GadgetGuy’s film aficionado Adrian Masiello runs, jumps, and finds out what it’s like to be a member of the Navy in our look at what actors do to prepare for naval roles.
Have you ever watched a war film and wondered if the time came for me to serve, would I have what it takes physically to get the job done?
It’s easy to criticise our on screen heroes when portraying soldiers, but for the most part, it’s their preparation that sells the role. Maybe they simply didn’t have the proper time for it.
In response to one of the latest sci-fi adventure movie releases – Battleship – Universal invited a team of writers to partake in the same gruelling training regime as the stars, to experience what it’s really like to be in the navy.
With little to no information of where our destination was and supplied with ominously sturdy training attire, we hopped on to a helicopter and were whisked off to the unknown.
The flight was deceptively quiet compared to what was to come. As soon as we landed we were met with a tough-as-nails drill sergeant that we could only refer to as ‘Boss’. He would be our tour guide on this trip, and the destination would be pain.
After a light warmup which happened to be more gruelling than most days at the gym, we set about trying to pass the Physical Readiness Test (PRT) that all applicants to the service must take.
The barebones are pushups, sit-ups and jogging, which alone are achievable, but when put into a circuit with virtually no breaks for hours on end, become a real challenge. Our required count was 42 pushups, 50 sit ups and 8 chin ups within a two minute period each and much to the surprise of our drill sergeant, we all passed the entry test.
But that was just the beginning.
Feeling pretty good about ourselves, drill sergeant Boss said it was time to up the ante, and we proceeded to don ten kilogram weighted vests and were herded like the cattle we now were to the obstacle courses.
Here we saw typical movie training devices such as flying foxes, tyre tunnels, piping systems and enough mud to recreate that famous scene from ‘Ghost’ about a thousand times over. This turned out to be the most fun part of the experience; who doesn’t like swinging on ropes into the mud? All those childhood memories came rushing back and though we were losing our stamina, for the first time we were having fun.
Trawling through the mud and dirt on unstable terrain, we were pushed to our limits, but after the exhaustion set in, an air of defiance washed over us.
It becomes a point to prove to yourself that yes, you can do this, and it really does get you through, as well as the support of your teammates, all becoming invaluable when you feel like you have nothing left.
After an unexpected cold shower with a garden hose, we headed back to base camp to cross the finish line, with dirt, sweat and weighted vests still in tow. Some ran, some stumbled and some crawled there, but we all made it and the sense of accomplishment was pretty great.
That struggle to the finish was perhaps the most enlightening part of the experience: to feel the camaraderie between the team members as we endured together, in the dirt and mud; it became easier to see why so many are loyal to the military service.