From a Naval Officer:
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 with you.
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 environment.
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 theNavy. 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.