That said, the military’s got gear that might give Zordon (played by Bryan Cranston) some inspiration.
1. M1A2 Abrams tank
This is one tough vehicle. In “Armored Cav,” Tom Clancy related the tale of how one Abrams tank survived being hit multiple times by T-72 main gun rounds from as close as 400 yards!
The Abrams also has superb firepower in the form of its 120mm main gun, a M2 .50-caliber machine gun, and two M240 7.62mm machine guns. In essence, this tank is already a Zord in many respects.
Might as well make it official.
2. B-1B Lancer
This plane carries a lot of firepower – 84 Mk 82 500-pound bombs – and that is considering that its external weapons carriage was disabled as a result of the United States signing the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. The plane is also fast, and capable of flying at treetop level.
3. A-10 Thunderbolt
There is no reason why the A-10 – and its ability to BRRRRRT the bad guys with the GAU-8 — shouldn’t be a Zord. It is very tough (remember how Kim Campbell brought back a busted-up A-10?). It also carries a lot of bombs.
Put it this way — even a skyscraper-sized minion of Rita’s would be hard-pressed to stand up against a squadron of baseline Warthogs, but against an A-10 Thunderbolt Zord?
4. M270 MLRS
This vehicle gets the nod for its firepower. The various rockets it fires can spread bomblets or a unitary charge. That ruins the day for infantry and enemy vehicles, but when it uses the MGM-140 ATACMS – or the Army Tactical Missile System – it could probably put the hurt on one of the skyscraper-sized monsters as well.
5. M50 Ontos
This is more a blast from the past. That said, the six 106mm recoilless rifles provide a huge punch. The rifles could fire anti-personnel or anti-tank rounds.
In Vietnam, the Ontos was deadly against enemy infantry – and given that the fighting against Rita’s minions is likely to involve a lot of hand-to-hand fighting (until she calls in her big guns), the Ontos makes sense.
6. M1097 Avenger
A lot of this has been focused on the air-to-ground aspect. But it never hurts to be ready for some ground-to-air action. DefenseNews.com notes that Boeing is proposing some upgrades to the baseline Avenger, notably the AIM-9X Sidewinder and the Longbow version of the AGM-114 Hellfire.
Now, we have no idea what any Megazord from these vehicles would look like, but given their firepower – would they need a Megazord configuration? We doubt it. We’d also like to know, what military vehicles do you think Zordon should use as the basis for his next generation of Zords?
One file exposed a plot crafted by senior leaders in the Kennedy Administration encouraging Cubans to kill government agents for financial rewards.
The bounties for targeting Communist informers, cell leaders, department heads, foreign supporters, and government officials ranged from $5,000 to as much as $100,000. The plan, according to the newly released file, was to drop leaflets from the air in Cuba advertising the rewards.
A meager $0.02 was offered for the killing of Fidel Castro, then Cuba’s prime minister.
In 1975, Edward Lansdale, a prominent CIA intelligence official, testified to the Senate that the pocket-change offering for the Cuban leader was meant “to denigrate … Castro in the eyes of the Cuban population.” Lansdale was known for leading counter-insurgency missions in developing countries, especially in Vietnam and the Philippines.
The recently released JFK file goes on to say that once the plan was implemented, US agents would “kidnap known [Communist] party members thereby instilling confidence in the operation among the Cuban populace and apprehension among the Cuban hierarchy.”
The kill-for-pay plan — dubbed “Operation Bounty” — never took hold. Lansdale said he “tabled” the concept because he didn’t think “it was something that should be seriously undertaken or supported further.”
It’s unclear why exactly he thought the plan should have been scrapped. The CIA had, on numerous occasions, attempted to assassinate Castro and overthrow his Communist government.
Carl Brashear was no stranger to adversity. A sharecropper’s son, he grew up on a farm in Kentucky and attended segregated schools his entire life. He enlisted in the Navy the same year that President Truman effectively ended segregation in the military by issuing Executive Order 9981. Brashear was told repeatedly that he couldn’t be a Navy diver: no black man ever had. His application was ignored and lost, over and over until 1954 when he made the cut. But those struggles paled in comparison to the mission that cost him his leg.
When Brashear enlisted, black sailors were only offered jobs like serving white officers meals or cleaning up. Brashear knew he was meant to do more. He wanted to be a Navy diver.
In addition to the physical attributes it takes to be a Diver, you also have to have a bit of smarts too. There is a science to diving and understanding it is a key prerequisite to becoming and advancing through the Diving hierarchy. Brashear had grown up in rural Kentucky and, because of the lack of education in segregated schools, had the equivalent of an 8th grade education. While he had become a salvage diver which was difficult in and of itself, in order to get to the next step, he had to pass a grueling science component.
