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Navy captain takes his 700 sailors to see Top Gun 2

Tom Cruise as Capt. Pete "Maverick" Mitchell in "Top Gun: Maverick." (Scott Garfield/Paramount Pictures/TNS)
June 14, 2022

A U.S. Navy warship captain delivered a huge morale boost to his crew of around 700 sailors when he took them to see the new “Top Gun: Maverick” movie last month.

The Daily Press first reported May 27 that Capt. Judd Krier, the skipper of the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD-7), decided to take nearly his entire crew — minus the required security and firefighting duty section — to see the long-awaited “Top Gun” sequel over the Memorial Day weekend.

The USS Iwo Jima is currently parked at the General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO) yard in Norfolk, Virginia for maintenance and repairs. Lengthy repair periods for ships can strain morale, as the ongoing repair efforts on the USS George Washington have shown. Having one’s ship stuck in a dry dock for years at a time is not the type of experience that draws many sailors to join the Navy.

Krier reportedly decided on the movie outing during a meeting with his leadership team.

“I know when I announced it, the whole crew was excited,” Krier said.

As an added bonus, Krier also bought popcorn and soda for the ship’s crew during their movie outing.

“It’s a chance for everyone to connect with a great Navy movie,” Krier told the Daily Press.

Krier saw the original 1986 film when he was just 10-years-old.

“I thought it was pretty cool, just like everyone in America, and probably like every other kid, I thought I wanted to fly,” Krier said.

Although Krier and the crew of the Iwo Jima aren’t fliers, their amphibious assault ship serves as a sort of aircraft carrier for short-takeoff jets like the AV-8B Harrier and F-35B Lightning II fighter as well as various attack and transport helicopters.

In a separate event, Newport News Shipbuilding also hosted 800 shipbuilders for a preview screening of the movie and issued another 1,200 vouchers to see the movie on their own time. Newport News Shipbuilding built two of the aircraft carriers featured in the film: the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) and USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72).

“We play a huge role in building carriers, so it’s great to see something we were part of on the big screen,” engineering technician Will Wiley told the Daily Press.

“Top Gun: Maverick” has had great success since its May 27 release. The movie made $248 million worldwide on its opening weekend, making it the highest-opening non-superhero movie since the pandemic began, The Guardian reported. In a little over two weeks, the movie has earned more than $747 million worldwide, Deadline reported.