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

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

BREMERTON, Wash. – Sailors stationed aboard USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) began filing 2014 income taxes using the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, Feb. 10.

VITA, available ashore and afloat, is a free service providing aid to Sailors who want help filing taxes. Volunteer assistants walk Sailors through the online filing process.

“For Sailors that have basic tax returns, VITA is a very quick and easy process,” said Lt. Scott Upright, Stennis’ VITA coordinator, from Cresco, Pa. “For more complex tax matters, our volunteer assistants can refer Sailors to either the base legal systems office or off base where they can get the level of help they need.”

Sailors who wish to take advantage of the program must bring several forms with them, including their W-2 pay statement, a bank account routing number so the funds can be direct deposited, official proof of dependents, and any forms regarding personal property or finances.

“Teaching Sailors how to file their taxes gives them one more tool in order to take control of their financial affairs,” said Chief Engineman Scott Heppenstall, a VITA volunteer assistant, from Seattle. “I have done my own taxes for years, so I wanted to volunteer this year and share that experience with them.”

VITA is particularly useful for Sailors with unique situations that may change the nature of their tax return, such as marriage, children, recently acquired property and retirement plans. These are all factors that can affect the amount returned and raise questions for first timers.

“This was my first time filing taxes jointly with my wife, but the volunteer assistants made sure to answer all my questions,” said Ship’s Serviceman Seaman Andrew Avila, from Lawrence, Ark. “They double checked every entry I made and ensured that the steps were followed correctly. This simplified the process and helped make filing my taxes easier.”

VITA services are available Monday through Friday in the ship’s library 0730 to 1130.

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Caption Document.docx

Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Andrew P. Holmes

BREMERTON, Wash. – USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) completed the Command Assessment for Readiness and Training (CART) phase II inspection Feb. 12.

CART II evaluates Stennis’ ability to respond to a casualty by concentrating on drills and exercises.

“Drills are the demonstrative piece for training,” said Lt. Cmdr. Shane Beavers, Stennis’ training officer. “[CART] shows how well we can organize and train the crew. We have to demonstrate that we can enter a combat situation and respond as a cohesive unit.”

The CART team executed scenarios to test Stennis’ preparedness. The drills started in condition three, the normal underway watch, and escalated to flying squad drills, formerly condition two, which are designed to combat smaller scale casualties. The four-day inspection culminated with condition one, also known as General Quarters.
“The scenario starts hours before General Quarters,” said Beavers. “A lot of condition three drills deal with combat operations and intel. They handle most of the issues that may occur up until the ship is manned for general quarters.”

General quarters is called to combat major casualties on the ship, including fire, flooding, or hull damage.

Stennis Sailors trained for more than a year for CART II, according to Chief Petty Officer Barry Nowell, locker chief for damage control locker one bravo.

“We prepared for this for quite some time,” said Nowell. “Everybody knew what was expected of them. It didn’t take very long for us to step up and get the job done.”

While it is an inspection, CART II is not pass or fail, according to Beavers. It shows a ship’s capability to support continued preparation for deployment.

“The ship did well, and the assessment done during CART II showed that we have been and are on the right track to become fully certified to conduct major combat operations,” said Beavers.

With the completion of CART II, Stennis will continue on to the next stage of qualifications. This will include the Tailored Ship’s Training Availability (TSTA) and Final Evaluation Period, scheduled to take place over the next several months.

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

PACIFIC OCEAN- Sailors from the U.S. Navy’s newest aircraft carrier are currently embarked aboard USS John C. Stennis for a three-week underway training period, Jan. 10 to Feb. 6.

Thirty-eight Sailors assigned to Pre-Commissioning Unit Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) were selected to join Stennis in order to receive real-world training and experience on an operational carrier at sea.

“Operational experience at sea is a key element to ensure we have a fully trained and viable crew ready to deliver the lead ship in the Navy’s newest class of aircraft carriers,” said Capt. Sean Bailey, Ford’s executive officer.
“The opportunity to get underway with John C. Stennis is invaluable to the Sailors from Gerald R. Ford, and it serves as the perfect complement to the training we have been receiving while our ship is still under construction.”

The first of its class, Ford is currently being built in Newport News, Va. and is scheduled for delivery in 2016. For many Ford Sailors on Stennis, it is a unique opportunity for them to learn about underway evolutions such as vertical replenishments and general quarters drills.

“General quarters has been one of many firsts for me this underway,” said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (fuels) Airman Recruit Darrius Wilkerson, from Little Rock, Ark. “I was able to experience a man overboard drill, see the flight deck, and work with Sailors from Stennis’ air department.”

During the underway period, Ford Sailors will receive lessons on programs that Stennis Sailors have been working on for the past several months, such as the Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services (CANES) system, maintenance and material management (3-M) system and other shipboard programs.

“As the leading chief petty officer of the Supply SS40 division of the Gerald R. Ford, I will be responsible for the damage control maintenance of our supply department,” said Senior Chief Logistics Specialist Calendula Sanders, from Chicago. “I am here to receive 3-M and Sked 3.2 training, which I will use to help establish our damage control maintenance program.”

Ford will be the newest class of carrier since the Nimitz-class launched in 1972. It will feature fully electric utilities, eliminating steam service lines on the ship and reducing maintenance requirements. The improved ship design will also allow the ship and air wing to operate with approximately 400 fewer personnel.

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