'Hollywood to the Navy' Tours USS Independence

SAN DIEGO -- The littoral combat ship USS Independence (LCS 2) played host to actor Milo Ventimiglia and nine other Hollywood professionals in support of the Navy's "Hollywood to the Navy" program, July 13.

Organized by the Navy Office of Information West (NAVINFO West), Hollywood to the Navy provides actors, producers, and other motion picture and television professionals with an inside look at some of the Navy's newest technology and the men and women who make it work.

The aim is for stories involving the Navy to have greater accuracy and authenticity.   Writer and producer Ethan Reiff, an executive producer with the TNT cable network, toured the Independence and was impressed with the ship's all-aluminum design and versatility, particularly how the ship's modular mission packages can be changed in 72 hours or less.

"You couldn't write about this without seeing it for yourself," Reiff said.  

The modular mission packages, unique to both the Independence-class and Freedom-class LCS platforms, are part of many capabilities and technologies that separate the new littoral combat ships from other surface ships. Designed with minimal manning and automation as a requirement, Mineman 1st Class (MN1) Michael Taylor, a native of Panama City, Fla., explained that the Independence's crew of 42 Sailors is able to accomplish missions that would require many times the manpower on older Navy ships.

"We do a lot more with a lot less," Taylor said.   The tour also included visits to the USS Vandergrift (FFG 48) and the Tarawa-class amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu (LHA-5), where visitors got an extensive view of the U.S. military's largest combat medical department on an amphibious warship. Taking notes were Lindsay Sturman and Sharon Watson, writers for the CBS broadcast network, who are collaborating on a new television drama.   "It's been useful for trying to figure out where we want to set it and get the most out of the drama," said Watson, a writer-producer for the Criminal Minds series, about the Navy tour.

For actor Milo Ventimiglia, who plays Robert DeNiro's son in the recently released film Killing Season, the Hollywood to the Navy tour was a reaffirmation of his feelings about the U.S. military.   "The lasting impression I always get in spending time with our military is its sense of honor, pride and integrity," said Ventimiglia. "The Sailors of the Naval Base San Diego uphold that sense to the highest degree. It really is impressive the strength and honor of our nation's great Navy."

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