It took him almost 9 years, but he was able to do so, and became a First-Class Diver in 1964. Braesher made history as the first African American to become a Navy diver.
Then the accident happened.
In January 1966, off the coast of Spain, two Air Force planes collided while attempting to link up to refuel. A B-52G Stratofortress Bomber collided with a KC-135A Stratotanker causing both planes to go down. All four of the refueler’s crew perished while three of the seven crew died on the bomber when their plane broke apart.
While the loss of life itself was devastating, the cargo of the bomber was cause of grave concern as well. Falling to the earth were four MK28 Hydrogen bombs.
Three of the bombs were found immediately in a Spanish fishing village. The fourth was believed to have fallen into the Mediterranean.
The Air Force asked the assistance of the United States Navy. After 80 days of searching, the bomb was finally located. It took over 20 ships, thousands of men and about 150 Navy Divers, one of whom was Carl Brashear.
Two months into the search, a tow cable snapped and sent a pipe into Brashear’s leg almost shearing it off. Brashear was medevaced to Germany and then Virginia. Despite all attempts to save his left leg below the knee, doctors could not stop the infections and necrosis that set in.
Brashear would have to lose his leg.
For most of us who served, this should have meant the end of his career and most certainly should have ended his time as a Navy Diver.
For Carl Brashear, that was not an option. His journey in the Navy had already been long and arduous, and he had his eyes set on something bigger. One of his personal beliefs was, “It’s not a sin to get knocked down; it’s a sin to stay down”.
It should have been the end of his career. For Brashear it was just another fight he was going to win. The Navy set about the process to medically retire him.
Brashear refused to show up for his med-board meeting and instead went about proving to the Navy that he could be returned to active duty. As reported by the L.A. Times, Brashear said, “Sometimes I would come back from a run, and my artificial leg would have a puddle of blood from my stump. In that year, if I would have gone to sick bay, they would have written me up. I didn’t go to sick bay. I’d go somewhere and hide and soak my leg in a bucket of hot water with salt in it — an old remedy.”
It took almost two years of determination, but in 1968, Brashear was able to be recertified as a Navy Diver.
Again, for most people this would have been a remarkable finale. For Brashear, there was one more major goal he wanted.
Brashear pushed through the limitation of having a prosthetic leg and studied master the scientific criteria that was needed to get to the next level.
In two years, he did it. In 1970, he became the first African American to become a Master Diver in the United State Navy.
Brashear retired in 1979 as a Master Chief Petty Officer and Master Diver.
Through his career he told people, “I ain’t going to let nobody steal my dream”.
According to the Florida-based company, the fully-submersible nautical craft has over 30,000 pounds of lift and supports 12 hours of underwater operations. The vessel’s sea-to-shore feature makes secretly transporting troops easy where large amphibious ships can’t deliver — perfect for those classified MARSOC missions.
With similar dimensions compared to the classic rigid-hull inflatable boat (RHIB) — the Hyper-Sub is geared for a cruising speed of 30-mph (26 knots), powered by two 480hp Yanmar 6LY3-ETP diesel engines with V-drives. The craft can handle a diving depth of 1,200 ft, but only with the steel cabin option (the acrylic option dives to 500 ft ).
The Hyper-Sub is much heavier and slower than that its inflatable boat counterpart. But its ability to submerge in a matter of moments makes it the better option for a stealth operations.
The HyperSub’s cargo area designed to hold up to 6,000 lbs of gear and/or potential troops. (Source: Hyper-Sub)
Before he was a U.S. senator, and later a presidential candidate, John McCain was a naval aviator over the skies of Vietnam. But the 1958 graduate of the Naval Academy is probably known less for his flying skills and more for what he did on the ground, as a prisoner of war for more than five years.
“I hated it, and yet I made some of the most important discoveries and relationships of my life in prison,” McCain wrote in a post on Quora, in response to the question of what it was like to be a P.O.W.
When he was shot down, McCain was on his 23rd mission: A bombing run over Hanoi. “A Russian missile the size of a telephone pole came up — the sky was full of them — and blew the right wing off my Skyhawk dive bomber,” he recalled in U.S. News World Report.
With his jet traveling at roughly 575 mph, he was able to eject. But when he landed in enemy territory, he had broken his left arm, his right arm in three places, and his right leg near the knee. He was captured soon after, and taken to the infamous Hỏa Lò Prison, better known by its prisoners as the “Hanoi Hilton.”
