Serving the Community

•October 28, 2014 • Leave a Comment

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Andrew P. Holmes

BREMERTON, Wash. – Sailors aboard Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) volunteered at a community relations (COMREL) event at the Bremerton Food Bank, Oct. 22.

Stennis Sailors have been participating in COMRELs at the food bank since the Docking Planned Incremental Availability in June 2013.

“Navy people have been showing up on and off for ten years, but Stennis, as a command, is the first to come on a weekly basis,” said Patty Peterson, Executive Director of Bremerton Foodline. “We have even had the commanding officer and his wife show up to help distribute baskets during the holiday season.”

The food bank has only four paid employees, the rest of the labor is provided by volunteers. Sailors comprised approximately 20 percent of the volunteer labor force at the food bank. Last month alone Navy personnel contributed 1,325 hours of volunteer work at the food bank.

“Community relations means building trust in the community we’re at,” said Religious Program Specialist 1st Class Zachary Muncrief, Command Religious Ministries Department leading petty officer and COMREL organizer from Las Cruces, N.M. “Having the community understand we’re not here to just use up all the commodities, we’re going to support the local community grow.”

Volunteer projects like this allow Sailors to reach out and be a part of the surrounding community by working a couple of hours each week.

“I like to give back because I was less fortunate growing up,” said Quarter Master 3rd Class Shavona Arzu from Bronx, N.Y. “I like to help people, and the staff here really appreciates us. They are always smiling when they see us come in.”

Stennis participates in several weekly COMREL events, including the St. Vincent DePaul Food Bank and the Veterans Affairs Home. Interested parties can learn more about past and future COMRELs by contacting Muncrief at his command e-mail,


Stennis Gets Shot

•October 28, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Story by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Christopher Frost

BREMERTON, Wash. – Approximately 2,300 Sailors aboard Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) received a mandatory annual flu vaccination, Oct. 21.

The vaccination is essential for the Stennis crew because they live in extremely close quarters to each other on the ship, according to Senior Chief Hospital Corpsman Karin Harnishfeger, leading chief petty officer of Stennis’ preventative medicine.

Now that Stennis is preparing for it’s first underway since entering Docking Planned Incremental Availability (DPIA) maintenance period in June 2013 the immunizations are even more crucial.

“The illness would run amuck through the crew in no time without the vaccination,” said Harnishfeger. “Living spaces, offices and chow lines puts every Sailor on the ship at risk of coming in contact with the flu virus. We are all within three feet of each other at any given time.”

The flu is transferred through water droplets in the air, which travel on average three feet.

Hundreds of virus strains exist, but the injection protects the crew against the five most harmful strains. Data from the previous year is used to recognize and decide which strains are going to be the most damaging and require immunization.

“People die or are hospitalized from the flu every year,” said Harnishfeger. “By immunizing the crew, it is estimated hundreds of hours of sick time is prevented, as well as protecting our Sailors from the hardship of becoming ill and spreading it to their families.”

Delivering the shot in a mass exercise not only makes it more convenient for Sailors and easier for the medical staff, it also makes it possible to ensure the injections are performed within 72-hours of medical receiving the vaccinations, in compliance with Navy regulations.

“It’s something we have to do to stay healthy, and it’s good that the Navy looks out for our health,” said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Fuel) Airman Vincent Belus, from Brentwood, Calif.

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 and


Stennis Soccer Shuts Down the Competition

•October 3, 2014 • Leave a Comment

BREMERTON, Wash. – By day, Machinist’s Mate 2nd Class Jairo Guerrero works toward wrapping up USS John C. Stennis’ (CVN 74) maintenance period, but after work he’s a part of the Stennis soccer team that won every match played during the 2014 Captain’s Cup.

The team, FC Stennis, consists of Sailors from up on the flight deck and all the way down to the seventh deck engineering spaces.

From seaman to lieutenant junior grade, all share a deep passion for soccer.

