Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Dakota Rayburn

BREMERTON, Washington – Thirteen Sailors assigned to USS John C. Stennis’ (CVN 74) volunteered their time at the Bremerton Backpack Brigade, helping sort and deliver food to local schools, June 16.
Every Friday during the school year, the Bremerton Backpack Brigade provides backpacks and bags of food to children in need within the Bremerton School District along with information about local food programs throughout the summer.

Myra Battin, board president of Bremerton Backpack Brigade, said that improved education will help the children better their circumstances and provide them with a better future, and proper nutrition is an important aspect of that goal.

“Children are not responsible for their circumstances … but they remain hungry nonetheless,” said Battin. “We believe that feeding those little tummies, keeping them well-nourished over the weekends in particular, allows them to arrive at school Monday morning ready to learn.”

The volunteers recognized the value of helping out their local community and how they might learn new ways to assist those in need.

“It’s a learning experience … to see what people do differently than what you do so when you go back to your place you can use that for yourself,” said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Equipment) 2nd Class Yaovi Ameto, from Togo, West Africa. He added that he hopes he inspires others to volunteer their time.

Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Equipment) Airman Janesha Johnson, from Brooklyn, said she has a significant amount of experience volunteering within her community before she joined the Navy. Her experiences taught her to understand other people and find common ground.

“If you get to know other people it make us more of a connected family,” said Johnson. “We all are dealing with the same [problems] together.”

Volunteering for worthy causes can become a healthy habit and all it takes is one time to get the bug.

“Just try it one time and see how much its helping and how much it’s appreciated and it will make you want to do it more,” said Information Specialist 3rd class Thalia Barry, from Fernwood, California. Barry said she was happy to volunteer her time to help people in need and believes other Sailors will feel just as rewarded as she did.

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 2nd Class Nick A. Grim

BREMERTON, Washington – Sailors from USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) hosted a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Pride month observance on the barge mess decks, June 16.

The event, a collaboration between John C. Stennis’ Multi-Cultural Heritage Committee (MCHC) and Gay, Lesbian, and Supporting Sailors (GLASS), included guest speakers and a musical performance.

“This is an opportunity for us to come together to recognize and honor the rich diversity and leadership of all LGBT individuals,” said MCHC President Aviation Ordnanceman 3rd Class Destiny Berthoud, from Atlanta.

This is the second Pride observance onboard John C. Stennis, the first observance was held last June following President Barack Obama’s proclamation designating June as LGBT Pride month.

“Speaking at this event and being able to talk about the LGBT community openly inside the military is such a huge step forward,” said Lt. j.g. Jamie Moroney, from Atlanta, an LGBT ally and divisional officer aboard Stennis, “I hope we continue to have these events, and continue to share these so that we never forget what came before.”

The 2016 observance also marked the introduction of GLASS onboard John C. Stennis as a peer-to-peer group for LGBT Sailors and supportive members.

“Pride isn’t just about LGBT, it’s a time to be proud who you are; gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, we are all different,” said GLASS President, Intelligence Specialist 3rd Class Bryan Black, from Rio Rancho, New Mexico.

It is through events such as this, and other MCHC events, that the Navy demonstrates the diverse cultures that make up our Navy as well as our country.

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 – USS John C. Stennis’ (CVN 74) combat systems department began a combat systems light off, June 13, a key milestone in the ship’s yard schedule.

Approximately 95 percent of John C. Stennis’ combat systems, including navigation radar, aircraft approach and landing systems, and weapons systems were shut down in preparation for the ship’s planned incremental availability (PIA) earlier in the year.

“The light off is [one of] the linchpins in ensuring that we have the ability to get underway,” said Lt. Cmdr. Terrell Burnett, John C. Stennis’ combat systems maintenance officer, from Cleveland. “Without the systems that [we] provide, we would not be able to get the ship underway effectively.”

Bringing the systems back online is no easy task.

“Shutting off the systems is always easy but bringing it up has inherent problems,” said Burnett. “We work through those problems to make sure that we support our customers.”

Burnett likened the light off process to conducting an orchestra, bringing different groups of systems online while coordinating with Sailors and Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility personnel who are still doing maintenance work around the ship.

Alteration and installation teams from Naval Sea Systems Command, Naval Air Systems Command, and Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command worked on and upgraded John C. Stennis’ combat systems equipment while the systems were off.

