Story by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jonathan Jiang

BREMERTON, Washington – USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) returned to its homeport after successful sea trials, Aug. 13, completing the last phase of its planned incremental availability (PIA) five days early.

Sea trials are conducted following a major shipyard maintenance period in order to evaluate the ship’s systems and crew for operational readiness. John C. Stennis not only completed the largest six-month PIA for an aircraft carrier ever attempted, but did so ahead of schedule.

“The success of our sea trials was a testament to the work our crew and the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility (PSNS & IMF) team put into our availability,” said Capt. Greg Huffman, John C. Stennis’ commanding officer. “Our ship and crew are now ready to face their next mission, preparing for the certifications and training needed for operations around the world.”

John C. Stennis’ PIA included more than 2,800,000 man-hours of work, including opening, cleaning and inspecting 104 tanks and vent spaces, conducting repairs to John C. Stennis’ collection, holding and transfer tanks, installing a new incinerator, a feat never before completed during a six-month availability and replacing the trough cover for one of the carrier’s catapults – again, never before accomplished during a six-month availability.

“The key to accomplishing these projects was the carrier team taking on the lessons learned from other carriers and applying them to our own work strings,” said Capt. P. Scott Miller, John C. Stennis’ executive officer. “In particular, our success would not have been possible without the experience we gained from other incinerator and cat [catapult] trough projects.”

During sea trials, John C. Stennis Sailors exercised the ship’s systems, including combat systems, damage control equipment, flight deck and engineering systems.

“We’re trying to test everything that was worked during the PIA and at the same time build some proficiency in the watch standers to make sure, with the months that we have been in port, that we get back into a proficient level,” said Cmdr. T. J. Zerr, John C. Stennis’ reactor officer, from Denver.

Sailors also put into practice their seamanship skills underway for the first time since beginning the availability, and simulated flight deck operations with operational catapults.

“From the crew’s perspective, you have to really shift how you’re approaching day-to-day operations from more of a maintenance environment to getting back into an operational mode,” said Zerr.

The ship’s success during sea trials was the culmination of six months of effort between the ship’s crew, shipyard personnel and contractors.

“The CVN 74 team, from the commanding officer to the project superintendent, all the way down to the junior Sailor and mechanic on the deck plate, has understood from day one the importance of completing John C. Stennis’ 2017 fiscal year PIA on schedule,” said Mike Irby, PSNS & IMF project superintendent. “Through tremendous effort and teamwork, team Stennis completed this availability five days ahead of schedule. This accomplishment could not have been achieved without the maintenance deployment mindset of Capt. Huffman and his department head leadership instilling a unique sense of urgency from day one to succeed.”

John C. Stennis has returned to Bremerton, and will now conduct training and evolutions to prepare them to return to operations at sea.

For more news on John C. Stennis, visit http://navy.mil/local/cvn74/ or follow along on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/stennis74.

Story by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jonathan Jiang

BREMERTON, Washington – Sailors aboard USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) got underway for Sea Trials as the ship’s planned incremental availability (PIA) nears its end, August 11.
John C. Stennis entered PIA in February with the largest work package ever planned for a six-month availability for a Nimitz-class carrier, requiring more than 2,800,000 man-hours of work between ship’s Sailors, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility, and contractors. Through teamwork, dedication and expert management, the ship was able to get underway ahead of their originally planned departure date.
“With the extraordinary support of the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility, USS John C. Stennis has not only returned to sea to complete the most ambitious six-month carrier availability ever attempted, but has done so three days ahead of schedule,” said Capt. Gregory Huffman, John C. Stennis’ commanding officer. “I am tremendously proud of the hard work and dedication required to reach this milestone, and look forward to seeing the ship and crew in action as we begin our at-sea training cycle.”

The goal of PIA is to overhaul and rejuvenate the ship, improving operational systems as well as the quality of life aboard the ship. The work package included items ranging from upgrades to the ship’s navigation systems and refurbishing crew berthing spaces.

