Chaplains Bless Spaces Aboard Stennis

•July 3, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Story by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Destiny Cheek

BREMERTON, Wash. -The Command Religious Ministries Department (CRMD) aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) held a blessing of the ship’s chapel ceremony, July 2.

The ceremony began with each of the ship’s three chaplains saying a prayer and using holy water to cleanse the chapel.

“When you move into a new house or a new area, it is a common religious practice for people to bless the space by giving it to their God or whoever they worship to reclaim the space as a place for replenishing the soul and spirit,” said Cmdr. Michael Williams, Stennis command chaplain, from Kodiak, Alaska.

They also discussed CRMD’s role in Stennis’ mission and why what they do as a department is essential.

“We [CRMD] are important because we give hope and direction to Sailors in their time of need,” said Chief Religious Programs Specialist Paul Drachenberg, from Rosenburg, Texas. “We provide ministry to Sailors by utilizing training, mentoring and encouragement.”

The ceremony ended with a closing prayer and speech by Cmdr. Williams that encouraged the department to stay focused on the task at hand and always provide ministry and resources to Sailors and their families. Although this service is not a tradition, CRMD hopes to continue this blessing in the future.

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

For more news from USS John C. Stennis visit http://www.stennis.navy.mil or http://www.facebook.com/stennis74.

Home Sweet Home

•June 26, 2014 • Leave a Comment

BREMERTON, Wash. – Sailors are scheduled to move back aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) June 27, as the ship nears the end of its Docking Planned Incremental Availability.

Sailors refurbished berthings and restored service steam so they can live on the ship during the final stage of its maintenance period at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility.

“For the past year we completed a lot of work in a short amount of time,” said leading petty officer of the habitability team Aviation Electronics Technician 1st Class Daniel Byrnes, from Long Beach, Calif. “We replaced 1,586 racks in 26 compartments and removed more than 35,000 square feet of tile.”

The racks and tile are being replaced because they have reached the end of their life cycle. The new racks installed now have hydraulic supports that allow Sailors to open them with ease.

“Sailors will be living here,” said Byrnes. “We want to give them the best possible berthings to make their time on the ship more enjoyable.” In addition to the refurbished berthings, the ship’s service steam will also be reactivated allowing Sailors access to hot water to cook and clean.

“Steam is vital to power the ship, cook food, wash clothing and clean,” said Machinist Mate 1st Class Roger Enriquez, from Harmon, Guam. “We put a lot of work into fixing leaks and repairing water heaters to make sure the system runs safely.”

Even though Sailors may be assigned different jobs around the ship, they are all working toward the same goal: getting Stennis out of the shipyard and back to the fleet.

“What we do is difficult, but necessary,” said habitability team member Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) Airman Jenna Burwell, from Wenatchee, Wash. “It’s great to see the end result of our work.”

For more news from USS John C. Stennis visit http://www.stennis.navy.mil or http://www.facebook.com/stennis74.

Stennis Sailors Learn About Career Waypoints

•June 26, 2014 • Leave a Comment

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Erin Hamilton

BREMERTON, Wash. – A brief was held aboard USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) to educate Sailors about Career Waypoints (C-WAY) June 19.

C-WAY is a program designed to assist Sailors in their decision to either continue serving on active duty, join the selected reserves or separate from the Navy.

“With the [C-WAY] program, more Sailors are taking charge of their future,” said Chief Navy Counselor Rex Parmelee, Stennis’ career counselor, from Nicholasville, Ky. “Sailors need to know their options and be able to make the right decision when this milestone is approaching.”

C-WAY differs from perform to serve in that it provides a faster response
and returns reenlistment power back to the commanding officer.

“The updated program gives Sailors more opportunities and choices to continue serving if they choose to,” said Navy Counselor First Class Petty Officer Preston Rogers, from Odessa, Texas. “However, they still need to indicate their intention with their career counselor to either reenlist or separate.”

“We tell Sailors they own 51 percent of their career,” said Parmelee. “It’s important and rewarding for us as leaders to provide the other 49 percent, so Sailors can make an informed decision .”

For more news about Career Waypoints, visit http://www.npc.navy.mil.

For more news from USS John C. Stennis visit http://www.stennis.navy.mil or http://www.facebook.com/stennis74.

Bremerton Sailors Commemorate the Battle of Midway

•June 5, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Patrick Enright

BREMERTON, Wash. – Active duty Sailors and veterans joined local community leaders to commemorate the 72nd anniversary of the Battle of Midway at Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton, June 4.

“Today we honor the courage of those who served during this battle and the battles that followed,” said Capt. Michael Wettlaufer, commanding officer of Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) and the guest speaker at the ceremony. “This battle was won by the brave men and women who stood in the face of uncertain odds and persevered as a team.”

The ceremony featured two local World War II Navy veterans, James Bowen, from Bremerton, Wash., and Eric Kegley, from Silverdale, Wash.

“I am honored to be in the presence of veterans who gave so much,” said Capt. Thomas Zwolfer, commanding officer of Naval Base Kitsap, who hosted the event. “They freely sacrificed so that we all could lead lives of promise, potential and opportunity.”

After the ceremony, Bremerton Mayor Patti Lent commented on the battle’s significance to the Kitsap community noting that several ships from the Battle of Midway, including heavy cruiser USS Astoria (CA-34) and destroyer USS Worden (DD 352), were built in Bremerton.

“This memorial is of great importance to the community because this shipyard [Puget Sound Naval Shipyards and Intermediate Maintenance Facility] played such an important part in repairing and building the ships involved in the war,” said Lent.

