Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jonathan Jiang

PACIFIC OCEAN – Sitting at a warmly decorated table under dimmed, tinted lights amongst a thumb snapping crowd, someone could almost forget they were on the mess decks of a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier underway in the Pacific Ocean. This was the setting for the Sailors aboard USS John C. Stennis who performed during a talent show April 16.

The 30 performers showcased a range of artistic backgrounds including spoken word poets, guitarists and even an opera singer.

“The show allows everybody to get away from the daily ship life and go to a place of peace whether it’s poetry, singing or however they want to express themselves,” said Aviation Ordnanceman 3rd Class C. J. Knox, from Los Angeles, Stennis’ Junior Enlisted Association’s (JEA) public affairs officer.

‘Who Rocks the Mic’ was the second live performance event organized by the JEA.

“It started off with the idea of being a spoken word event,” said Knox. “Then we decided to branch out more, and it became a talent show.”

The audience had their own role to play in the show, using their applause to choose the winner. Their choice was Aviation Electronics Technician Airman Darious Dantzler, from Orlando, Fla. and a member of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 14.

Dantzler wowed the crowd with his voice and a guitar borrowed at the last minute.

“We all had lives before we became Sailors,” said Dantzler. “This show gave us the chance to express some of those non-Navy related skills.”

Dantzler didn’t receive a tangible prize, but he did gain the adulation of his shipmates and the chance to perform in front of a crowd.

The event had a much larger than expected turnout. Every seat on the forward mess decks was filled and the majority of the audience had to stand packed in along the edge of the space.

“I was blown away by the numbers,” said Knox. “We’re going to have to find a bigger place.”

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

Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jonathan Jiang

PACIFIC OCEAN – Marley’s Ghost, an eclectic band with a strong country influence, performed for John C. Stennis Strike Group (JCSSG) Sailors as part of a variety show in USS John C. Stennis’ hangar bay April 17.

Founded in the 1980s, the five members of Marley’s Ghost, Dan Wheetman, Jon Wilcox, Mike Phelan, Ed Littlefield Jr. and Jerry Fletcher, come from various musical backgrounds. For their first carrier concert they performed songs from a range of genres, including the somber, accapella ‘Seaman’s Hymn,’ the Mardi Gras song ‘Iko Iko’ and a cover of ‘God Bless the USA.’
“We were thrilled and so excited,” said Wilcox. “It was payback for the kindness we were shown.”

In addition to the band, the show featured ventriloquist Jay Johnson and musical performances from singer-songwriter Livingston Taylor, Billy Valentine and fiddler Phil Salazar, all with introductions from the show’s emcee and comedian Dick Hardwick.

Two Stennis Sailors, Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Patrick Enright and Ship’s Serviceman Seaman Arrington Jenkins, joined the band for a rendition of ‘Shout Baby Shout,’ with Arrington on guitar and Enright on drums.

“It was an amazing blessing I received last night,” said Jenkins. “These were professional musicians we were playing with so it meant a lot that they wanted Enright and me to go up there.”

The audience joined in for the final song of the night, ‘America the Beautiful.’ Even Capt. Mike Wettlaufer, Stennis’ commanding officer, and Rear Adm. Ronald Boxall, JCSSG commander, joined the performers on stage.

“We had a good time and had some good laughs,” said Information Systems Technician 3rd Class Alexander Morris, from Bossier City, La., who saw the show with Information Systems Technician 3rd Class Abraham Gonzales, from Montebello, Calif.

“We went up to the hangar bay and ended up staying for the entirety,” said Gonzales.

The performers also toured Stennis before and after the concert, seeing the crew in action on the flight deck, combat direction center, mess decks and other operational spaces.
“The quality of the personnel on board is a huge surprise,” said Wilcox, “I got a sore hand from shaking hands so much.”
For more news from USS John C. Stennis visit or 74.

Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jonathan Jiang

PACIFIC OCEAN – Chief Petty Officers (CPO) from USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9 and Carrier Strike Group 3 celebrated their 122nd birthday in Stennis’ Chiefs Mess April 1.
For this year’s celebration, first year chiefs organized a series of events that celebrate and commemorate their Navy heritage while underway.

“For me it was an opportunity to learn and to give back,” said Chief Logistics Specialist Marcus Allen Burdios, from California, one of the event organizers, about the process of planning the events while underway. “It was something I wanted to do and something I wanted to be a part of. It was tough, but it made me stronger.”

The morning kicked off at 5 a.m. with a recital of the CPO creed and a CPO only physical training session, followed by an all-day scavenger hunt that led participants around the ship and tested their knowledge of CPO heritage.
The festivities ended in the Chiefs Mess with a special dinner, a speech from CVW 9 Command Master Chief Fermin Timothee and a birthday cake cutting.

