USS WALTER MONDALE — Aviation Ordnanceman Chief Zachary Hendricks has enjoyed a successful career in the United States Navy. He has seen multiple combat deployments, been Recruiter of the Year at Navy Recruiting District Raleigh, received multiple Navy Achievement Medals, and a Navy Commendation medal. When asked to name the defining moment of his Naval career, he’ll tell you, “Without a doubt it was my three seconds of screen time in ‘Pearl Harbor.’”
During production of the Michael Bay vehicle he was stationed aboard the USS Constellation, where some of the filming took place. “I was working on the flight deck when the director was like ‘I need another guy for this shot.’”
That’s when his big break occurred. “I raised my hand and hand and he motioned for me. I gave that take all I had. I was so happy it ended up in the finished film.”
Hendricks hoped to parlay that cameo appearance into a full-fledged film career. Unfortunately he was unable to secure auditions in “Stealth,” “Antwone Fisher,” or the TV series “JAG.” But his lack of success in Hollywood hasn’t kept him down. “First and foremost I’m a Sailor. But being a major Hollywood player is something I’ll aspire to," Hendricks says. "When I retire, I’m sure they’ll need military advisors for a big Hollywood movie.”
However his Hollywood success has received mixed reactions from his fellow shipmates.
“He keeps talking about over and over again,” recalls his Command Master Chief Daniel Williams, “Anytime someone doubts him he pulls it up on his iPad and forces them to watch.”
“I didn’t believe at first,” Airman Amanda Price laughs, “but he invited me to his apartment where we split a bottle of vodka. I believe him now.”
“Bragging about a bit part in ‘Pearl Harbor’ might work on some prostitute in Singapore or some Navy guy’s cheating Filipino wife. But I’m not impressed,” Ens. Deborah Sanders said.
“He made me watch it as a punishment, instead of writing me up when I was late for a watch. So it doesn’t bother me too much.” recalled Aviation Ordnanceman 3rd Class Joseph Grey.
Regardless of the negativity his Commanding Officer Capt. William North, is a fan. “I was really impressed by his performance I thought he did a great job. I wish they had filmed a big movie on my other ships. Maybe I could have bragged to my friends about being a movie instead of my boring Navy life.”
“My advice for any aspiring actors in the Navy would be to keep your options open for anything,” Hendricks says. “A training video may lead to your big break.”