Military Aviation

Top Gun: Maverick wins the Best Sound Oscar as Tom Cruise visits USS George H.W. Bush (Carrier Could Play Role in New ‘Mission Impossible’ Movie)

If the Navy chooses to accept it, USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) could get its big screen debut in Tom Cruise’s next “Mission Impossible” movie.

Top Gun: Maverick producer and star Tom Cruise, writer and producer Christopher McQuarrie, and editor Eddie Hamilton, along with Ted Lasso star Hannah Waddingham departed the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) after completing a visit, on Mar. 3, 2023.

The team led a Top Gun: Maverick viewing in the ship’s hangar bay and took time to visit with Sailors aboard the ship during their visit. The ship and its crew have been deployed since departing Naval Station Norfolk on Aug. 10, 2022.

Last week, entertainment trade publication Variety quoted the head of the Apulia Film Commission Antonio Parente that Cruise was aboard the carrier filming scenes for “Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part Two.”

Cmdr. Karrie Lang, Combat Systems Officer aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George H. W. Bush (CVN 77), takes a selfie with Tom Cruise during a visit to the ship, Mar. 3, 2023. 

If the Navy chooses to accept it, USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) could get its big screen debut in Tom Cruise’s next “Mission Impossible” movie.

“We are proud that [the] Apulia [region] has been chosen as the operational base for this rather complex shoot,” Parente told the paper.

According to USNI News, it is unclear what brings Cruise’s character Ethan Hunt to an aircraft carrier in the film, which is expected to be the last in the “Mission Impossible” series. In the most recent Mission Impossible film, Cruise’s Hunt stopped an organization of rogue spies and ex-government agents from harming a major water supply.

Hannah Waddingham takes a selfie with Lt. Sarah Faber center and Lt. Derek Watson during a meet-and-greet with the crew aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush, Mar. 2, 2023.

“Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning” is being split into two parts with the first going to theaters in July. The trailer for the action film shows scenes of Cruise in Italy, including Venice, which may be connected to George H.W. Bush’s appearance in the second film. It is unclear if “Mission Impossible” will call the aircraft by a different name or have it in a different location in the film.

McQuarrie announced Waddingham was joining the cast via an Instagram post from the carrier that featured her on the flight deck of Bush wearing a Carrier Strike Group 10 ball cap.

It’s unclear the time between the two films as Cruise’s hair in Navy-released photos from his time aboard the aircraft carrier is longer than in the trailer for the first Dead Reckoning film.

Throughout its deployment, the George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group (CSG) has worked alongside NATO allies and partners to increase interchangeability and increased capacity for the Alliance.

“I know our Sailors will never forget that night in the hangar bay, and I am equally as certain that neither will Mr. Cruise,” said Rear Adm. Dennis Velez, commander, CSG-10, George H.W. Bush CSG, in a US Navy news release. “The Sailors of the George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group represent what is best about America. Their commitment and courage is on display every day, and I know Tom and his entire team left with a fuller appreciation of the capabilities and power of U.S. Navy’s carrier strike groups — and the dedication and grit of our Sailors that make it all possible.”

Velez was not the only leader aboard the ship who recognized the impact the visit had on everyone aboard.

“While Top Gun will always be an American and Navy classic, Tom, Chris, Eddie, and their team outdid themselves with Top Gun: Maverick!” said Capt. Dave Pollard, the aircraft carrier’s commanding officer, himself a Top Gun graduate and instructor. “Every minute they spent with the crew of our mighty warship paid dividends toward our crew’s morale from the top-down. It buoys my spirits to know that the leading entertainers and filmmakers of our day not only conceptually know what we do, but they can relate to what our nation’s warriors do on a daily basis through their personal experiences aboard USS George H. W. Bush (CVN-77).”

Paramount Pictures’ Top Gun: Maverick earned nominations for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing, Best Original Song, Best Visual Effects and Best Sound at the 95th Oscars on Mar. 12 (The motion picture won the Best Sound Oscar).

“This is my first deployment, and it’s difficult sometimes to be gone from home and family for such long time,” said Aviation Support Equipment Technician 3rd Class Olivia Morton, the ship’s Blue Jacket of the Year who was promoted meritoriously during the visit. “Spending time with my friends at the hangar bay event and getting a photo with all of the guests – especially Tom Cruise – was the highlight of a memorable deployment.”

George H.W. Bush is the flagship of CSG-10, George H.W. Bush CSG. CSG-10 is comprised of George H.W. Bush, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 7, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 26, the Information Warfare Commander, and USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55).

The ships of DESRON-26 within CSG-10 are the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Nitze (DDG 94), USS Farragut (DDG 99), USS Truxtun (DDG 103), and USS Delbert D. Black (DDG 119).

The squadrons of CVW-7 embarked aboard the George H.W. Bush are the “Sidewinders” of VFA-86, the “Jolly Rogers” of VFA-103, the “Knighthawks” of VFA-136, the “Pukin’ Dogs” of VFA-143, the “Bluetails” of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 121, the “Patriots” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 140, the “Nightdippers” of HSC-5, and the “Grandmasters” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 46.

This print is available in multiple sizes from – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. F/A-18F Super Hornet VFA-103 Jolly Rogers, AG200 / 166620 / 2007

For over 80 years, US Naval Forces Europe – US Naval Forces Africa (NAVEUR-NAVAF) has forged strategic relationships with allies and partners, leveraging a foundation of shared values to preserve security and stability.

Headquartered in Naples, Italy, NAVEUR-NAVAF operates U.S. naval forces in the US European Command (USEUCOM) and US Africa Command (USAFRICOM) areas of responsibility. US Sixth Fleet is permanently assigned to NAVEUR-NAVAF, and employs maritime forces through the full spectrum of joint and naval operations.

The George H.W. Bush CSG is on a scheduled deployment in the NAVEUR area of operations as part of the US response to the Russo-Ukraine War, employed by US Sixth Fleet to defend US, allied, and partner interests.

Photo credit: U.S. Navy and Paramount Pictures

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Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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