Stennis Prepares for INSURV

•November 21, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Story by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Andrew P. Holmes

BREMERTON, Wash. – Sailors aboard USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) began preparations for a Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) scheduled to take place July 2015.

INSURV is a congressionally-mandated inspection of Navy ships that occurs every three to six years to ensure ships are fit to conduct sustained combat operations. An INSURV Preparation and Assist Team visited Nov. 17 for the first of four preparatory inspections designed to provide technical advice.

“INSURV is important to the Navy because taxpayers pay for all naval vessels,” said Lt. Cmdr. Todd Nelson, Stennis’ INSURV coordinator. “We have an obligation to ensure aircraft carriers last 50 years and the public needs to know that Sailors are taking care of the ship properly.”

INSURV is an inspection of all equipment aboard the ship, from radar systems to damage control gear to light fixtures. The INSURV Preparation and Assist Team is here to ensure equipment is functional and deficient equipment is documented as an extension of the ship’s material maintenance management (3M) program.

“INSURV is a test of our 3M program and our culture of material readiness,” said Nelson. “You can’t prepare for INSURV six months before the inspection, it’s constant, we can’t expect to be ready if we don’t prepare.”

The inspectors will go through every space on the ship so every member of the crew is responsible for success during INSURV.

“It’s going to take every member of the crew to pass, regardless of department,” said Lt. Cmdr. Loren Nichols, Stennis’ INSURV training coordinator. “It’s going to be long hours of preparation and maintenance, because putting in a trouble call isn’t enough. We have to ensure equipment can operate correctly, and when we buy into that thought process INSURV will become easier.”

For more news from USS John C. Stennis visit or 74.

The Full Stennis Experience

•November 11, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Patrick Enright

BREMERTON, Wash. – While the majority of those who serve aboard Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) do so as a junior Sailor, as a member of the chief’s mess or as a commissioned officer, very few have the opportunity to experience all three.

In his six years aboard Stennis, Lt. j.g. Jarrod Hamby, from Jonesboro, Ark., has worn the hat of a leading petty officer (LPO), leading chief petty officer (LCPO), department leading chief petty officer divisional officer (DIVO) and when necessary head of department. He has served under four Commanding Officers (CO), five Executive Officers (XO) and four Command Master Chiefs. He began his time here wearing crows, but rose to anchors and finally bars. Hamby is a Sailor who has lived all sides of Stennis.

Hamby decided to join the military as a junior in high school. Though he first set his sights on the Army, a Navy recruiter talked him into becoming a Sailor.

“I wanted to travel,” said Hamby. “I wanted to see the world outside of Arkansas.”

Hamby raised his right hand on August 28, 2000 to begin his career as a Yeoman Recruit.

His first duty station was aboard Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). He frequently found himself butting heads with his LPO. Part of his motivation to advance during this time was to prove to his LPO that he was capable of succeeding.

“Early on, I was dead set on getting out of the Navy after my first tour, but over time I really started liking my job,” said Hamby. “I was good at it too, which made me like it even more.”

In September 2004, when it was time once again to choose orders, Hamby found himself in Naval Station Pearl Harbor.

His early aspirations to become an officer began during this time when his administrative officer, Lieutenant Thomas Miller, educated him on the Limited Duty Officer (LDO) program. Though he was not eligible at the time, having only served four years, Hamby had his sights set on the goal of becoming a commissioned officer.

Hamby reported to the Stennis on October 2, 2007 as a Yeoman First Class.

During this time he served as the LPO and later LCPO of the CO/XO administration division.

“I loved training all of the junior yeomen on the ship,” said Hamby. “That tour taught me a lot about leadership and developing young Sailors.”

As a first class, Hamby submitted an LDO package, but was not accepted. Shortly after, in September 2009, he became a chief petty officer.

“I made chief in nine years, and I had to consider how high I wanted to go in the Navy,” said Hamby. “I wanted to get some experience as a chief before putting in a new package, so I made up my mind that I was going to apply the next year.”

Just before the end of his first tour on Stennis in 2010, Hamby applied for the LDO program once again. This time around, he was selected as the number-one overall candidate.

After a brief induction in Newport, Rhode Island, Hamby received his commissioning on November 1, 2011. He returned to Stennis on New Year’s Day 2012, this time as an administrative officer.

“Coming back was very surreal to me,” said Hamby. “It felt as if I had never left this place. There were plenty of familiar faces, especially in the chief’s mess.”

Today, Hamby works as the ship’s secretary and the DIVO for CO/XO administration division.

“I am doing the job that my DIVO had when I first arrived to this command,” said Hamby. “I have the opportunity to repeat the successes I saw back then and improve areas I knew I could do better.”

Hamby credits his success to hard work, enjoying the job he did each day and learning lessons from his mentors.

“I have had many mentors,” said Hamby. “I credit them for a lot of the success that I have had. I believe you can learn something from everyone.”

Hamby’s advice to junior Sailors looking to follow a similar path is to study hard for advancement exams, tackle the tough jobs that nobody else is willing to do and take advantage of the tuition assistance program. He says that anyone thinking of applying for an officer program should explore all of the options available to them thoroughly.