According to Guerrero, whose first Christmas gift was a soccer ball, it’s more than just a sport. Soccer is a way of life. Even the name, Futbol Club Stennis, is a tribute to the footy culture many of the team members come from. Guerrero’s heritage established a love for soccer at a young age.

“A lot of us have been playing most of our lives,” he said. “I can’t imagine myself not playing soccer. It’s been a big part of my life for 22 years.”

The team has a lot of prior experience between its members, which, according to Master-at-Arms 2nd Class Alan Lovos, was a major contributing factor to the team’s success in their seven tournament games.

“Most of our players are just on a completely different level,” he said. “We’re heads and shoulders above the rest.”

The tournament pitted eight teams against each other in double elimination format with the title match played on Sept. 9. FC Stennis swept the competition. Despite the team members’ different jobs, ranks and backgrounds they formed a community who share the same dedication to play soccer to the best of their potential.

At work, Lt. j.g. James Matuszak is an officer, but, when he plays, the only thing that matters is his merit as a soccer player. According to him, rank is no issue with the team members, and when they’re together they rely on each other’s abilities.

“The main thing that led to our success was team chemistry,” he said. “I was extremely confident that if I passed someone the ball they could move forward with it.”

That consistent team chemistry was built from practicing together twice a week year round. The teamwork they had was paramount to their success at Captain’s Cup, said Culinary Specialist 3rd Class Joseph Arthur.

“We all had to come together as one to make sure we were successful,” said Arthur.

According to Guerrero, some members of the team have tried out for the all-Navy soccer team and hope to someday represent the Navy at a higher level.

Stennis is currently undergoing a DPIA maintenance period at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility. For more news from USS John C. Stennis visit and 74.

Strike Group Planners Meet at Symposium

•September 30, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Story by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Vaughan Dill

BREMERTON, Wash. – Operational planners for Carrier Strike Group Three (CSG3) attended a four-day symposium to reinforce integration between CSG3 component commands at the Trident Training Facility on Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor Sept. 23-28.

More than 40 officers and chiefs attended the symposium, held as the primary focus of CSG3 shifts from maintenance to operational readiness.

The strike group’s flagship, Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), is nearing the conclusion of a 16-month Docking Planned Incremental Availability (DPIA).

“When a flagship goes through a long DPIA and can’t get underway, like what Stennis is emerging from, it is easy for the warfare commanders to focus on their piece of the strike group and forget how to work together smoothly,” said CSG3 Training and Readiness Officer, Cmdr. Timothy Reidy. “It’s easy for supporting staffs to lose the understanding and interpersonal relationships that allow CSG3 to pull together on all levels to quickly and efficiently work together.”

By coming together before the formal integrated portion of the Fleet Readiness Training Plan, the strike group has the opportunity to exercise its updated and revised plans.

Planners work together in real time through a tabletop war game scenario with a “train like we fight” mentality. This allows warfare commanders and their staffs to remain familiar with the planning process and the responsibilities each has to ensure CSG3 operates effectively. It also builds habitual relationships.

“We’re doing this now so that it’s old hat by the time we get to deployment,” said Reidy.

For more information about Carrier Strike Group Three, visit or

Stennis Completes September Exam Cycle

•September 19, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Story by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Ignacio Perez

BREMERTON, Wash. – More than 900 Sailors aboard Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) took part in the Navywide September advancement exam cycle at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility (PSNS & IMF).

The advancement exams, administered on the first, second, and third Thursday of September, are 175 question multiple choice tests that cover basic military and professional knowledge.

Planning for the September cycle began five months ago.

“It takes a lot of time to prepare a crew this large for the exams,” said Personnel Specialist 3rd Class Curtis Moen, from Kalispell, Mont. “We had to ensure every test taker had their most recent evaluation and that their advancement worksheets were signed.”

While study habits for each Sailor differ, research shows Stennis Sailors who study an average of five hours a week have an 82 percent chance of advancing.

“When I looked at my profile sheet, I knew where my weak spots were,” said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) Airman Christopher Rubalcava, from El Paso, Texas. “I studied a couple of hours every week and focused on my weaker subject areas.”

