Air-Craft Carrier Stennis is Hollywood-Bound

Monday, May 21, 2001
The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier John C. Stennis is the star of Monday's world premiere of the $135 million epic movie, "Pearl Harbor," the story of America's fight against the Japanese in World War II.

The Stennis is the largest ship the Navy sails in its Pacific Fleet. At 1,095 ft. (332 m), it is as long as the Empire State Building is high. It can carry 6,200 men and the Navy's top fighters like the F/A-18 Hornet.

But this week, it is the stomping ground of movie stars Ben Affleck, Josh Hartnett and Kate Beckinsale. And it is the scene of the premiere for the film from director Michael Bay and producer Jerry Bruckheimer, who made the 1998 thrill ride "Armageddon" about Texas oil drillers shot into space to blow up an asteroid headed toward earth.

Indeed, Disney has worked hard to keep the spectacle of a Hollywood premiere from overshadowing Pearl Harbor's place in U.S. history and the veterans who died in the Japanese sneak attack on Dec. 7, 1941 that pulled the United States into World War II.

Much of the 3-hour movie centers on a love triangle between the characters played by Affleck, Beckinsale and Hartnett. It ends with Maj. James Doolittle's air raid on Japan in 1942, the first U.S. bombing attack on the mainland.

Disney has hired Planes of Fame out of Chino, Calif. to strap a vintage P-40 fighter plane and B-25 bomber to the deck of the Stennis. Both planes are operational and were used in the movie. The P-40 fighter actually flew during World War II and has one enemy aircraft "kill" to its credit. The B-25, however, was too late for the war, and is used now for special events, TV shows and films.

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