Some of the upgrades included the next generation aviation data management and control system, and new shipboard telephone systems that will allow every digital phone on the ship to have voicemail.

While the light off is one of John C. Stennis’ milestones for completing PIA, it’s just the beginning for the combat systems department.

The next step is performing between 15,000 and 20,000 hours of preventative maintenance, preparing for the combat systems, command, control, communications and computer readiness assessment (C5RA), and sea trials, said Burnett.

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 stationed aboard USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) participated in a ceremony commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Midway at the Bremerton Boardwalk, June 6.

The event, which was also attended by local veterans, included a formation by John C. Stennis Sailors and a wreath laying ceremony to remember the lives lost during the battle and veterans lost in decades since.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for us to pay our respects to the generations that went before us, especially since there are very few left,” said retired Army Capt. Jim Taylor, from Fort Worth, Texas. “It’s important we don’t forget the sacrifices they made. It’s a commitment of a small amount of time for everyone to remember.”

The Battle of Midway, fought from June 4-7, 1942, was a decisive victory for the United States on the Pacific front during World War II. During the battle, allied surface and air forces destroyed a significant portion of the Japanese Imperial Navy. Midway is considered by many as the turning point of the War in the Pacific, and is one of the most well-known and revered battles in naval history.

On the morning of June 4, 1942, three U.S. torpedo squadrons, VT-8, VT-6 and VT-3 attacked the Japanese fleet while they were refueling and rearming, resulting in the sinking of four aircraft carriers. What’s significant about this battle is that the U.S. was flying the much slower and less maneuverable Devastator bombers.

American pilots and gunners were sitting ducks for the much quicker Japanese Zero fighters, yet went into the face of danger without hesitation. Only six of 41 Devastator aircraft made it back safely that morning.

“The courage they had to go into battle takes a lot of commitment and that dedication lives on today,” said Chief Master-at-Arms Michael Reyes, from San Antonio, who works at Naval Base Kitsap Security Department. “We may be called on to defend the homeland and we may need to find that type of courage again and we can use those that went before us as an example. Those are some big shoes to fill and big expectations that we need to live up to and carry on that tradition of service when called upon.”

Retired Army aircrewman, Kenneth Jensen, from Lapoint, Utah, was an honorary guest at the ceremony. Jensen flew out of a squadron stationed in Molesworth, England. His B-17 Flying Fortress bomber was shot down over Germany and he was a prisoner of war for three months. He flew 23 missions over Germany and is a Purple Heart recipient.

“I’m glad to be here today, and acknowledging this event is an honor,” said Jensen. “I have a lot of pride and many memories.”

The ceremony concluded with a gun salute and a bugler to play taps as the official party mixed in with the audience.

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 Petty Officer 3rd Class Mike Pernick
BREMERTON, Washington – USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) held a frocking ceremony in the ship’s hangar bay, June 2.

Capt. Greg Huffman, John C. Stennis’ commanding officer, congratulated each of the 252 petty officers and six senior chiefs with a handshake while presenting them with their frocking letter in front of the gathered crew.

“It’s a great opportunity and a bit more responsibility now but I’m ready,” said newly frocked Petty Officer 2nd Class Jaemi-Leigh Aguinaldo, from Kapolei, Hawaii.

Frocking is a naval tradition authorizing Sailors selected for advancement in the most recent Navy-wide advancement cycle to wear the uniform and assume the responsibilities of the next higher rank prior to their official promotion date.

“It’s a great honor and great tradition we’re upholding here,” said newly frocked Petty Officer 3rd Class Matthew Sherrill, from Marshall, Michigan. “It was a lot of hard work but I’m ready to be a leader for all my firemen.”

Aguinaldo emphasized the importance of studying and perseverance as a key to her success this advancement cycle.

“Start studying now and start reading through the bibliographies,” said Aguinaldo. “My chief pushed me a lot. He had me studying after working hours and encouraged me to really dissect the material.”

After the ceremony, the newly frocked petty officers returned to their departments and divisions ready to assume new responsibilities befitting their higher rank.

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

For more news from 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 Sierra D. Langdon

BREMERTON, Washington – Sailors assigned to USS John C. Stennis’ (CVN 74) weapons department visited with elementary students at Crownhill School as part of ongoing community outreach events, May 26.

The mission of the monthly visits is to aid in learning and connect with students to increase confidence both inside and outside the classroom.

“The goal is to get the students more socialized, more confident, more comfortable,” said Honi Matchell, a fifth-grade teacher at Crownhill. “That has absolutely been achieved.”