Few Sailors have had an experience aboard Stennis quite like Hamby’s. In May of 2015, his time will once again draw to an end, and he will transfer to Navy Region Hawaii. His varied career aboard Stennis serves as an example for junior Sailors hoping to maximize their Navy experience.


DPIA Complete: Stennis Looks Ahead

•November 11, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Christian B. Martinez

BREMERTON, Wash. – Two Sailors listened attentively beneath the mast of Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) for the whistle that would symbolize the end of one journey and the beginning of a new one.

A shrill blast pierced the air on the morning of Nov. 5, as both Sailors raised the American flag on the ship’s mast for the first time in over a year. Stennis was ready to return to sea, the last phase of her docking planned incremental availability (DPIA) period. After a successful six-day sea trial, the ship returned to homeport in Bremerton, Wash. Nov.10 fully certified as a Naval operational asset.

The aircraft carrier had been stationed at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard (PSNS) and Intermediate Maintenance Facility in Bremerton for the past 16 months, where it received upgrades to its firefighting, navigation, weapons and combat systems. Major evolutions during DPIA ranged from the removal and maintenance of Stennis’ rudder and propellers during dry dock to the implementation of the Consolidated Afloat Network Enterprise Services (CANES) system. In total, the project comprised over 92,000 man hours.

“A monumental amount of work has been accomplished since we began DPIA in June 2013,” said Capt. Michael Wettlaufer, Stennis’ commanding officer. “After 16 months of maintenance, the Stennis and PSNS team is returning this great ship to the fleet. Our success is founded on absolute commitment to a common goal of operation readiness.”

In addition to renovations, Stennis organized and applied command-wide training, general knowledge tests and drills for the crew in order to meet fast cruise and underway deadlines. It was all part of certifying ship’s crew for their long-awaited sea trials.

“In the beginning we were a little unorganized,” said Seaman Corey Stinson, from Murfreesboro, Tenn. “But before long, we were setting zones faster, patching pipes and putting out simulated fires more efficiently because of our improved teamwork.”

During sea trials, Stennis tested its equipment and emergency protocols, performing high-power turns, running damage control drills and acclimating new crewmembers to life at sea.
“Sea trials is the culmination of DPIA,” said Lt. Cmdr. Todd Nelson, from Bremerton, Wash. “It is the capstone that will test all the work performed on the ship, from main engine work to steam valves and catapults, to ensure everything is fully operational.”

Keeping true to its motto, Stennis will continue looking ahead as it tackles future developments in the upcoming months. These evolutions include certifying the carrier’s flight deck so that it can support Carrier Air Wing 9 and other West Coast squadrons, as well as coordinated training with the John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group in group sails off the West Coast. Before deployment, Stennis must also carry out an extended training period called “workups” and complete a thorough ship inspection and survey evaluation.

For more news from USS John C. Stennis visit or 74.

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Stennis Lights Off AFFF Systems

•November 11, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Story by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Lauren Howes

BREMERTON, Wash. – While underway conducting sea trials, USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) completed a full test of all aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) systems, Nov. 7-10.

“Completing our AFFF certification is essential to the mission,” said Master Chief Damage Controlman Michael MacDonald, from Port Orchard, Wash. “Without the certification we could not have aircraft onboard.”

The tests are required for the congressionally-mandated material inspection by the Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) team. INSURV, typically held every 30 months, is a thorough, all-encompassing inspection of nearly every aspect of a Navy vessel in terms of material, maintenance and safety.

“During DPIA, engineering department worked with the Carrier Engineering Maintenance Assist Team and combat systems department to troubleshoot all AFFF systems to ensure we were ready for the test,” said MacDonald.

Once the ship was underway, Stennis Sailors discharged the AFFF sprinkler system over more than 1,000 feet throughout the flight deck and hangar bays.

AFFF, a synthetic foam consisting of 94 parts water, is used in combating class “Bravo” fires, or fuel fires in reactor and engineering spaces, as well as the hangar bay and flight deck.

“We train for scenarios in which we would use AFFF, but this is the first time I have ever actually seen the system in use,” said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) 3rd Class Chelsea Dell, from Altoona, Pa. “It was really cool being a part of the training since it is something that not many Sailors get to see.”

After a full day of testing the 13 groups of hangar bay sprinklers, the rest of the week was spent testing the other systems throughout the ship, including 60 hose reels, 21 flight deck zones, two emergency diesel spaces, three JP-5 pump rooms, nine weapons elevators, and four propulsion space sprinkler systems.

Stennis, the flagship of the John C. Stennis Strike Group, completed sea trials Nov. 10.

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The Fleet’s Elite

•November 10, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Story by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Christopher Frost

BREMERTON, Wash. – An aircraft carrier flight deck is one of the most hazardous working environments in the world. It is a small city of organized chaos with aircraft constantly in motion.

Safety is paramount and if something goes wrong, Stennis’ crash and salvage division will be ready to respond.

Crash and salvage is responsible for damage control on the flight deck. They train rigorously to fight fires and rescue personnel in the case of an aircraft casualty, and one tool the division uses to enhance their training is a decommissioned F/A-18 Hornet called the “Dud.”