In his Quora post and in his book “Faith of my Fathers,” he recounted his poor treatment and very limited contact with the outside world. But there were two big things McCain learned:
“I learned I wasn’t as strong as I thought I was, but I was strong enough,” he wrote. “And I learned there were things I couldn’t do on my own, but that nothing is as liberating as fighting for a cause that’s bigger than yourself.”
The Army Combat Fitness Test is comprised of the deadlift, standing power throw, hand release push-up, sprint-drag-carry, leg tuck, and 2-mile run. When designing the test, they looked at the Marine Corps’ Physical Fitness Test and Combat Fitness Test, the Air Force TAC-P Operators Test, and physical performance assessments from 10-15 other sports programs and military/government tests.
All soldiers must be capable to deploy and fight. From the Army Vision: “The Army Mission – our purpose – remains constant: To deploy, fight, and win our nation’s wars by providing ready, prompt, and sustain land dominance by Army forces.” To accomplish that mission, the Army will “build readiness for high intensity conflict” with training that “will be tough, realistic, iterative and battled-focused.” The battlefields of today and tomorrow are increasingly complex, fluid, and uncertain; they demand that all Soldiers are physically fit and ready for full-spectrum operations. —U.S. Army Combat Fitness Test website
To help prepare soldiers, the Army really went above and beyond with educational materials about the test. From videos of the exercises to training techniques and safety tips to highlighting the muscles engaged, the page is an incredible resource.
If I sound surprised, it’s because I am.
The military does not have a good reputation of taking care of service members’ bodies. There’s an underlying “suck it up” mentality that tends to prevent troops from treating injuries in a timely manner. When they do finally seek medical care, it’s often too late and they’re added to the end of a too-long list of patients needing treatment.
U.S. troops deploy to combat zones and respond to missions that require physical strength, flexibility, and capability, so it’s important that they train hard — but it’s also critical that they learn how to prevent and treat injuries efficiently.
A minor training nuisance like a strained muscle or a shin splint can become a career-ending injury when ignored; instead it should be treated like a loose part on a weapon and it prioritized as such.
The effort the Army put into their website might seem like a small thing, but it actually communicates the importance of soldiers’ bodies — training them, honing them, and caring for them.
The mission of the Sports Medicine Injury Prevention (SMIP) Program is to reduce attrition and lost work-days associated with musculoskeletal injuries (MSKI) in order to increase operational readiness of individual Marine, Sailors, and their units. —U.S. Marine Corps SMIP website
I wish I had this kind of stuff when I was active duty.
The Army, on the other hand:
The government knows that injuries are a detriment to the military, but the Army has currently has a lead in educating its troops about how to train. Physical health should be prioritized as part of the military culture, not just physical strength. Troops can’t be strong if they’re not healthy.
Check out the website here — and then get your ass to the gym!
On April 19, 2018, DARPA announced the DARPA Launch Challenge, designed to promote rapid access to space within days, not years. Our nation’s space architecture is currently built around a limited number of exquisite systems with development times of up to 10 years. With the launch challenge, DARPA plans to accelerate capabilities and further incentivize industry to deliver launch solutions that are both flexible and responsive.
“Current launch systems and payload development were created in an era when each space launch was a national event,” said Todd Master, the DARPA Launch Challenge program manager for DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office. “We want to demonstrate the ability to launch payloads to orbit on extremely short notice, with no prior knowledge of the payload, destination orbit, or launch site. The launch environment of tomorrow will more closely resemble that of airline operations—with frequent launches from a myriad of locations worldwide.”
The commercial small-launch (10kg-1000kg) industry has embraced advances in manufacturing, micro-technologies, and autonomous launch/range infrastructure. DARPA seeks to leverage this expertise to transform space system development for the nation’s defense. Frequent, flexible, and responsive launch is key to this transformation.
In late 2019, qualified teams will compete for prizes, with a top prize of $10 million. Teams will receive exact details on the payload in the days before each of the two launch events, with only a few weeks’ notice about the location of the first launch site. Once they successfully deliver their payload to low Earth orbit (LEO), competing teams will get details of the second launch site. Teams again will have just days to successfully deliver a second payload to LEO, for a chance at a prize. Final ranking for the top three prizes will depend on speed, payload, mass, and orbit accuracy.
DARPA is coordinating closely with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which is responsible for granting licenses for commercial space launches and will be involved throughout the challenge. Competitors participating in the DARPA Launch Challenge are required to obtain FAA licenses for all launch activity conducted under this effort.