The winner of the scavenger hunt, Chief Electronics Technician Gregory Geske, from Pearland, Texas, received a CPO cutlass engraved with the words Unity, Service and Navigation and the phrase ‘Deckplate leadership since 1893.’

“Individually we are nothing more than well-seasoned veterans filled with confidence and pride,” said Timothee. “Together … the Chiefs Mess becomes the power commanding officers rely upon and Sailors strive to achieve.”
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Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Susan C. Damman

The U.S. Navy has a proud history of staying at the forefront of technology. For decades Sailors have pushed the boundaries of progress. Among America’s many accomplished Sailors, Rear Adm. Grace Hopper stands out as an adamant advocate for scientific curiosity and innovation. She was a professor, a mathematician, a pioneer of computer science, and a public speaker. She believed it was important to approach all situations in new and innovative ways.

“Humans are allergic to change,” Hopper said. “They love to say, ‘We’ve always done it this way.’ I try to fight that. That’s why I have a clock on my wall that runs counter-clockwise.”

Grace Hopper already held a doctorate in Mathematics from Yale University when she joined the U.S. Navy Reserve as an officer in 1943 at the age of 37. Before joining, she was a mathematics professor at a time when most women weren’t working outside the home. Very few women attended university at that time and still fewer studied mathematics or science.

Her first assignment after completing Officer Candidate School in 1944 was at the Bureau of Ordnance Computation Project at Harvard University. She was one of the first programmers on the Navy’s Mark I computer.
The Mark I computer was 51 feet long, eight feet tall, and two feet deep. The machine consisted of relays, switches, counters and cam contacts in a specially designed glass case. A long, horizontal continuously-rotating shaft powered the Mark I and hummed like a sewing machine. Computer scientists programmed it using paper tape, with punched holes representing zeroes and ones.

The Navy used the computer to study ballistic weapons trajectories, magnetic fields, and radar. Hopper worked on that project for the duration of World War II. She wrote a manual for the Mark I, which was the first computer manual ever written.

After being released from active duty after World War II, Hopper stayed at Harvard and continued working on the Mark II and Mark III computers for the Navy.

One day the team was having problems running the Mark II. They investigated and discovered a moth trapped in a relay. They taped the moth in the daily logbook. The entry read “first actual case of bug being found.” Hopper joked that it was the first instance of ‘debugging’ a computer and popularized the term ‘debugging.’

In 1949, she went to Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation and helped design the UNIVAC I (Universal Automatic Computer), the first computer that could translate numbers into letters.
While working at Eckert-Mauchly, Hopper developed her FLOW-MATIC compiler, the first programming language to emphasize an English-like syntax. It made computer programming more accessible to non-mathematicians.

Hopper served as an advisor to the committee that developed COBOL (Common Business-Oriented Language), based largely on her FLOW-MATIC compiler. By 1960, the Department of Defense, and any company that wanted to do business with them, adopted COBOL as the standard programming language. Hopper earned the nickname Grandma COBOL.

Hopper retired reluctantly from the Navy Reserve in 1966, but she was recalled to service seven months later. The Navy needed her to further standardize COBOL.

Her reinstatement was supposed to be only six months, but the Navy extended her indefinitely. She stayed for another 19 years, reaching the rank of captain in 1973 and commodore (rear admiral lower half) in 1983. Hopper retired for the final time in 1986 at the age of 79. When she retired, she was the oldest active duty commissioned officer in the Navy. She had served for 43 years. At her retirement she was presented the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the highest non-combat award given by the Department of Defense.

Hopper’s work on compilers revolutionized the field of computer science. Although she could have had a successful civilian career, she chose to serve her country.

“I’ve received many honors and I’m grateful for them,” said Hopper. “But I’ve already received the highest award I’ll ever receive, and that has been the privilege and honor of serving proudly in the United States Navy.”

Hopper died in 1992 at the age of 85. She was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.

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

PACIFIC OCEAN – USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) participated in a joint training exercise with Army rotary-wing aviation units stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord while transiting the Strait of Juan de Fuca March 23.

The helicopter units conducted carrier launch and landing maneuvers, increasing their ability to perform overwater operations globally from naval platforms.

“What was witnessed was an awesome display of flight deck readiness and the capabilities of our qualified and professional flight deck crew,” said Chief Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) Rick Hayes, from Jacksonville, Fla. “It has enabled safe and coordinated joint force operations with U.S. Army aircraft.”

The Washington Army National guard’s 66th Aviation Theater Command and the U.S. Army’s 106th Special Operations Aviation Regiment participated in the exercise with Stennis. They landed UH-60 BlackHawks and MH-47 Chinooks.