Sailors performed classroom support tasks such as setting up for lessons and assisting students with reading, writing and mathematics assignments.

“It’s nice when people are reliable and consistent and we have so many people helping us by donating so much of their time.” said Jennifer Erickson, a fifth-grade teacher at Crownhill.

Sailors also had the opportunity to play recreational and educational games with the students, tie-dye shirts and ate lunch together.

“Airman Diaz has been working with two of my ELL (English language learning) students,” said Matchell. “I often have her play games that allow for a lot of English speaking interaction to help them practice their language skills. They then take the skills they’ve learned with her and use them to teach other students to play the games.”

Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Melanie Diaz, from Inglewood, California, has been volunteering with the students in Matchell’s class for three months.

“I’ve definitely seen the bond grow,” said Diaz. “The first time I came, the students were shy and holding back. The next time, when it was time for me to leave one of the students ran up and asked me if I could come back again.”

Diaz went on to say that the role of the volunteers was not to be a teacher or authority figure, but to be a person that the student could look up to and be confident and comfortable learning with.

“I truly believe in the old adage ‘it takes a village to raise a child,'” said Matchell. “And the volunteers have become that village at Crownhill.”

Crownhill School is just one of several schools that the John C. Stennis weapons department volunteered in over the past several months.

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 2nd Class Jonathan Jiang

BREMERTON, Washington – USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) reached the halfway point of its planned incremental availability (PIA), May 24.
John C. Stennis officially started its PIA Feb. 16, at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard (PSNS) and Intermediate Maintenance Facility to undergo scheduled maintenance and upgrades.
“This is the largest six-month availability ever for a Nimitz-Class aircraft carrier. The fact that we are on schedule and tracking to complete on time is a testament to the PSNS, Stennis, and contractor team,” said Capt. Greg Huffman, John C. Stennis’ commanding officer.

PIA is a regularly scheduled part of a ship’s life cycle to overhaul systems, install upgrades and complete work difficult or impossible to do at sea or without shipyard experience.
Sailors and PSNS personnel are working together on the various upgrades and repairs needed for the ship, including work on the engineering systems, aircraft catapult, crew berthing, tanks and voids, piping systems, insulation, decks and more. The total work planned for John C. Stennis by Sailors and shipyard personnel will amount to more than 2,100,000 man-hours of work.
Teamwork has been essential to staying on top of the required workload and staying on schedule.
“This whole event is based on good team building that we [John C. Stennis Sailors and PSNS personnel] have been developing over the last year, even before the availability started with the shipyard,” said Cmdr. Ken Holland, John C. Stennis’ chief engineer, from Denver, Colorado. “Us working as a team each and every day has made a huge difference.”

While reaching the halfway point is a milestone for John C. Stennis Sailors and PSNS personnel, there is more work to do before PIA is over.

Each day brings new obstacles, but by communicating with one another, PSNS and John C. Stennis overcomes them.

“The critical thing is we know what needs to get done so that we can finish the availability,” said Holland. “Work together as a team and push her [John C. Stennis] out of here and back to sea.”

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) celebrated Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (AAPIHM) with an observance ceremony hosted by the Multi-Cultural Heritage Committee (MCHC), May 24.
The theme of this year’s event is “Unite Our Voices by Speaking Together.”
“For me it’s important to celebrate diversity because we have so much of it in the Navy,” said Machinist’s Mate 2nd Class Tanisha Strowbridge, a member of the MCHC and speaker at the event, from Atlanta. “I think it’s amazing that we observe so many cultures and include as many people as we can so that no one feels left out and we have a better understanding of each other.”
Guest speakers of various ranks, representing multiple countries and backgrounds, spoke about the influence their culture has had on their life, their career in the Navy and the important contributions of some Asian American and Pacific Islander pioneers.
Another guest speaker at the event, Hospitalman Tre Kubota, from Hau’ula-Kahuku, Hawaii, spoke about his upbringing and ethnic background.
“I’m really proud of where I’m from,” said Kubota. “Talking to other people and learning from them has made me realize there are so many interesting differences and things we have in common with each other.”
There are 24,473 Asian American and Pacific Islander Sailors currently serving in the Navy, including eight admirals, 318 officers and 659 master chief and senior chief petty officers. They represent more than 56 ethnic groups and speak more than 100 languages.
Concluding the event, guests were treated to assorted Asian American and Pacific Islander cuisine. Members from the MCHC also encouraged guests to celebrate the cultural differences that exist in the Navy and recognize the contributions that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have accomplished in the Navy.
“Events like this bring people together,” said Kubota. “I’ve met people from all over the world and now have friends all over the place which is a reflection of this event.”