A competitors’ day with representatives from DARPA and the FAA will be held in Los Angeles May 23, 2018. To register to attend or for additional guidelines on how to participate in the challenge, please visit www.darpalaunchchallenge.org.
In addition to myriad other “brown water” missions the U.S. Coast Guard is responsible for all icebreaking operations done by the U.S. government. Coast Guard assets include two arctic icebreakers, a Great Lakes-based icebreaker, and a fleet of smaller cutters to clear bays, rivers, and other waterways.
The first icebreaker in the Coast Guard was not a true icebreaker, but the Revenue Cutter Bear, which featured a reinforced hull and spent its career with the Coast Guard’s predecessor, the Revenue Cutter Service, serving from Seattle to present day Dutch Harbor.
The Great Lakes and areas like the Hudson Bay are also serviced by 140-foot icebreaking tugs, such as the Biscayne Bay and Sturgeon Bay. In addition to icebreaking, these cutters also conduct search and rescue, law enforcement, and aids-to-navigation.
Today, ocean-going icebreakers serve several purposes. In addition to opening up shipping channels, they conduct scientific experiments, escort ships, conduct law enforcement and search and rescue, as well as enforce treaties and environmental protections. The Healy also boasts more than 4,000 square feet of laboratory space for civilian, military, and NOAA scientists to collect data and conduct experiments while the cutter is underway. The crews help facilitate environmental protections, such as cleaning up oil spills or other issues, as well as rescue operations and law enforcement as needed.
Life on an icebreaker is hardly easy. The crew may be out of home port for more than eight months a year. Every person aboard must be accounted for twice a day. The job is hazardous, with deaths of crew members being documented due to accidents on both ocean-going icebreakers. Temperatures in the Arctic Circle can get lower than 35 to 50 degrees below zero.
A variety of cutters were used for icebreaking in the north Pacific, but the first true icebreaker was built for the Coast Guard in 1942. The Staten Island was the first of seven Wind-Class cutters built for the Coast Guard. At 269 feet in length, the cutters had the ability to list, or tilt, side to side to break free from ice.
The two iterations of the Mackinaw were both created to serve upon the five great lakes. The main reason for the icebreaking mission on the Great Lakes is to keep commercial vessels moving throughout the winter. The first cutter was built in 1944 and served for 62 years before being decommissioned and turned into a floating museum.
Today, the Polar Star and the Healy make icebreaking voyages. The Healy and Polar Star have participated in voyages to McMurdo Station, Antarctica, to help resupply the missions there. In 2015, the Healy became the first U.S. surface vessel to reach the North Pole unaccompanied. While the Healy has made voyages south, she generally is the Arctic icebreaker due to her lighter weight. The heavier Polar Star is an Antarctic icebreaker.
While it may seem that two icebreakers is enough for America’s needs, it hardly compares to other Arctic nations. Russia boasts twenty-seven nuclear powered icebreakers, and even Sweden has a fleet of five. There is little room for failure in missions to the Arctic and Antarctic, as there is only one cutter to service each area and there are no other backups. The Coast Guard has requested new icebreakers from Congress, but they have not been authorized due to the $1 billion price tag that comes with each new icebreaker.
The icebreaker USCGC Glacier is shown approaching McMurdo Station, Antarctica. A cargo vessel is seen in the left foreground docked at a floating ice pier. The U.S. Navy commissioned the Glacier in August 1955, after which she participated in the first Operation Deep Freeze, which included the construction of McMurdo. The Navy transferred the Glacier to the U.S. Coast Guard in 1966.
A lack of funding for the Coast Guard has long been one of the service’s biggest issues, and with an aging fleet of cutters and aircraft, the small allowance the USCG gets yearly to replace assets is spent elsewhere first. As the ice melts in the Arctic, traffic and commerce will continue to increase, and other Arctic nations are beginning to create a larger foothold in the area. Both Russia and Finland have contracts for even more icebreakers, leaving the U.S. stranded in the ice if the government cannot compete.
Editor’s note: A special thanks to Ensign Sam Krakower, USCG for his expertise in Coast Guard Arctic Policy.
It’s not that she isn’t fond of games. Or that she isn’t fond of the show. Whatever she thinks of it, it employs upwards of thousands of her subjects. When Queen Elizabeth visited the set of HBO’s Game of Thrones and met with its producers and cast, she refused to have a seat on the now-legendary chair.
She just wasn’t allowed.
“What a charming prop,” she probably thought, thinking of her many, many actual thrones in her real-life palaces.