With so many projects to be completed and only six months to complete them in, staying on schedule was no easy feat.

“Overall, the work package was 140 percent above the normal amount for a CVN-class carrier availability,” said Cmdr. Ken Holland, John C. Stennis’ chief engineer and PIA coordinator, from Littleton, Colorado, “But with shipyard and ship’s force coming together, we were able to overcome obstacles as a team and work together every day to complete the task we needed to, becoming more efficient and ultimately resulting in us arriving at this point ahead of schedule.”

One of the challenges faced was balancing the different work being performed by Sailors, shipyard personnel and contractors being conducted at the same time.

“If we weren’t on the same page, then we wasted time and time simply isn’t something we have a lot of,” said Ensign Joshua Hays, John C. Stennis’ auxiliary technician, from Jacksonville, Florida.

The key to John C. Stennis’ success was teamwork, coordination and communication between everyone involved.

“The biggest thing was communications, the ability to work together as a team and helping each other out whenever we needed help,” said Lt. Cmdr. Mike Palmer, John C. Stennis’ maintenance manager, from Seabeck, Washington.

John C. Stennis Sailors are now embarking on the final step of PIA: taking the ship out to sea to demonstrate its new, repaired and refurbished systems working as designed.

“The [crew] is motivated to get the ship back out to sea,” said Palmer. “We are very eager to complete this successful PIA and get us out there to where we belong.”

John C. Stennis is underway conducting sea trials as part of a planned incremental availability at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility, during which the ship underwent scheduled maintenance and upgrades.

For more news on John C. Stennis, visit http://navy.mil/local/cvn74/ or follow along on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/stennis74.

Story by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Adora Okafor

BREMERTON, Washington – Two female Sailors assigned to USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) were selected for the opportunity to be among the first enlisted women who will serve on an Ohio-class submarine as part of the Enlisted Women in Submarines (EWIS) program.

“They [announced the program] at quarters one day and I talked to the CHENG (chief engineer) about it,” said Electrician’s Mate 3rd Class Rashel Oconnell, a John C. Stennis Sailor selected for the EWIS. “It interested me because it would be cool to be one of the first enlisted women to be on a submarine.”

Oconnell applied to the EWIS program because she loves a challenge. She also thought the submarine community might be a chance for better career opportunities, as well as more great relationships and camaraderie amongst shipmates.

“I was looking for something different,” Oconnell said. “I enjoy the carrier life, but I thrive in a small environment with a close-knit group of people. The submarines have great underway schedules, and I think it will be a great career move for me.”
Oconnell said the application process, which includes submitting a package with a NAVPERS 1306/7, Submarine Volunteer Statement, performance evaluations, physical readiness test data, security clearance and command endorsement, was not very difficult but time-consuming.

“I would recommend if you were putting in a package to start earlier than you think you need to,” said Oconnell.

Interior Communications Electrician 2nd Class Elizabeth Norman, the other John C. Stennis EWIS selectee, is a native of Bremerton, WA, and has been stationed onboard the ship since March of 2015. Norman also applied for the program because she thought it would be a great career move. She plans on making the Navy her career, which fuels her determination to explore the many facets of the Navy.

“I want to be in for the long term, maybe the first female MCPON (master chief petty officer of the Navy),” said Norman. “I’ve always heard that you should take all the opportunities the Navy offers.”

Oconnell and Norman will be converting from their current rates to the rate of electronics technician (ET) to fulfill the needs of USS Ohio (SSGN 726), homeported in Bangor, WA.

“ET was my first choice for a rate,” said Oconnell. “We had a little bit of ET training in “A” School and I was extremely good at it.”
The EWIS program has brought about great career opportunities for female Sailors.

“I think that it’s just a fresh avenue for women to take if they’re feeling more adventurous,” said Oconnell.

Oconnell also said the submarine community was not for everybody but for those looking for a challenge, it was a great opportunity.

