Promotion for Navy Secretary Mabus courtesy Hollywood
May 17th, 2012
04:23 PM ET

Promotion for Navy Secretary Mabus courtesy Hollywood

By Larry Shaughnessy

Those who spend enough time around the military know promotions are important to folks in uniform. But one sailor has made the jump from a lieutenant (junior grade) to captain in one big leap, with help from Hollywood.

Ray Mabus served as a very junior officer on the USS Little Rock in the early 1970s. He left the Navy with the rank of a junior lieutenant and later became a successful businessman, diplomat and politician.

Now he's secretary of the Navy, the civilian in charge of the entire Navy and Marine Corps.

But he's donned the khaki uniform again. Only this time he's just one promotion short of an admiral.That promotion did not come courtesy the military.  Mabus got the big jump in rank thanks to the makers of the new movie "Battleship." The movie, which opens in theaters this weekend, is loosely based on the game, but it's more like "Transformers at Sea," with the U.S. Navy (and others) battling aliens to save Earth.

The filmmakers, who depended on the Navy for a lot of help, asked Mabus to play the role of the commanding officer of the USS Ronald Reagan, one of America's newest nuclear-powered aircraft carriers.

That's a job typically given to Navy captains, not former junior grade officers. Of course, this is a movie about battleships, a type of warship that's been obsolete for decades. The Navy got rid of its last battle-wagons six years ago. Many are now just floating museums.

Mabus isn't the only real-life military person in the movie. Also appearing is Col. Greg Gadson, still in the active duty Army, despite losing both his legs to an improvised explosive device in Iraq.

But while Mabus got a promotion, Gadson was demoted from full colonel in real life to lieutenant colonel in the movie. However, Gadson does play many of his scenes opposite former Sports Illustrated cover model-turned-actress Brooklyn Decker.

So, some might say Gadson did pretty well for himself.

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Filed under: Navy • Pop Culture
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  19. wondering999

    Sec. Mabus has also made a cameo appearance on the TV show NCIS as an NCIS agent.

    May 20, 2012 at 6:24 pm | Reply
  20. Brett

    "type of warship that's been obsolete for decades"

    Only "obsolete" until we need them again. I hope we have an Iowa class or two still in mothballs. Hit one of them with a USS Cole style attack and the only repairs you will need will be done with a few gallons of haze gray.

    May 19, 2012 at 8:13 am | Reply
    • lordshipmayhem

      The Iowa class are all museum ships, the last one heading for its final port right now. Every battleship that yet survives is a museum somewhere, from HMS Victory to the Iowa class.

      May 21, 2012 at 12:52 am | Reply
  21. trekfuel

    no such rank as 'junior lieutenant' in the Navy.

    May 19, 2012 at 6:26 am | Reply
    • dk76

      I think they meant LT. JG

      May 20, 2012 at 4:31 am | Reply
    • acajunthatsagun

      LT junior grade

      May 20, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Reply
  22. ludvig

    Mabus was the name of the anti-christ in Nostradomus's quatrains. Hope he don't run for office.

    May 18, 2012 at 9:26 pm | Reply
  23. Fed Up

    Most of the so-called "military" movies are hoaxes. I like the old versions of 'Midway' and 'Tora! Tora! Tora!' for real accuracy, historically-speaking. Saving Private Ryan did a pretty good job (how it lost the Oscar to 'Shakespeare' is beyond me) and is probably the last one I've seen so far. Those without a brain or taste like trash such as 'Pearl Harbor' – Josh Hartnett wouldn't last a day in uniform.

    May 18, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Reply
  24. Joe

    Promotion for Navy Secretary Mabus courtesy Hollywood
    Going from Secretary of the Navy to a Captain (06) is a demotion not a promotion. Yeah he used to be an 02 but he's currently in the chain of command much higher than the 06 paygrade.

    May 18, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Reply
  25. RetiredVet

    As a retired Navy veteran, I will not ever see this movie as it is a "Transformers at Sea" movie, the last real Navy movie was Act of Valor with real Navy SEALS. This movie looks like crap to me and other Navy veterans.

    May 18, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Reply
    • dk76

      i am familiar with the good old military movies, and this is something that kids would like....
      USS Missouri was decommissioned during the early 90's and in the movie they had the WWII vets attending the decommissioning ceremony. They also had the old vets jump start the ship, mobilized and reactivated it's guns.... really! they just decommissioned the ship, even long before that the ship wouldn't have any ammunition, but they did in the movie.

      May 20, 2012 at 4:44 am | Reply
  26. Rick Hoffman

    And retired Navy Captain Rick Hoffman got promoted to Admiral as I depict the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of staff. So O-2 to O-6 for Mabus. O-6 to O-10 for me!
    I also promoted one Master Chief to Lieutenant, but most would not consider that a promotion.

    May 18, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Reply
    • Retired Chief

      Busted a Master Chief to LT? He must have screwed up real bad.

      May 18, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Reply
      • Hugo

        Correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding is the minimum service requirements for Master Chief are 6 years as a chief and 13 years of service. So, a sailor entering at 18 would be 31 after 13 years. If he's planning on a 30 year career, he'd be a Master Chief for 19 of those years. Doesn't sound too interesting.

        I think it's a given that a person making Master Chief at 31 would be a very confident and competent sailor. Does it really make sense to have him as Master Chief for 19 years? Sure, he could become MCPON but would he necessarily want that job.

        Anyway, let's say he was 33 when promoted to Lt. That's not too old for someone planning to stay until 48. I doubt he'd stay at stuck at Lt. for long.

        Another possibility is that he fell in love with an officer and he was willing to accept the promotion to keep out of trouble.

        May 18, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
      • Navybat

        Yeah, yeah...claim that it's a "demotion" to the officer ranks from the enlisted ranks. It's a promotion. You may not like it, but pay goes up, opportunity for promotion to higher officer rank is given, and the chain of command is clear–officers outrank enlisted. Period. Facts don't lie. You don't have to like the facts, though.

        May 19, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
      • dk76

        it's roughly a thousand dollar a month upgrade from a MCPO to a LT. Usually to become a MCPO, it takes about 18 to 20 year of an exceptional record. Last time I heard, the record for the quickest MCPO was 14 years.for three sailors from Aegis TRC. I would jump the chance to go from a MCPO to a LT, i'll be the oldest junior grade officer in the Navy LOL.... but seriously being a MCPO you have the same respect as a senior officer or more.

        May 20, 2012 at 5:00 am |

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