To prepare for the evolution, teams from both army commands and Stennis traveled to each other’s locations to conduct flight planning, coordinate the air plan and troubleshoot. Sailors from Stennis’ Air Department met with Army helicopter pilots and personnel and raised concerns about unfamiliarity with Army aircraft.

“One of our biggest concerns was whether there would be an issue with communication due to different navigational equipment,” said Hayes. “The operation ran smoothly, the landings and launches were conducted safely, and we were able to provide what the pilots needed.”

The U.S. Navy and Army have historically participated in overwater operations together in Haiti, the Persian Gulf, Korea, and in exercises around the Pacific region.

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Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Susan C. Damman

BREMERTON, Wash. – Contractors from Gryphon Technologies began fitting Sailors stationed aboard USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) for Chemical, Biological, Radiological (CBR) gear in Stennis’ damage control training classroom March 9.

The fitting process requires Sailors to get into Mission Oriented Protective Posture (MOPP) level 4 to ensure the whole suit, including overgarments, overboots and gloves fit properly.

After trying on the suit, Sailors wear the MCU-2/P gasmask under the hood of the Joint Service Mask Leakage Tester (JSMLT). The JSMLT pumps a harmless, odorless gas into the hood and measures the masks for leaks. Sailors perform five tests under the hood to simulate different situations.

“Basically, when you’re under the hood it puts you in a CBR environment,” said Joshua Leiva, a contractor from Gryphon Technologies. ” We have them do five tests because when they’re out in the field that’s what they’re going to be doing. When they’re running, they’re deep breathing. When they’re looking up, down, left to right, that’s what they do in the field.”

Stennis expects to fit more than 2000 Sailors for CBR gear March 9-20, said David Sanders, a contractor from Gryphon Technologies.

If Stennis Sailors miss their departments’ designated time, they can be fitted March 19-20.

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Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Susan C. Damman

BREMERTON, Wash. – Sailors stationed aboard USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) played in an Ultimate Frisbee tournament March 2-3 as part of Stennis’ captain’s cup competition.

Five teams representing Combat Systems, Reactor, Engineering and Medical departments, as well as Stennis’ Chiefs’ Mess participated in the tournament.

“I’ve been playing [Ultimate] Frisbee for a while,” said Machinist’s Mate 2nd Class Andrew Gutshall from Augusta, Wis. “I saw that we were having a tournament for the ship and I knew if I got a group of guys together that we’d probably have a pretty good shot at it.”

The friendly competition gave Sailors an opportunity to work as a team outside of their normal work environment.

“It helps bring everyone closer together,” said Electronics Technician 2nd Class Michael Hudson from Bradley, Ill.

Departments can earn points for captain’s cup by participating in sporting events throughout the year, and at the end of the year the commanding officer will present a trophy to the department with the most points.

“It’s fun,” said Chief Machinist’s Mate Jason Pierson, the ship’s sports coordinator, from La Grande, Ore. “When I was here before my department won it [captain’s cup] seven straight times. There’s a lot of bragging rights in that. It’s a good way to be active and get in some physical fitness.”

Going into the Ultimate Frisbee tournament, Air department was in first place with 22 points and Combat Systems was in second place with 11 points. Combat Systems earned 20 points by winning the Ultimate Frisbee tournament and currently leads captain’s cup.

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By Ensign Meighan Middleton, USS Mobile Bay Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO – Sailors stood in formation on the flight deck as USS Mobile Bay (CG 53) held a change of command ceremony while pierside at Naval Base San Diego, March 3.

With the traditional exchange of salutes, Capt. Timothy Kott turned over command of the Ticonderoga-class cruiser to Capt. Sean McLaren.

The ceremony’s guest speaker, Rear Adm. Ron Boxall, Commander John C. Stennis Strike Group, praised Kott for his commitment and actions in a speech to the attendees.

“Under his command, Mobile Bay has performed to the highest standard in everything that they have done as noted by the strong waterfront and strike group reputation that the ship has earned” said Boxall. “You will leave with the pride of knowing that you did your duty, that you served your crew, your Navy, and your Nation with honor. And most importantly, you brought your Sailors safely home.”

The ceremony marked the end of a 24-month command tour for Kott. He led Mobile Bay and her crew through completion of a 2013 surge deployment to the Fifth and Seventh Fleets of Operations, seven months of sustainment operations, an eight month CNO’s Selected Restricted Availability, and oversaw the Certification of Mobile Bay in EOC and numerous Tier 1 and Tier 2 Basic Phase Events.

Under his leadership, Mobile Bay was one of the most decorated ships in the Pacific Fleet, earning two consecutive Battle Efficiency Awards, two Unit Tactics Awards, the CNO’s Safety Award, the Secretary of the Navy Safety Award, and two consecutive Retention Excellence Awards.