Oconnell and Norman will leave for ET “A” School in early 2018, and after successful completion, they will attend a submarine training course. Oconnell is looking forward to the relationships she will build with her new shipmates, while Norman is excited for her first underway under the sea and the new experiences she will have while serving aboard the Ohio.

For more news on John C. Stennis, visit http://www.stennis.navy.mil or follow along on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/stennis74.

Story by Mass Communication Specialist Second Class Andrew P. Holmes

BREMERTON, Washington – Forty-two Sailors assigned to USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) hiked in Mount Rainier National Park on Friday for an exercise in resilience.

The John C. Stennis Toughness Hike was orchestrated by John C. Stennis’ Command Religious Ministries Department (CRMD) to provide relief from a stressful period in the yards through physical exercise and adventure.

Over the course of three hours, Sailors gained 1,700 feet in elevation and traveled four miles. They trekked through snow, scrabbled down shale and pushed up the mountain slopes to reach their end destination.

“Hiking is a great metaphor for what life is like,” said Lt. j.g Ryan Albano, a Navy chaplain aboard John C. Stennis from Papillion, Nebraska. “You have ups, downs, mountains, valleys, slippery slopes. Doing things like this shows how when you stay motivated you get rewarded, in this case, by a beautiful view.”

John C. Stennis is currently in its Planned Incremental Availability (PIA), a period dedicated to repairing the ship and updating systems. Sailors during PIA often take on additional tasking outside their normal roles: Operation Specialists become painters, Aviation Boatswain’s Mates learn to use metal grinders, and Personnel Specialists become tile layers. Albano says this kind of collateral work can cause stress and frustration, and events like this hike help alleviate these ailments.

“A warship is made to fight, not to coddle us,” said Albano. “It takes a lot of effort to keep it war-ready. Sailors are sacrificing a lot; their families are sacrificing a lot. Although they are walking a lot this is an opportunity for them to nourish the heart and soul through nature.”

Challenges come and go, but no Sailor succeeds alone. Group events like this help Sailors develop connections across the ship and broaden their support network.

“There’s a lot of teamwork,” said Seaman Deamber Young, a John C. Stennis Sailor and hike attendee from Birmingham, Alabama. “A lot of somebody holding your hand to get you down and help you up, keeping you from slipping down rocks or hurting yourself. Most people here I’ve never met, and we are on the same ship. It helps you build a better connection with people that you might not spend time with on a regular basis.”

Sometimes it takes teamwork and perseverance to conquer a difficult hike. Like conquering mountain trails, the Navy can be challenging, but overcoming the challenge, especially with others, can be its own reward.

For more news on John C. Stennis, visit http://navy.mil/local/cvn74/ or follow along on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/stennis74.

Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Mike Pernick

BREMERTON, Washington – Sailors from USS John C. Stennis’ (CVN 74) combat systems department completed a major readiness assessment, July 21.

A Combat Systems, Command, Control, Communications and Computer Readiness Assessment (C5RA) consists of more than 5,000 checks that verify missile fire controls, radio systems, radar and TV systems. The testing involves operating each piece of equipment to check for missing or broken parts as well as verifying good working condition.

“The C5RA inspection is important because throughout this [planned incremental] availability most of our equipment has been dormant,” said Fire Controlman Senior Chief Kenneth Mobley, combat systems maintenance manager and maintenance branch leading chief petty officer, from Tinley Park, Illinois. “When we turned our equipment back on we faced some issues which were fortunately…only minor fixes.”

Combat systems Sailors started preparing for this assessment weeks in advance.

“We started preparing weeks ahead of time,” said Electronics Technician 3rd Class Mikaela Stinnett, from Chesterfield, Virginia. “We checked lights, fuses, made sure all of our test equipment was calibrated and our spaces were clean.”

Toward the end of the availability period, John C. Stennis brought 83 subject-matter experts from 12 different organizations onboard to assess and assist with more than 3,500 pieces of equipment and address hundreds of discrepancies and deficiencies.