What Game of Thrones fans among us haven’t thought about getting a photo of themselves sitting in the chair that rightfully belongs to King of the Andals and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, and Protector of the Realm? When offered the chance for herself, Queen Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God Queen of this Realm and of Her other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith, declined.
Showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss and cast members Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister), Kit Harington (Jon Snow), Maisie Williams (Arya Stark), and Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark) were left a little surprised. The Queen was very polite about the subject, but it was a polite refusal.
It turns out, the Queen of England can’t just sit on any throne she wants to.
Unless it somehow *becomes* hers, I suppose. #Loopholes.
An old, old tradition really does prohibit the reigning English monarch from even sitting on a foreign throne. Note: This is not an actual law preventing the practice, it’s just a good practice that she’s carried on from the days of yore. While the Queen’s position is more of a ceremonial one these days, in some places, a King or Queen may actually wield the power of the state and sitting on the throne could be considered an act of aggression. When Kings and Queens meet, it seems like sitting only on appropriate chairs is just good practice.
So avoiding the fictional Iron Throne was probably just good practice. The 92-year-old monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland doesn’t need a special chair to feel important like the rest of us peasants.
Kevin Kent is one of the most experienced and trusted military advisors in Hollywood. With over 20 years as a U.S. Navy SEAL, specializing in evasive driving, air operations, diving, & weapons handling/ instruction, while traveling to hundreds of countries, he definitely has the experience to back it up. He currently works as a director, producer, actor, stuntman, personal security specialist, weapon’s instructor, and a Military/ Police & Technical Advisor in the film industry, as part of Global Studies Group International. WATM sat down with Kent to learn more about his background, his experience in the Navy and how it all translates to the big screen.
Can you share about your family and your life growing up?
I am the youngest of three boys. My father was a 22-year Army veteran and served in Vietnam. I was born in Greece and my brothers were born at various spots around the globe. My mom is a nurse and I had a disciplined childhood. My father retired from the Army when I was about five years old and we moved back to northwest Tennessee in the late 70s where my parents had grown up. My parents were very goal-oriented people and that education was important. We were driven to do our best and learn something. My grandparents had a farm where I grew up hauling hay and cutting tobacco, so it was hard work. I played baseball and football growing up. I am an Eagle Scout and was heavily involved in scouting. Both of my brothers are Eagle Scouts. We camped a lot and spent much time outdoors.
Accountability was a key family value that was stressed. Being in the military reinforced some of those values taught as a kid. Holding yourself and others around you accountable. Don’t succumb to peer pressure. If you screw up, own it. Write down goals and set out a path. You never think your parents are as smart as they actually are until you grow up.
What made you want to become a SEAL and what was your experience like?
I did not want to go to college while in high school where I was more hands on and desired to build something or travel. I couldn’t see myself sitting in a classroom. I was given guidance but come from a small town where a lot of the industry had dried up. The town went from 20,000 people living there to about 10,000 because of the industry drying up. The military was the best thing for me and my father gave me the advice to join the Navy instead of the Army for EOD school. He shared that the Navy owns the school and will get dive training out of it. The Navy is a better fit for who I was. I didn’t care for the Navy uniforms at the time, Cracker Jack guy. My mom was happy about me joining the Navy. My oldest brother was in the Army as well. You couldn’t be an EOD tech until you were an E-5, so it was a long road. You couldn’t get orders to the school until you were an E-5. The EOD school is technically hard, similar to Navy Nuke school.
Before leaving for bootcamp I was informed about the SEAL program. I had some knowledge of the program and knew it was going to be tough. I joined the Navy a few months after high school and went into a dive program to train for BUD/S. All of the guys in the program were in my bootcamp company. I went to bootcamp in Orlando, FL. You had to pass your first Physical Screening Test with a certain score and times for the program. You had to pick a source rating (Navy Fleet MOS) if you washed out of BUD/S. I ended up with Gunner’s Mate and had to do a six-month long course. I reported to Great Lakes, MI and was part of a galley detail to prepare food for the rest of the base, so my class didn’t start up for another two months. That was my first taste of the military’s “hurry up and wait.”
After graduating A school, BUD/S was backed up so the Navy was sending candidates to dive commands. It was so weird because I ended up at the EOD school in Indian Head, MD which is the same one my dad went through. I spent six months at the command getting ready for BUD/S. I went to BUD/S in 1994 and graduated in 1995 where I was sent to SEAL Team Five in 1995. I went to Jump School on my way to my unit. I made E-4 right before “Hell Week” and checked into SEAL Team Five with nothing much going on. I was assigned to SEAL Tactical Training upon arriving at my unit. It used to be where each team would run its own STT training that tailored it to the unit’s missions. SEAL Team Five used to be a colder weather unit.
