Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Cole C. Pielop

PACIFIC OCEAN – Twenty Sailors were promoted to chief petty officer (CPO) during a frocking ceremony aboard USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), Sept. 15.

At the ceremony, members of the Chiefs Mess pinned gold, fouled anchors, the insignia of CPOs, on the new chiefs’ uniform collars and placed chief combination covers on their heads.

“[Being pinned] was a culmination of everything coming together,” said Chief Information Systems Technician Tyreeh Bailey, from Colorado Springs, Colorado. “As an E-3 I didn’t think this day would come, but E-3 me would be proud that I’ve got to where I am and I can hold my head high and say I’ve accomplished this.”

Master Chief Aviation Ordnanceman Tyrone Johnson spoke to the selectees about the responsibilities that come along with the new rank.
“The anchors on this ship weight 60,000 pounds,” said Johnson. “I assure you there will be days in which the ones you are about to wear will feel like they weigh just as much. There is good news; you’re not alone. Seniors and juniors will help you. Most importantly every chief on this planet, retired, or active will be there for you. Thank you for stepping up as our reliefs.”
Upon hearing the chief advancement results in August, selectees began a training program called CPO 365 phase two to transition into CPOs.
“The biggest part for me was the things we had to accomplish together as a team,” said Chief Aviation Ordnanceman Eric Atkinson, from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. “There’s no more individual involved. Sometimes some of us tend to go off and do things on our own and think we can accomplish things but you really can’t. You need that teamwork and brotherhood that we learned.”

The names of the new chiefs are Chief Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Equipment) Dennis Archer; Chief Aviation Ordnanceman Eric Atkinson; Chief Information Systems Technician Tyreeh Bailey; Chief Aviation Electronics Technician Gregory Barry; Chief Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Fuel) Tyrone Binongcal; Chief Hospital Corpsman Bryan Clarke; Chief Aviation Electronics Technician Andrew Folsom; Chief Aviation Support Equipment Technician Mark Garin; Chief Fire Controlman Michael Kirby; Chief Aviation Structural Mechanic Jason Knopes; Chief Air Traffic Controller Joshua Koble; Chief Logistics Specialist Jian Lin; Chief Electrician’s Mate Michele Mcpherson; Chief Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Equipment) Harry Meyer III; Chief Machinist’s Mate Max Reiter; Chief Machinist’s Mate Alex Fenton, Chief Aviation Support Equipment Technician Joephaz Sanchez; Chief Machinist’s Mate Davis Webb; Chief Mass Communication Specialist Matthew White and Chief Damage Controlman Matthew Wierson.

John C. Stennis is underway conducting carrier qualifications and training for future operations after completing flight deck certification.

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

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Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Cole C. Pielop

PACIFIC OCEAN – Twenty Sailors were promoted to chief petty officer (CPO) during a frocking ceremony aboard USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), Sept. 15.

At the ceremony, members of the Chiefs Mess pinned gold, fouled anchors, the insignia of CPOs, on the new chiefs’ uniform collars and placed chief combination covers on their heads.

“[Being pinned] was a culmination of everything coming together,” said Chief Information Systems Technician Tyreeh Bailey, from Colorado Springs, Colorado. “As an E-3 I didn’t think this day would come, but E-3 me would be proud that I’ve got to where I am and I can hold my head high and say I’ve accomplished this.”

Master Chief Aviation Ordnanceman Tyrone Johnson spoke to the selectees about the responsibilities that come along with the new rank.
“The anchors on this ship weight 60,000 pounds,” said Johnson. “I assure you there will be days in which the ones you are about to wear will feel like they weigh just as much. There is good news; you’re not alone. Seniors and juniors will help you. Most importantly every chief on this planet, retired, or active will be there for you. Thank you for stepping up as our reliefs.”
Upon hearing the chief advancement results in August, selectees began a training program called CPO 365 phase two to transition into CPOs.
“The biggest part for me was the things we had to accomplish together as a team,” said Chief Aviation Ordnanceman Eric Atkinson, from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. “There’s no more individual involved. Sometimes some of us tend to go off and do things on our own and think we can accomplish things but you really can’t. You need that teamwork and brotherhood that we learned.”