“It was a great learning opportunity for us, and especially our new sailors,” said Electronics Technician 2nd Class Randall Bendura, from Central Square, New York. “Almost all of the inspectors were retired chiefs who really knew their stuff and helped us become more familiar with our equipment.”

Combat systems Sailors rose to every challenge during this assessment.

“As a whole it really elevated my expectations of what well-equipped and engaged Sailors can do,” said Mobley. “There were a lot of obstacles leading up to the assessment and major production work that didn’t always go as expected, but our Sailors really buckled down. It was gratifying and they were nothing short of outstanding.”

The successful completion of this assessment is a major milestone in preparation for the ship’s upcoming sea trials and return to operations at sea.

John C. Stennis is conducting a planned incremental availability at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility, during which the ship is undergoing scheduled maintenance and upgrades.

For more news on John C. Stennis, visit http://www.stennis.navy.mil or follow along on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/stennis74.

Story by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Ikenna Tanaka

BREMERTON, Washington – Sailors assigned to USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) spent their first night sleeping onboard following six months of living on a service barge when the ship reached the major milestone of crew move aboard (CMA), July 20.
CMA occurs as John C. Stennis approaches the end of its planned incremental availability (PIA), bringing the ship’s habitability services back aboard and moving closer to being a self-sustaining city at sea, ready to return to operations afloat.
While there are always crewmembers onboard standing various watches, and some Sailors returned to sleeping onboard early to support critical systems, it was the first night in which all departments and Sailors could stay aboard.
“Having the ship come back to life is a significant milestone for us,” said Cmdr. Jason Warner, John C. Stennis’ supply officer, from Warren, Ohio. “It was a great team effort when it came to the shipyard’s workers, private contractors and Sailors working together. When you have the right synergy of these three teams working together, you can put out a really good product.”
During PIA, the spaces and habitability services were unavailable. Plumbing systems, galley services, and many of the sleeping quarters were inaccessible due to extensive maintenance and upgrades on shipboard systems. As a result, the crew moved off the ship, staying at a nearby berthing barge which provided temporary accommodations while the crew worked on the ship in partnership with the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility team.
The ship had extensive work done on several systems tied to life onboard, including new racks in rehabilitated berthing spaces, new ovens in the galleys, a completely redesigned barber shop, and refurbished ship store spaces. Maintenance and repairs were also conducted on the water and plumbing systems onboard.
As a part of returning the ship to normal operations, the ship’s galleys served their first meals during breakfast on July 19, which included scrambled or hard-boiled eggs, bacon, sausage, hash browns, pancakes and omelets. Electronics Technician 2nd Class James Stachura, from Germantown, Maryland, received the first meal aboard the ship.
“It’s pretty nice to have the services of the ship back and not have the hassle of going to the barge anymore,” said Stachura. “Now I’ll be able to get more work done without having to take as much time off to go somewhere else to get something to eat.”
The ship reopened the newly designed barbershop, where Capt. Scott Miller, John C. Stennis’ executive officer, received the first haircut from Ship’s Serviceman Seaman Stephanie Santana, from Hialeah, Florida.
“The S-5 [hotel services] division did a phenomenal job redesigning the barbershop,” said Lt. Cmdr. Ryan Tobin, John C. Stennis’ assistant supply officer, from Modesto, California. “With the new theme of the Pacific Northwest environment, the new paint job, surrounding pictures and seats inside the shop, it gives Sailors a warm, home feeling when we’re underway. I think they will find it re-invigorating when they go to get a haircut. I’m proud of their [S-5] accomplishment and believe that the crew will be as well.”
Along with having barbershop services available aboard again, the ship’s morale, welfare and recreation coffee shop, Java John’s, and the newly refurbished ship’s convenience store, reopened stocked with food and other items.
“It was key that the crew took a lot of ownership in these projects in preparing to make the ship serviceable,” said Warner. “It brought a lot of energy and thought into the project, that’s why I think everything turned out so well. I believe the crew will be pleased and feel that the quality of life aboard the ship has improved.”
With the ship habitable and crew services up and running again, John C. Stennis is one major step closer to returning to sea and supporting America’s interests around the globe.
John C. Stennis is conducting a planned incremental availability at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility, during which the ship is undergoing scheduled maintenance and upgrades.
For more news on John C. Stennis, visit http://navy.mil/local/cvn74/ or follow along on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/stennis74.