I did nine deployments overall and was initially with SEAL Team Five for ten years. At the time there were SEALs that had been with one team for twenty years. My first deployment I ended up in the Persian Gulf after Desert Storm. In that deployment we were involved in recon and ship boarding in the region. My first deployment into Iraq in 2003 was eye opening to see how people can be oppressed, especially women by the Baath party. We were digging up mass graves in countries where people were getting closure on their lost relatives. It is insurmountable with forensic people laying out countless human bones on mats to where Iraqis are waiting to see if their family member(s) are among the bones. We took over a dam in the early part of the invasion that was in the eastern part of Iraq. The dam was near Tikrit and further east. We had dune buggies to traverse around the areas. We had a lot of helicopter supporters and two C-130s on station for support. Once we got on the ground, we secured the dam.
The next day we were driving around scouting everything where there was a village close to the dam. It was amazing seeing some of the kids where they were blonde haired and blue-eyed Persians. It was like something out of Alexander the Great and being from another time. We found a lot of anti-aircraft guns loaded close to the dam that were unmanned. If someone had been on one of these guns when we came in via helicopter we would have been shot out of the sky. We turned over the dam to a Marine Corps unit later on. The Iraqi people in the village welcomed us with open arms. People from the village also showed up to the dam for work where we had to turn them away.
Kent on being secured from “Hell Week” at BUD/S class 198. Photo credit KK.
What are you most proud of from your service in the Navy?
I’m most proud of the group of men that I was able to stand side by side with and do great things for oppressed people in the world, such as those in Iraq and other places in the world. I believe that this Country is the greatest in the world and having our presence in many places brings hope to those individuals who might never have any type of freedom or individual rights. I’ve stood at the edge of mass gravesites, while looking mothers, fathers, sons and daughters in their eyes, as they hoped that the large excavating machine would reveal whether or not these people’s loved ones were buried there many decades prior to our occupation of their home. Just so they could get closure.
Kent during his time as a SEAL. Photo credit KK.
What values have you carried over from the Navy into Hollywood?
Harry Humphries has been my mentor and has trained me well. I have brought over “Train like you fight” from my service, especially when instructing the technical part of the role. I cut my teeth on “The Last Ship” for five seasons with Harry, which was a constant cycle of work. Actors would come to pitch me ideas on the show of what to do tactically, where it added a lot of realism to the show. Credibility is key and we want to make sure the actors are training and doing rehearsals. The camaraderie aspect of the work I do is great. We had a tight knit group in the most recent season of “Jack Ryan.” For season two of the show I was in Columbia by myself as an adviser. We got so close working together down in Columbia it kind of felt like I was in a platoon again. The actors want to remain authentic as military-types and they want to do a good job.
Kent on his retirement day from the SEALs. Photo credit KK.
Kent at his retirement ceremony. Photo credit KK.
What was one of the toughest lessons to learn coming from the service to Hollywood?
One of the better lessons learned was in Season Two of “The Last Ship” where I was working with Keith Woulard where he sees me talking with some actors. As a note, my last two years in the military I was a BUD/S instructor as a third phase weapons chief, so I could be intense. Keith comes up to me and asks, “What am I doing?” He gives me tips such as tell the actors they are doing something right first and then telling them where they are messing up. So, I may have been a little hard on them where they are actors and not SEALs.
“The Last Ship” 2018 (L>R Bridget Regan, Eric Dane, Kevin Kent)
Kent with Mike Moriarty and Harry Humphries. Photo credit IMDB.com.
What was it like working on projects such as Twelve Strong, Bumblebee, 13 Hours, Kong: Skull Island, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, The Last Ship, Da 5 Bloods and the like?
All of the directors on those projects were professional where I would work with them again if the opportunity arose. Each project offered a different challenge as shared with “Jack Ryan.” 13 Hours with Michael Bay was great where he was such a huge influence on me. Bay puts us in a place to succeed where he wants military guys a part of the production and in the cast. 13 Hours set me up for success on “Jack Ryan” with John Krasinski where John wants to make everything look better. Twelve Strong was my first opportunity working with Jerry Bruckheimer where it was eye opening. Bruckheimer is a machine when it comes to producing. Bruckheimer and Ian Bryce were just phenomenal to work with.