In honor of those lost in the battle, Bowen and Kegley joined Stennis’ Sailor of the Year, Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Fuel) 1st Class Anthony Johnson, from Lubbock, Texas and USS Seawolf (SSN-21) SOY Electronics Technician 1st Class Jonathan Panciera, from Fredrick, Md., to lay a wreath on the waters of the Sinclair Inlet.

“Watching the wreath drop and reflecting on the Sailors who came before me brought the event into perspective,” said Johnson. “I’m humbled to have the opportunity to pay respect to those who paved the way for us today.”

The Battle of Midway occurred June 4, 1942, only six months after the attack on Pearl Harbor, when Admiral Chester W. Nimitz ordered a surprise attack on the Imperial Japanese Navy near Midway atoll. By the time the battle ended on June 7, four enemy carriers were sunk and more than 300 enemy aircraft had been destroyed, ultimately crippling the Japanese fleet and tilting the balance of power in the Pacific to the U.S. for the remainder of World War II.

For more news from Navy Region Northwest, visit
http://www.cnic.navy.mil/regions/cnrnw.html or http://www.facebook.com/CNRNW. For more news from USS John C. Stennis visit http://www.stennis.navy.mil or http://www.facebook.com/stennis74.

Stennis Frocks More Than 200

•June 3, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Story by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman James Lyon

BREMERTON, Wash. – Two hundred and thirteen Sailors assigned to Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) were frocked during a ceremony held in the ship’s hangar bay, May 30.

The frocking ceremony was witnessed by more than 1500 Sailors and presided over by Stennis’ commanding officer, Capt. Michael Wettlaufer.

“I could not be more proud of each and every one of our frockees,” said Wettlaufer. “They have taken advantage of the opportunity to grow professionally and further their careers while making our Navy a better force.”

Many Sailors credited their success to the support of their fellow shipmates.

“My entire division helped me prepare for [the advancement exam],” said Logistics Specialist 2nd Class Christopher Villavacua. “I know I couldn’t have done this without them.”

Information Systems Technician 3rd Class Drew Renquest said he was looking forward to the new challenges that will come with his new rank.

“Making [rank] feels great,” said Renquest. “I know I will be challenged to learn my new position and will be trusted with more
responsibilities.”

Frockees are granted the right to wear the rank of the next higher pay grade but will be officially promoted in three increments throughout the year.

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

For more news from USS John C. Stennis visit http://www.stennis.navy.mil or http://www.facebook.com/stennis74.

Stennis Frocks More Than 200

•June 1, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Story by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman James Lyon

BREMERTON, Wash. – Two hundred and thirteen Sailors assigned to Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) were frocked during a ceremony held in the ship’s hangar bay, May 30.

The frocking ceremony was witnessed by more than 1500 Sailors and presided over by Stennis’ commanding officer, Capt. Michael Wettlaufer.

“I could not be more proud of each and every one of our frockees,” said Wettlaufer. “They have taken advantage of the opportunity to grow professionally and further their careers while making our Navy a better force.”

Many Sailors credited their success to the support of their fellow shipmates.

 “My entire division helped me prepare for [the advancement exam],” said Logistics Specialist 2nd Class Christopher Villavacua. “I know I couldn’t have done this without them.”

Information Systems Technician 3rd Class Drew Renquest said he was looking forward to the new challenges that will come with his new rank.

“Making [rank] feels great,” said Renquest. “I know I will be challenged to learn my new position and will be trusted with more responsibilities.”

Frockees are granted the right to wear the rank of the next higher pay grade but will be officially promoted in three incremenents throughout the year.

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

For more news from USS John C. Stennis visit http://www.stennis.navy.mil or http://www.facebook.com/stennis74.

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Calm in Chaos

•May 31, 2014 • Leave a Comment

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Christopher Frost

BREMERTON, Wash. – Everything was going as planned for the seemingly routine recovery of 20 aircraft when suddenly the unimaginable happened.

Alarms blared out and the air traffic controllers aboard the Nimitz-class
aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) helplessly watched as both of the ship’s primary precision approach navigation systems dropped off line, resulting in an incorrect reading of every navigation aid and ship’s reference position.

They were witnessing a catastrophic navigation system failure that even the most seasoned air traffic controller aboard the ship had never experienced.

The pilots, flying at night in the Persian Gulf during inclement weather, were unable to visually navigate their way back to Stennis. Someone needed to act, and luckily someone did.

Air Traffic Controller First Class Brian Eisenberg, from Green Bay, Wis., had thoroughly studied his equipment manuals inside and out and remembered a rarely-used setting on the air traffic control console that would allow him to plot Stennis’ location manually into the navigation system.

Eisenberg quickly went into action and began updating the ship’s position by entering heading and speed corrections with information from the bridge. While he was manually plotting Stennis’ position he remained in radio contact with a pilot, safely directing the aircraft back to the ship and preventing a possible disaster.

“When chaos comes, a good air traffic controller will remain calm and collected,” said Eisenberg. “If you panic you’re not going to get the aircraft safely on the flight deck.”

He and his fellow air traffic controllers stayed calm and safely recovered all 20 aircraft.

Due to his actions that night in the Persian Gulf, Eisenberg was selected as runner-up for Commander, Naval Air Forces 2013 Air Traffic Controller of the Year on May 20th, 2014.

“He’s very motivated and he’ll do whatever he can to accomplish what needs to be done,” said Air Traffic Controller Second Class Abigail Schoonover, from Meadville, Pa. “He’s passionate about the job and enjoys overcoming challenges.”

With his success as an enlisted Sailor, Eisenberg is setting his sights on even bigger accomplishments. His next goal for his career is to become an officer through the Limited Duty Officer program.

By knowing his equipment manuals and staying calm in the midst of chaos, Eisenberg said he believes he displayed the character and leadership needed to be an officer. If asked, the 20 pilots who returned safely that night might agree.

 
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