WASHINGTON, DC — While enthusiastic about its participation in the latest Godzilla film, the Navy is being criticized for approving a major unit award to all who participated in the Hollywood blockbuster, Duffel Blog has learned.
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus sparked the controversy after signing off on a Navy Unit Commendation (NUC), normally only awarded for valorous acts, to all ships and units that participated in the new Godzilla film.
Mabus justified the award on the grounds that the description of a NUC specifically states that it can also be awarded for "non-combat service which was outstanding when compared to other units or organizations performing similar service."
"I think if you look at the quality of military assistance to films in recent years, the Navy's service in Godzilla definitely fits that criteria," the Secretary said at a premiere for the film Wednesday night. "The skill and professionalism demonstrated by our sailors clearly outshines the Air Force in Transformers, the Marines in Battle: LA, or even that clown show Hurt Locker."
Sailors who provided support to the film are authorized to wear the NUC ribbon immediately, or a star in lieu of additional awards. Ships and other units may also add it to their battle streamers.
"We totally deserve this award," said a MUPO, or Massive Unidentified Petty Officer, one of the many advisers the Navy had on-set during filming. They made sure the dialogue, protocols and procedures accurately reflected how the fleet would operate if confronted with atomic sea monsters.
"Their participation in the project was integral in a realistic, visceral depiction of how our military would react," said the movie's director Gareth Edwards. "For instance, when the monster first surfaces in the film, all the sailors report to sick bay and the chiefs immediately submit for retirement."
Working with action stars and stuntmen who tend to be in great physical condition was also a challenge for Navy personnel.
"We had to make sure the actor's uniforms didn't quite fit and that 68% of them didn't have a shave," said one officer who advised on the film. "We even made them stop production once when the wet bulb temperature got above 90."
Crew from the USS Ronald Reagan were also invited to show how sailors would accurately file a lawsuit after being contaminated by Godzilla's radiation and how Navy officials would downplay their claims.
The Navy SEAL teams depicted in the movie were the only units not named in the citation. Some officials suspected their remarks denigrating the HALO jump scene may have been responsible. "What the $#^& would HALO jumping on to the back of a giant sea monster accomplish?" said CPO [Redacted]. "And what the hell is anyone going to do against a giant atomic lizard with an M-4?"
Navy officials have eagerly embraced the film at all stages, after a decade in which the public's attention has been focused only on services conducting actual combat operations. Many hoped it would give the public a view on how the Navy responds to a crisis in a way that recent operations near the Crimea, China, and Iran had not.
Mabus also justified the allocation of valuable military assets to the film's production by explaining that the American people expect many things from their military, including entertainment. Judging by the film's initial popularity, Mabus said, the Navy has met and exceeded those expectations.
Or as Mabus said, "Once again, the Navy has proven that it is without a doubt the one service you need in any alternate reality. "
Update: In response to thousands of sailors complaining that their contribution to seeing the film was not being properly rewarded, the Navy will announce in a pending NAVADMIN that all sailors who see Godzilla in theaters are also eligible for a Meritorious Unit Commendation. Sailors who are eligible need to present their Godzilla ticket stub to their relevant admin personnel and they will run the award paperwork as soon as the NAVADMIN is published.
Duffel Blog investigative reporter G-Had contributed to this report.