Kott said he would miss working for the dedicated and talented men and women who make Mobile Bay the great ship she is most of all.

In his speech, he credited the crew’s hard work, especially those “whom arrived as seamen or firemen, and will leave as first and second class surface warfare qualified, deployment proven Sailors. You all deserve to be on this platform as well; this is your ship.”

“You will not find 377 finer young Americans anywhere else,” said Kott. “They represent the best of our service and country. Through every challenge faced, including a crew returning from back-to-back deployments in 2013, the greatest compliment ever made about Mobile Bay was about the quality and resiliency of her crew.”

Kott’s next tour will be on the Chief of Naval Operations Staff, Programming Division as head of Programming Planning and Development Branch (OPNAV N801).

McLaren most recently served at the Supreme Headquarters of Allied Powers, Europe in Mons, Belgium.

“I started my sea duty career as a cruiser Sailor in San Diego,” said McLaren. “In a lot of ways, this is my career coming full circle. I am excited and eager to get to work.”

Mobile Bay is currently undergoing advanced phase work ups for a 2015 deployment to the Seventh Fleet area of operations. Mobile Bay is assigned to the John C. Stennis Strike Group.

Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Susan C. Damman

BREMERTON, Wash. – Sailors stationed aboard USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) celebrated Black History Month with a ceremony in the forecastle Feb. 26.

Stennis’ Multicultural Committee organized the event highlighting the contributions of African Americans throughout history.

“It’s about the past and present,” said Stennis’ commanding officer, Capt. Mike Wettlaufer. “The opportunity that Martin Luther King Jr. spoke about and his legacy carries on and exists right here. It exists here on John C. Stennis. It exists certainly in the United States Navy. It exists in the military, and it also exists in America. But it’s up to all of us to make it happen.”

Stennis Sailors gave spoken word performances, read excerpts from King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, and performed a dance routine as part of the celebration. The event included a multimedia presentation about black leaders from history and aboard John C. Stennis.

Chief Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Fuels) Louis Citizen from Houston participated in the ceremony because he values the importance of diversity and equal opportunity.

“No matter how we may have been raised, we choose to change,” said Chief Citizen. “And that’s one thing that makes the U.S. military one of the strongest. We are diverse.”

The event emphasized the importance of remembering the past to create a better future.

“It brings about awareness,” said Electrician’s Mate Fireman Marquis Owens from San Diego. “Even though King’s speech and the dream happened in the past, it’s still relevant today.”

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Story by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Kenneth Rodriguez Santiago

BREMERTON, Wash. – U.S. Naval Sea Cadets assigned to a local unit visited USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) to learn about shipboard life and meet Sailors, Feb. 21-22.

Thirty-five cadets from Seattle’s Blue Angels Squadron spent more than 24 hours aboard the ship for a tour and participated in various tasks.

The Sea Cadets program provides opportunities for kids aged 11 to 17 to experience life as a Sailor or Marine and provides cadets with skill sets that can be used as a stepping stone for joining the military.

Anticipation and excitement filled the cadets’ faces as they came aboard the carrier for the first time and spent the night.

“The expressions on their faces were priceless,” said Chief Navy Counselor Rex E. Parmelee, from Nicholasville, Ky., Stennis’ command career counselor. “They could not believe they were about to come aboard for the weekend.”

Once the surreal feeling passed for the cadets, they were ready to get to work. They stood messenger of the watch, saluting Sailors on and off the quarterdeck. They served as medical stretcher bearers during a general quarters scenario and learned about different techniques Stennis Sailors use during a casualty.

When the cadets finished standing watch and doing training, they had the opportunity to work with the food service assistants on the mess decks. They wiped tables, took out trash and washed trays in the scullery. To wrap up the day, the cadets received a tour of the ship, seeing everything from the flight deck to the forecastle.

“The Sea cadets program and this trip gave cadets a taste of what they can expect from the military without the long commitment of four or six years,” said John Cox, operations officer for Blue Angels Squadron Sea Cadets, a volunteer for twenty years. “We have also sent cadets to schools and training camps that the military use. We’ve had cadets interested in joining the Marine Corps, so we sent them to Camp Pendleton.”

According to Parmelee, not only is this event important to show cadets what Sailors do, but it gives the cadets a foundation for being a great Sailor. Whether they decide to enlist or become an officer, they had an experience of a lifetime and can now make more informed decisions about their military futures.

“I’ve seen this program help motivate and improve the learning skills of cadets,” said Cox. “The program directs them on career paths they weren’t even thinking about before, giving them a new focus in life.”

For more information about the U.S. Naval Sea Cadets Corps visit For more news from USS John C. Stennis visit or


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