A Navy Seal lends his skills as a consultant for movies and TV

SILVER HILL, Ala. (WKRG) — If you’ve seen the movie ‘Under Siege’ with Stephen Segal, then you’ve seen John Rottger.

He played the part of the first officer killed in the film, Commander Green, who was shot by Tommy Lee Jones’s character. But, Rottger also served as a consultant for the movie, part of which was shot on the USS Alabama battleship in Mobile. It was his first experience working on movies. He showed Seagal and others how actual U.S. Navy Seals would handle the situation.

Rottger told us, “They had everybody and his brother trying to tell him ‘this is how you hold the weapon–and they had guys that were cops and former Army and this and that and I finally picked up on that and I said, hey look–what they do is what they do, okay? And that works for them. This is what we do, and we’re damn good at it.”

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Rottger, a New York native who retired to Baldwin County, served as a security officer at the old Navy Homeport in Mobile in the early 90’s when producers called. He consulted using skills he learned during a long naval career, most of it serving as a Navy Seal. He joined the Navy in the late ’70s–

“Nobody in my family was in the service–none of my friends, nobody. I knew nothing about the service,” he said.

After boot camp and stints on a drill team, a submarine patrol unit, and the Pentagon, someone suggested he sign up with the SEAL teams.

“I said Seal Team, what’s that–you know, the ’70s–nobody knew nothing about Seal Team. He said, well it’s an acronym for Sea, Air, and Land–you get to shoot all kinds of weapons, you get to jump out of airplanes, and you get to dive, and you get to blow stuff up. I said, when do I go.”

SEAL training that happens at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado in San Diego is legendary for how tough it is.

“I go through training, I do well. A hundred twenty guys in the class, twenty-three graduated,” said Rottger.

I asked him if like so many others, he ever thought about quitting.

“I didn’t, but I had a false sense of security because I knew they couldn’t kill me. So, I’d just keep going, you know, if I drop I drop.”

And he did it with a mental toughness and thought process that could serve any of us.

He said, “Sometimes you know when you look at goals, sometimes you’ve got to look at the horizon and sometimes you’ve got to look at where your foot is going to land and your next step.”

Nominate a hero: Serving Those Who Serve

As a Navy Seal, Rottger traveled all over the globe, including stints in the Gulf War. Some missions he’s been on are still classified–meaning if he talked to us about them he could get into trouble.

“You have to sign that if they catch you talking about this or that you can be disciplined,” he said.

He used his skills to run his own commercial diving business and consult on movies and TV shows like Under Siege, NCIS New Orleans–and dozens of others. In recent years he was part of a team trying to save a PBY Catalina aircraft that was in danger of sinking. It was used in the movie USS Indianapolis Men of Courage–filmed in Mobile and Orange Beach

“We were trying to get it to the beach but the current pulled us all the way down to the Flora-Bama,” he said.

For those reasons and many more, we’re proud to recognize John Rottger for Serving Those Who Serve.

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