We were surprised when we went to Thailand to work with Spike Lee for Da 5 Bloods. Lee is so organized and knows exactly what he wants. Lee was okay with me training the actors every day where on other productions that would not fly. The stunt guys were getting so many repetitions where it definitely showed in the finished product. He knows everybody’s job on set to where after a take he would ask me what we thought about a take. He would encourage me to go give people notes if needed. Lee filmed the flashback sequences on 16mm film, which was the first time we have ever seen film on a set before.
Filming on Transformers 4 (2014) in Detroit (L>R, Titus Welliver, Kevin Kent, Michael Bay, Andrew Arrabito, Kenny Sheard).
Kent on set with the cast of 12 Strong. Photo credit IMDB.com.
12 Strong 2018 (L>R David H. Venghaus Jr, Kevin Kent, Chris Hemsworth)
13 Hours 2016 (L>R David Furr, Demetrius Grosse, Kevin Kent, Mike Moriarty, David Giuntoli)
Kent on set with the cast of 13 Hours. Photo credit IMDB.com.
Season 1 of “Jack Ryan” in Morocco (2017) (Kneeling L>R Wendell Pierce, John Hoogenakker, Joost Janssen,
Standing L>R Ron Culpepper, Geoff Reeves, Mike Moriarty, John Krasinski, Kevin Kent, Todd Sharbutt, Christian Stewart, Scott Foxx.
Season 2 of “Jack Ryan” in Colombia (Kevin Kent as Savage)
On set with Jeff Ward (stunt coordinator), Humphries, Kent and stunt team members of Da 5 Bloods. Photo credit KK.
What leadership lessons in life and from the SEALs have helped you most in your career?
Praise in public and chastise in private. Always take responsibility as a leader. It’s easy to be the leader when things are going great, but when Michael Bay comes and says, “What are you doing?”, it is not always that easy. My deployments have given me life perspective and patience in tough situations. I recognize where we are at and what needs done, I stay calm in the intense moments on set.
As a service, how do we get more veteran stories told in the Hollywood arena?
I feel like most individuals coming from the military are extremely humble about their service and aren’t inclined to tell “war stories” to people they don’t know. In many ways, those actions and stories are sacred to the brothers-in-arms that lived those tales, and many guys feel vulnerable to be judged by others who perhaps didn’t live through those specific interactions or battles. However, if there was a way to get some of these high influence personal, such as Medal of Honor recipients to open up about their specific challenges and victories downrange, while either leading or being led by phenomenal service members, it might lead more people to open up and tell their stories. Even getting these stories on a podcast with guys like Jocko Willink, who has a great platform and could lead to potential books being written or interest in films made about these phenomenal individuals. Obviously, it would take someone with some clout in the industry, like a Bruckheimer or Bryce to develop these stories into something meaningful for the screen. Tom Hanks has done great things with his production team for projects such as “Band of Brothers”, “The Pacific”, and Saving Private Ryan to name a few. I would love to take on a military project as part of a proven team like that and I’m sure the Harry Humphries story needs to be told!
Navy SEALs vs. Zombies (2015)
What would you like to do next in your career?
I want to get into writing, producing and second unit directing. I started the Digital Cinematography program at Full Sail University. It has got me out of my comfort zone and has helped hone my technical skills, especially with editing in Premiere Pro. Harry and his wife Catherine have been very supportive of my education. I really want to stress how great she & Harry have been in bringing me into this industry. I filmed a couple of documentaries and my kids are into acting right now. It would be great to work with fellow veterans as well. One of the things that pushed me in this direction was having worked on “Jack Ryan” where I worked with Dennie Gordon, she did season two of the show. She is phenomenal at her craft and is a great person. We have kept in contact with each other since our time on “Jack Ryan.” She would let me set up and block shots for the series. It pushed me to get my stuff together and learn about the craft. I can now talk to the director and the cinematographer about the shots in a technical manner.
I was humbled to meet Patricia Riggen as well on “Jack Ryan” where her and her husband Checco Varese who is a cinematographer. There was a mutual feeling of respect between Patricia and Check where I learned as much from them as they did me. They both pulled me aside and told me how much they want to work with me again and the feeling was the same from me as well. It has been amazing where I am grateful in having people like them and more take time with me and mentor me. It has been great working with so many high-level people.
Kent with his twin boys. Photo credit KK.
What are you most proud of in life and your career?
The fact that I was able to hold my family together. I have been married now for 18 years, I have twin boys that are 15 and a daughter that is 11. I am grateful to be able to teach and mold them into the productive members of society I want them to be. Being deployed so much kept me away where my wife is a saint. She puts up with me being gone all the time and is the glue that holds everything together.