John C. Stennis is conducting a planned incremental availability (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 Dakota Rayburn

BREMERTON, Washington – Sailors from both aircraft carriers homeported at Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton Sailors worked together at a community service (COMSERV) project cleaning up Ivy Green Cemetery, May 19.

More than 40 Sailors from USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) and USS Nimitz (CVN 68) teamed up with volunteers from the local community to clean debris and overgrowth from the grounds in the 15-acre cemetery to honor the service members buried there for Memorial Day.

Sailors from John C. Stennis’ supply department conduct COMSERVs such as this every month as a means to give back to the community.

“I look forward … to coming out here and doing something with the community every month,” said Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Deprees Lindsay, from Mansfield, Ohio, assigned to John C. Stennis. “I like to come out here and show my support to all the vets that were before me and I’m pretty sure I can say the same about a lot of the other Sailors that are out here,”

Local community leaders also showed their support and assisted the Sailors and local volunteers in the clean up project.

“As part of our community service we come over here to help clean up the cemetery from time to time,” said Bremerton City Council Member Richard Huddy. “It helps to beautify the city and it also helps us to honor the veterans as we get ready for Memorial Day.”

Ivy Green Cemetery, a division of the Bremerton Parks and Recreation department, is the site of Bremerton’s “Tomb of the Unknown” monument, USS Saratoga Memorial and grave of Congressional Medal of Honor recipient John H. Nibbe, who was a Navy quartermaster during the Civil War.

According to Huddy, Marion “Mick” Hersey, a retired Navy senior chief petty officer, is primarily responsible for setting this project, and others like it, in motion. He said Hersey has a commitment to veterans and the memory of veterans, which is why this cemetery work is important to him.

“This has been one of my main focal points because I believe in honor and respect for our veterans,” said Hersey. “Besides this we take care of all the veteran’s memorials throughout town, all done with volunteer help.”

Volunteer Ramon Iniguez said Hersey brought the project to his attention and invited volunteers from his workplace to come out and help.

“I’m really glad that I’m out here to see what the people do to help out their community,” said Iniguez. “This is a big deal with Memorial Day weekend coming up and obviously we want to support the community.”

Huddy also commented on the importance of Sailors getting involved in their communities and how it was necessary to maintain certain projects within the city.

“I would tell [Sailors] that their contributions are very meaningful,” said Huddy. “We couldn’t get these kinds of things done without their help, and we hope that this sets a tone for their life where they will be involved in their communities no matter where they are.”

John C. Stennis is conducting a planned incremental availability (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 Third Class Aime Lykins

BREMERTON, Washington – USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) welcomed Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet Vice Adm. Nora Tyson, on an official visit, May 19.
Tyson is visiting the Pacific Northwest to speak with Sailors during various all-hands calls around Naval Base Kitsap and to serve as grand marshal of the 69th annual Bremerton Armed Forces Day Parade.
The parade is the largest and longest running Armed Forces Day parade in the nation and has an annual attendance of more than 25,000 people from western Washington.
“Vice Adm. Tyson is a ground breaking fleet admiral,” said Capt. Greg C. Huffman, commanding officer of John C. Stennis. “She has set new records on how to conduct fleet operations, command and control by pushing the 3rd Fleet forward.”
While onboard John C. Stennis, Tyson met with Sailors from each of the ship’s departments for a question and answer session, toured areas of the ship that have recently been updated, and met with ship’s leadership.
“Availabilities are all about being ready and flexible,” said Tyson during her address to the crew. “They are all about making sure that our ships, our people and our equipment is ready and as modernized as it can be so that when our country needs us, we are ready to go do whatever mission that platform is capable of doing. You are about half way through your maintenance availability, PIA [planned incremental maintenance availability], and you guys have done a great job.”
Tyson took time to congratulate the crew on the recently awarded Battle ‘E’ designation and spoke about the importance of readiness and flexibility while addressing the current missions of the 3rd Fleet’s numerous commands.
“You had a great deployment, everything that Stennis has touched has been golden, so I really want to say thank you to you guys for what you are doing,” said Tyson.
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.

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