Story by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jonathan Jiang

BREMERTON, Washington – Sailors from USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) attended ‘Change the Culture’ training from U.S. Pacific Fleet’s (PACFLT) sexual assault prevention and response officer (SAPRO), July 14.

Rather than just teaching Sailors how to react to sexual assault and destructive behaviors, the training lead by PACFLT SAPRO Capt. Roy Nafarrete focused on getting to the cultural roots of the problem.

“We are used to things like bystander intervention and consent and this is good. The ‘Change the Culture’ training really tries to get underneath that, to try and cultivate character in people so they won’t even get in those types of situations,” said Cmdr. Carey Cash, John C. Stennis’ command chaplain, from Memphis, Tennessee.

During the presentation, Nafarrete primarily addressed Sailors who were midlevel leaders.

“The critical middle, the work center supervisors, leading petty officers and chiefs, and the divisional officers, they’re going to be the ones that have more routine and regular contact with Sailors, they’re going to be the ones that notice the culture of their work centers and where it may be going adrift,” said Cash.

One of Nafarrete’s key points was self-introspection, how Sailors may be unknowingly contributing to a negative culture and how they can begin positively influencing others by being more aware of their own actions.

“I thought the training was pretty good … it showed how a lot of us are stuck in our own ways,” said Aviation Administration man 1st Class Kortney Gandy, from Darlington, South Carolina. “I have a strong sense of humor and I like to joke around but some of the jokes could be offensive to someone and I may not know that. I have to be aware of the things that I say.”

‘Change the Culture’ is not a mandatory Navy training but a resource that PACFLT offers to the Navy.

For more information about ‘Change the Culture,’ contact pacfltsapro@navy.mil.

John C. Stennis is conducting a planned incremental availability at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility, during which the ship is undergoing scheduled maintenance and upgrades.

For more news on John C. Stennis, visit http://navy.mil/local/cvn74/ or follow along on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/stennis74.
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Story by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Nick A. Grim

BREMERTON, Washington – Sailors from USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) and shipyard workers from Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility completed reattaching the ship’s anchors, July 14.
Both 30 ton anchors and their chains were removed May 16 for required preservation maintenance that occurs every 36 months.

“All the Sailors involved put in a lot of hard work and labor,” said Chief Boatswain’s Mate Edgar Montano, from Los Angeles. “The preservation usually takes a month to complete, but we finished the preservation in nearly three weeks.”

As the maintenance is only completed every three years, this was the first time many of the junior Sailors took part in this maintenance.

“The maintenance includes the inspection and preservation of the anchor and chain, removing rust, repainting, re-greasing and putting the detachable parts back together,” said Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class Bryan Pentland, from Washington, Pennsylvania.

The maintenance ensures proper upkeep of the utilized portion of the anchor and chain.

“The anchor and windlass are essential to functionality and the ability to get underway,” said Montano. “Due to safety of navigation, a ship cannot get underway unless it has the ability to drop anchor.”
Montano stressed that the ship’s anchoring equipment and the ability to conduct scheduled and emergency anchorages are critical to safety of navigation.

With its anchors reattached, John C. Stennis is one step closer to completion of its planned incremental availability (PIA) and returning to operations at sea.

John C. Stennis is conducting a PIA at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility, during which the ship is undergoing scheduled maintenance and upgrades.

For more news on John C. Stennis, visit http://www.stennis.navy.mil or follow along on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/stennis74.