One of my son’s has expressed interest in joining the service when he is old enough. My sons were introduced to acting when they were young by my wife since they are twins. They played Bill Paxton’s son for five seasons on the HBO show “Big Love”, which put me on set to be with them. They did the last two seasons of “Weeds” as the son of Mary Louise Parker. The boys were nominated separately for the same award for the Imagen foundation (https://www.imagen.org/) which is for Hispanics in Entertainment. They did a show called “Room 104” where they were nominated for best young actor award for TV. It is crazy when one of my sons says, “I don’t know dad it might be cool to be a Navy SEAL.” I told them, “They are on a gravy train with biscuit wheels right now, you guys need to stay on this whole acting gig.”
Mrs. Kent with Gavin and Ethan at the Imagen Awards Ceremony. Photo credit KK.
The military has very talented photographers in the ranks, and they constantly attempt to capture what life as a service member is like during training and at war. Here are the best military photos of the week:
Newly-minted Air Force second lieutenants celebrate during their graduation at the Air Force Academy, Colorado, May 24, 2017. The guest speaker during the ceremony was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford.
A U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle from RAF Lakenheath, England, flies alongside a U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker from RAF Mildenhall following aerial refueling over Finland, May 25, 2017. Both aircraft are participating in Arctic Challenge 2017, a multinational exercise encompassing 11 nations and more than 100 aircraft.
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Anthony Miller with the 101st Airborne Division holds the American flag during a graduation ceremony for Somali National Army soldiers May 24, 2017, in Mogadishu, Somalia. The logistics course focused on various aspects of moving personnel, equipment and supplies.
Members of the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) perform a three rifle volley during the graveside service for U.S. Army 1st Lt. Weston C. Lee in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Va., May 25, 2017. Lee was interred in Section 60 with full military honors.
MANHATTAN, N.Y. (May 24, 2017) The amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) passing the One World Trade Center during the 29th annual Fleet Week New York’s Parade of Ships. Fleet Week New York is an unparalleled opportunity for the citizens of New York and the surrounding tri-state area to meet Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen, as well as witness firsthand the latest capabilities of today’s military.
Sailors pose for a photo moments before attending “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” preshow as part of Fleet Week New York 2017, May 26, 2017. The service members are in New York to interact with the public, demonstrate capabilities and teach the people of New York about America’s sea services.
Marines with Marine Wing Support Squadron (MWSS) 373 return from their guard post and prepare to conduct an area damage assessment as part of the base recovery after attack training (BRAAT) evolution during Integrated Training Exercise (ITX) 3-17 at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif., May 23.
A Marine aboard the USS Kearsarge (LHD-3) salutes the Statue of Liberty during Fleet Week New York’s parade of ships May 24, 2017. U.S. Marines, Sailors and Coast Guardsmen are in New York to interact with the public, demonstrate capabilities and teach the people of New York about America’s sea services.
Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Krystyn Pecora, external affairs officer, 5th Coast Guard District, speaks with a local media member about boating safety for children on Base Portsmouth, Virginia, May 26, 2017. Pecora and her 10-month-old son, Osceola James, demonstrated how to snugly fit a small child with a proper life jacket.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Mandi Stevens and Petty Officer 2nd Class Chris Parmenter, aviation maintenance technicians from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point, Hawaii, prepare a long range deployable drop kit to a disabled vessel approximately 80 miles off Tonga May 25, 2017. The kit includes food and water, a VHF radio and a transponder.
With the decommissioning of the interim afloat staging base USS Ponce (AFSB(I) 15, ex-LPD 15), the Navy removed the prototype Laser Weapon System that had been on the ship which was built as an Austin-class amphibious transport. The Ponce’s replacement, USS Lewis B. Puller (ESB 3), did not get the laser.
Now, according to a report by the Daily Star, we have found out the lucky vessel that did get the laser. That ship is the San Antonio-class amphibious transport USS Portland (LPD 27).
The Portland was commissioned in the middle of December, and is slated to be home-ported in San Diego. The vessel will not only test the Laser Weapon System, it will also serve as flagship for the upcoming RIMPAC exercise.
The Portland displaces 25,000 tons, and has a top speed of 22 knots. According to the Sixteenth Edition of The Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World, it can carry two LCAC (Landing Craft, Air Cushion), roughly 700 Marines, and up to four helicopters. It is armed with the Mk 31 launcher for the RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile and two 30mm Bushmaster II chain guns.