“The dud is a more realistic way for us to simulate doing our job and go through damage control phases,” said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) 1st Class Korinne Reese, from Woodland, Calif.

The three damage control phases that crash conducts not only save lives, but also ensures aircraft remain serviceable. Phase one is rescuing personnel and fighting fires. Phase two is moving the aircraft away from the landing area with tractors if the aircraft can be towed. Phase three is using the flight deck crane, known as Tilly, to move the aircraft if the aircraft cannot be towed.

“It’s important to have a well-trained crew to respond to possible casualties,” said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) 3rd Class Travis Beach, from Redway, Calif. “One error during launch or recovery can lead to disaster so we have to prepare for the worst,”

Crash and salvage fulfills an important role to the safety and operability of the flight deck. Diligent training has prepared them to save lives when dangerous situations arise.

Stennis is completing a DPIA maintenance period at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility.

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Fast Cruise: What is it?

•October 31, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Patrick Enright

BREMERTON, Wash. – Over the next five days, USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) will be manned and ready as nearly 3,000 Sailors operate the ship 24-hours a day as though it is cruising through the Pacific, except for one, big detail: it will not leave the pier.

On October 31, Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, Stennis is scheduled to kick off fast cruise, a five-day training evolution that will bring the ship to life after a 16-month Docking Planned Incremental Availability (DPIA) maintenance period.

“Fast cruise is a simulated underway period that prepares the crew for life at sea,” said Senior Chief Quartermaster Henry Nicol, from Hemet, Calif. “We’ve been training for months while the ship has been in the yards. This is the last training effort before we apply what we’ve learned when we begin sea trials.”

Fast cruise provides the opportunity to measure the ship’s preparedness. It is designed to get the crew into an operational mindset, flipping a switch for those who have experienced life at sea before, and sending a shock to the system for those who have not, according to Nicol.

Each department will accomplish this task in their own way, but all training will simulate at-sea conditions as closely as possible.

Sailors in deck and navigation departments will practice getting underway and pulling into port in both day and night conditions, loss of steering drills and setting anchor. Each of these evolutions will acclimate Sailors to the around-the-clock watches required while underway.

“We will be treating each practice evolution like it’s the real thing,” said Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class Alex Armour, from Centralia, Mo. “Not long after we’re done with fast cruise, the training we conduct will be put to use at sea.”

On the flight deck, the crew will receive a refresher on aircraft chocking and handling operations, and run crash and salvage drills using a decommissioned F/A-18 Super Hornet known as the Dud.

“The Dud enables us to conduct aircraft firefighting operations on a real plane,” said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) 1st Class Justin Hoak, from Sacramento, Calif. “We will demonstrate our ability to contain a fire, set a rescue path for the pilot, extinguish and overhaul casualties and determine the safest way to clear the plane from the flight deck.”

General quarters, man overboard, and abandon ship drills will be all-hands evolutions. The crew will demonstrate their ability to combat casualties such as fire, flooding and collisions, while ensuring safety and mission readiness.

“Our focus will be on damage control and watch standing,” said Lt. Cmdr. Shane Beavers, from Clarksville, Tenn. “The goal is to demonstrate to the commanding officer that his crew can safely sail the ship.”

While the focus of fast cruise is on training, the evolution also creates a change in mindset. Since the ship will simulate at sea conditions, the crew will not freely walk on and off the ship or head home at night to sleep in their beds.

If crew members do need to depart the ship, they will request a “seat” on a simulated C-2 greyhound aircraft conducting Carrier On-board Delivery (COD) operations. The simulated flights will occur only a few times a day, further enhancing the at sea mentality.

Stennis is currently completing a DPIA maintenance period at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility. The ship will get underway soon for sea trials, which constitutes the final determination of a ship’s ability to re-join the fleet as a fully operational unit.

For more news from USS John C. Stennis visit or 74.

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Stennis Holds All-hands Call

•October 31, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Story by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Ignacio Perez

BREMERTON, Wash. – Capt. Michael Wettlaufer, commanding officer of Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), addressed Sailors at an all-hands call, Oct. 24.

During the event Wettlaufer spoke about the importance of training and personal accountability as the ship begins sea trials.

“We need everyone out there working. There is no time for mistakes, and if anyone has any questions, you have to ask,” said Wettlaufer.

He also presented Lt. Cmdr. Randy Stroman, from Orangeburg, S.C., and Senior Chief Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) Marcus Johnson, from Nashville, Tenn., with leadership awards from the Navy Marine Corps Association.

“I feel truly blessed to have been able to contribute as much as I have to this command,” said Johnson. “But I know that it wasn’t just me who helped improve the command, it was the Sailors who listened and understood what it meant to be accountable.”

After presenting the awards, Wettlaufer re-enlisted Aviation Support Equipment Technician 2nd Class Luis Diaz, from Victorville, Calif., in front of the entire crew and his family.

“It was great to have been able to share that experience with my family,” said Diaz. “I appreciate everyone one who helped put this truly unique experience together.”

Stennis is currently undergoing a Docking Planned Incremental Availability maintenance period at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility.

For more news from USS John C. Stennis visit or 74.



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