NORFOLK, Va. — The sailors onboard the USS George H.W. Bush got a special visit from some big stars last week, over half a year after being deployed from their homeport Naval Station Norfolk.
"Top Gun: Maverick" actor Tom Cruise and Apple TV+ show "Ted Lasso" actress Hannah Waddingham joined the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier on March 3, the U.S. Navy shared on Thursday.
The stars — along with writer and producer Christopher McQuarrie, and editor Eddie Hamilton — spent time with the sailors and led a special viewing of "Top Gun: Maverick" in the hangar bay.
The visit was a special treat for the ship and its sailors, who deployed on Aug. 10, 2022, to work alongside NATO allies and partners.
“I know our sailors will never forget that night in the hangar bay, and I am equally as certain that neither will Mr. Cruise,” Rear Adm. Dennis Velez, commander of the Carrier Strike Group 10, wrote in a news release.
Capt. Dave Pollard, the aircraft carrier’s commanding officer and also a Top Gun graduate and instructor, said the visit "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)," Pollard wrote.
The Navy shared pictures of Cruise and Waddingham spending time with the sailors, anything from Crusie taking selfies to Waddingham singing to the crowd.
"Top Gun: Maverick," the long-awaited sequel to the original 1986 movie, premiered in May 2022 to critical acclaim and box office success. It has since been nominated for six Oscar awards, including the Best Picture category.
Cruise portrays the main character, Capt. Pete "Maverick" Mitchell, who teaches other TOPGUN graduates how to fly a particularly dangerous mission against an unsanctioned nuclear facility.
"Ted Lasso," which stars comedian Jason Sudeikis as an American college football coach turned British soccer team manager, has also gained critical acclaim. Waddingham portrays Rebecca Welton, the owner of AFC Richmond that Lasso manages.
The show's third season will premiere on Apple TV+ on March 15.