To advance to the next higher pay grade, a Sailor must score above the final multiple score for that exam cycle. The final multiple score is comprised of various items including the test score, performance evaluation average and time in pay grade.

“For this test cycle, I knew I to needed to do more than just study,” said Aviation Structural Mechanic 3rd Class Chris Jimenez, from San Juan, Puerto Rico. “I’m hoping my eval and education points help me advance to second class.”

Advancement results are expected before the new year.

Stennis is currently undergoing a Docking Planned Incremental Availability maintenance period at PSNS & IMF.
For more news from USS John C. Stennis visit or 74.

Stennis Welcomes 20 New Chiefs

•September 17, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Story by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Andre T. Richard

BREMERTON, Wash. – Several weeks of intense training cumulated in a morning of celebration as 20 new chief petty officers assigned to Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) received their anchors during a pinning ceremony Sept. 16.

Capt. Michael Wettlaufer, Stennis’ commanding officer, served as guest speaker and stressed the importance of being a Navy chief.

“These Sailors are stepping up to lead,” said Wettlaufer. “They are charged with adding intensity and energy to the mess in order to translate initiative into action and action into success.”

Senior Chief Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) Josh Hansen echoed Wettlaufer’s remarks.

“The chief’s world is different,” said Hansen. “[The new chiefs] now have greater responsibility and are entrusted to lead and mentor Sailors.”

Newly-pinned Chief Yeoman Kristin Zimmer, from Crystal River, Fla., said the hardest part of transitioning to a chief petty officer was adapting to the different types of personalities in the mess and working together toward a common goal.

“My advice for anyone striving to be chief is to never lose faith,” said Zimmer. “You’re always going to have obstacles; you just have to look ahead and overcome them.”

During the ceremony, the new chiefs wore khaki uniforms and combination covers for the first time signifying their acceptance into the chief’s mess.

“I cannot describe the feeling,” said Chief Engineman Eduardo Quintanilla, from Yakima, Wash. “It’s a great feeling to be in a new environment where I can assist Sailors and give them the tools they need to one day fill our shoes.”

Chief Machinist’s Mate Fernando Perez, from Sacramento, Calif., said it was great having his family present for his pinning.

“It was awesome having my wife and son here today,” said Perez. “I know I would not be here without their support.”

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

Stennis Sailors Awarded for Excellence in Leadership

•August 22, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jordan Crouch

BREMERTON, Wash. – The Stennis Center for Public Service presented awards to Sailors assigned to the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) at an evening reception Aug. 14.
Cmdr. James Belmont, Senior Chief Intelligence Specialist Kevin Lohrke and Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Jerry Wagner were selected by their peers to receive these awards for their distinctive leadership abilities.
“These awardees will be taken to Washington, D.C. where they will meet members of congress, senior staff and other civilian leadership,” said Rex Buffington, executive director of the Stennis Center for Public Service.
Belmont, who was presented the Straight Furrow award, was humbled to receive an award like this. “I’m thankful to my peers that selected me,” he said.
Lohrke, who was presented the Look Ahead award, said, “The thought of my peers selecting me for something like this is beyond my imagination. The people I work with helped earn this award for me.”
Wagner, who was presented the Constitution award, said, “I attribute my success to the people I work with. Without my department’s hard work and dedication, I couldn’t have earned this.”
The winning officer is selected by other officers to receive the Straight Furrow award. The winning chief petty officer and 1st class petty officer are selected by the chief petty officers to be awarded the Look Ahead and Constitution awards. The Stennis Center named the Straight Furrow and Look Ahead award after mottos by former Senator John C. Stennis.
“The Stennis Center believes that no government, regardless of its history and structure, can be better than the people who make it work,” said Buffington. “That is why our focus is on people over policy. We are confident that if we can get the best possible people in public service leadership, we will also get good policy.”
The Stennis Center is a federal, legislative branch agency created by Congress in 1988 to promote and strengthen public service leadership in America.
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 and


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