan, Hollywood's production of "Fantastic Voyage" spearheaded the very notion of female submariners with Racquel Welch as co-star. Even the movie notion of a female submariner encountered problems, however, as explained here.

At 07 July, 2008 07:20, Blogger Tom Goering said...

My oldest son was on the Nimitz during that deployment - you can actually see him in it when they show a make-shift band practicing.

You would be amazed at how many Americans only experience around Sailors is with that of the recruiter. From a recruiting prospective these documentaries are good. It sometimes relieves some fears but mostly creates enough familiarity that they want to seek out more.

My family has all been carriers - My Dad - USS Enterprise, me the Forrestal - oldest the Nimitz and my middle son is currently on the GW.

Nice blog btw!

Tom Goering

At 07 July, 2008 09:09, Blogger Vigilis said...

Tom Goering, thank you for commenting. Based on your "Navy SEO" blog, you certainly know recruiting.

At 07 July, 2008 20:17, Blogger Tom Goering said...

Thank you. My Navy CyberSpace blog is much much more detailed :)


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