‘Battle: LA’ star visits VMM-166

Marine Corps Air Station Miramar / 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing
Story by Lance Cpl. Lisa Tourtelot

Date: 03.08.2011
Posted: 03.08.2011 10:47
News ID: 66675
‘Battle: LA’ star visits VMM-166

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRIMAR, Calif. - Aaron Eckhart, star of “Battle: Los Angeles” paid a visit to the Marines of Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 166 March 4 at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.<br /> <br /> Eckhart, a USO supporter who has visited Kandahar and Kuwait, signed autographs and posed for pictures while touring the hangar and learning about Marine aviation.<br /> <br /> The actor may have just wrapped a major Hollywood action flick, but Eckhart made hardly a mention of the film or his work while he peppered the Marines with questions about their jobs, service overseas and how aircraft like the MV-22 “Osprey” work.<br /> <br /> The Marines of VMM-166 reflected Eckhart’s excitement.<br /> <br /> “I felt motivated that we had a super star in our shop coming to visit,” said Cpl. Daniel Jenkins, a flight equipment technician with VMM-166. “I didn’t recognize him at first, without his ‘Two-Face’ make-up! He was really mellow and interested in everything we do.”<br /> <br /> Eckhart emphasized his desire to learn about the Marines.<br /> <br /> “Listening is my favorite part,” said Eckhart. “I take great pride in saying we have the greatest military in the world.”<br /> <br /> In preparation for playing service members, Eckhart and his fellow cast members spent three weeks in a “boot camp” to familiarize themselves with Marine Corps terminology, ideology and basic combat skills.<br /> <br /> “It was important to me to represent the Marines accurately and with respect,” said Eckhart, who plays a staff sergeant leading a ragtag band of Marines and civilians through Santa Monica - under siege by invading aliens, of course.<br /> <br /> “We made ‘Battle: Los Angeles’ with strict adherence to the Marines’ code,” said Eckhart. “We trained very hard to be accurate and real. It’s a love letter to [the Marines].”<br /> <br /> Eckhart himself trained so hard he broke his arm performing a stunt, and, according to fellow star Michelle Rodriguez, stayed a staff sergeant at all times until filming ended.<br /> <br /> Eckhart explained that his brief stint as a Marine made his respect for the armed forces grow. <br /> <br /> “I had a very good opinion of Marines to begin with, but I didn’t have any intimate knowledge of how Marines work,” said Eckhart. “The biggest thing I’ve gotten out of this is that the Marines have that extra sense of pride. They’re can-do guys and girls.”<br /> <br /> The Marines of VMM-166 can add their pictures and autographs from the day to their memorabilia, and Eckhart now has a special place in his heart for Marines.<br />