Story by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jonathan Jiang

BREMERTON, Washington – Sailors from USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) conducted damage control and medical trainings during three damage control “rodeo” events held aboard the decommissioned carrier USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) May 16-18, June 13-15 and July 11-13.

John C. Stennis’ damage control and medical departments were unable to hold the “rodeos” on their own ship due to maintenance work being conducted during its planned incremental availability (PIA), but still wanted to give their fellow Sailors the most realistic experience possible.

Enter ex-Kitty Hawk, the Navy’s last conventional-powered aircraft carrier, held at Naval Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility Bremerton, and just a quick walk away from John C. Stennis. Though Kitty Hawk was decommissioned in 2009, it remains largely intact and shares many basic similarities to modern Nimitz-class aircraft carriers, making it an ideal location for this type of training.

“To be able to use a retired aircraft carrier, with as much space as there was, affords us the opportunity to keep our Sailors trained while performing the maximum amount of maintenance aboard the ship during the availability,” said Cmdr. Ken Holland, John C. Stennis’ Chief Engineer, from Littleton, Colorado.

John C. Stennis Sailors responded enthusiastically to the opportunity to train aboard Kitty Hawk.

“This gets people excited,” said Lt. Ruth Johns, John C. Stennis’ ship’s nurse officer, from Flagstaff, Arizona. “This [damage control rodeo] just contributes to making it more real. It gets everybody back into the training mindset and really focusing on the mission.”

Sailors received hands on training with damage control equipment at multiple stations set up throughout Kitty Hawk’s hangar bay and on the pier, including dressing out and working in firefighting ensembles (FFE), carrying stretchers, setting up wood and steel shoring, using dewatering equipment and handling active fire hoses.

“I love hands on experiences, it helps me learn better,” said Ship’s Serviceman Seaman Andrew Whitehurst, from Miami. “The fact that we get to touch everything and learn all the parts is pretty cool.”

As the end of PIA draws closer, John C. Stennis Sailors will need to shift their focus from maintenance to operations, and the need for damage control training will become more prominent.

“We’re about to start workups again so it’s important to have the crew train because we’re going to have to certify again in [damage control],” said Damage Control Fireman Chandler Lawson, from Greenville, South Carolina. “We do these rodeos so everyone can get a basis of training on all of the different kind of casualties we might have to fight.”
John C. Stennis is conducting a PIA at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility, during which the ship is undergoing scheduled maintenance and upgrades.

For more news on John C. Stennis, visit http://www.stennis.navy.mil or follow along on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/stennis74.

Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Mike Pernick

BREMERTON, Washington – Sailors from USS John C. Stennis’ (CVN 74) Combined Multi-Cultural Heritage Committee held a festival celebrating Caribbean culture at the Bremerton Liberty Center at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in honor of Caribbean American Heritage Month, July 14.

The festival featured music, decorations representing different Caribbean Islands and lunch, including popular Caribbean dishes such as curried chicken, jerk chicken, plantains, and peas and rice.

Aviation Ordnanceman 2nd Class Destiny Berthoud, from Atlanta, Georgia, president of the Stennis Multi-Cultural Heritage Committee, said it’s important to have events like this because it gives Sailors an opportunity to learn about the diversity of their shipmates.

“We represent many different islands including Jamaica, Cuba and Puerto Rico and we need to recognize all of them,” said Berthoud. “It’s summer, it’s a great day and that’s representative of the Caribbean. We’re very family oriented and love to have fun so that’s what we’re going to do here today.”

President George W. Bush signed a proclamation making June the official Caribbean American Heritage Month, June 5, 2006, dedicating the month to honoring the Caribbean Americans that have played an important part of the nation’s history.

The Combined Multi-Cultural Heritage Committee plans on hosting similar events on a monthly basis.

John C. Stennis is conducting a planned incremental availability at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility, during which the ship is undergoing scheduled maintenance and upgrades.

For more news on John C. Stennis, visit http://www.stennis.navy.mil or follow along on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/stennis74.

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