The names of the new chiefs are Chief Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Equipment) Dennis Archer; Chief Aviation Ordnanceman Eric Atkinson; Chief Information Systems Technician Tyreeh Bailey; Chief Aviation Electronics Technician Gregory Barry; Chief Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Fuel) Tyrone Binongcal; Chief Hospital Corpsman Bryan Clarke; Chief Aviation Electronics Technician Andrew Folsom; Chief Aviation Support Equipment Technician Mark Garin; Chief Fire Controlman Michael Kirby; Chief Aviation Structural Mechanic Jason Knopes; Chief Air Traffic Controller Joshua Koble; Chief Logistics Specialist Jian Lin; Chief Electrician’s Mate Michele Mcpherson; Chief Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Equipment) Harry Meyer III; Chief Machinist’s Mate Max Reiter; Chief Machinist’s Mate Alex Fenton, Chief Aviation Support Equipment Technician Joephaz Sanchez; Chief Machinist’s Mate Davis Webb; Chief Mass Communication Specialist Matthew White and Chief Damage Controlman Matthew Wierson.

John C. Stennis is underway conducting carrier qualifications and training for future operations after completing flight deck certification.

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

Story by USS John C. Stennis Public Affairs Office

San Diego – USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) arrived at Naval Air Station North Island after successfully completing flight deck certification and conducting carrier qualifications, Sept. 11.

In five days of flight operations, John C. Stennis and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9 accomplished 374 launches and recoveries for both its flight deck certification and carrier qualifications for the air wing.

John C. Stennis is stopping in San Diego to offload CVW-9 maintenance parts and supplies and take on new supply stores and equipment in support of scheduled carrier qualification training cycles and other evolutions, after which the ship will return to sea to conduct additional training.

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 Susan Damman

PACIFIC OCEAN – USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) successfully completed its flight deck certification, Sept. 6, with the help of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9.

During the certification, Commander, Naval Air Forces, Pacific, evaluated the ship’s ability to safely launch and recover aircraft. Flight deck certification is a major milestone for John C. Stennis during its training cycle after early completion of a six-month planned incremental availability (PIA) at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility in August.

“Our main weapon system is the delivery of ordnance through strike fighter aircraft,” said Cmdr. Pavao Huldisch, the air officer aboard John C. Stennis. “Unless we’re certified, we can’t carry aircraft, we can’t launch them, and we can’t recover them. The ability to conduct the mission of this aircraft carrier is what we accomplish by certifying the flight deck and getting back in the fight to do the nation’s business.”

To certify, John C. Stennis was required to conduct at least 120 day and 40 night aircraft launch and recoveries over the course of two days, as well as demonstrating proficiency across a wide range of flight related operations to include multiple aircraft emergency drills. The ship accomplished more than 200 launches and recoveries, more than meeting the certification requirements and gaining valuable additional training for both pilots and flight deck crews.

“It’s hard to go from a maintenance mindset to an operational mindset,” said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) 1st Class William Duskin, the flight deck leading petty officer, from Cochran, Georgia. “That’s the reason why we have flight deck certification. We had a long break during PIA where we weren’t doing flight operations. We need to make sure we can still follow the correct procedures and do it safely.”

The preparation for flight deck certification began before PIA ended, with flight deck personnel conducting training, firefighting drills and briefs. For many new crewmembers this was their first time conducting flight operations.

“Not too many people get to say they’ve been on an aircraft carrier and watched these machines take off and go from zero to whatever they go. It’s impressive,” said Airman Garrett Pensak, from Bellefonte, Pennsylvania.

This underway was also the first time John C. Stennis and CVW-9 operated together since 2016. Flight operations take a lot of coordination between ship’s company and the air wing squadrons, and flight deck certification was an opportunity to renew that relationship.

“Teamwork is everything,” said Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Tony Garcia, assigned to the Black Aces of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 41, from Edinburg, Texas. “Without ship’s company, we can’t do our job; and without us, ship’s company can’t do their job. Teamwork is a big deal around here.”

After completing flight deck certification, John C. Stennis will be completing a series of work ups and certifications leading to a scheduled 2018 deployment.

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 Joseph L. Miller

BREMERTON, Wash. – USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) got underway from Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton to complete its flight deck certification and other training, Sept 1.
Flight deck certification is a key milestone for the aircraft carrier’s return to operations at sea following a six-month Planned Incremental Availability (PIA) maintenance period.

“The flight deck certification process has been ongoing for many months now, beginning with an in-depth inspection of the air department, [and] leading to a vigorous drill routine and inspection that will culminate with certifying the ship for flight operations,” said Lt. Karl Schroeder, a catapult and arresting gear officer on John C. Stennis. “The separate air department divisions will be assessed, ranging from refueling aircraft, aircraft moves on both the flight deck and in the hanger bay, to launching and recovering aircraft through both day and night operations.”
The underway also marks the first time Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9 aircraft and personnel have been on board conducting flight operations in more than eight months.
“The effective coordination between JCS and CVW 9 is a critical element to ensuring the Strike Group is operationally prepared for the upcoming deployment,” said Schroeder. “Early and frequent interaction between the two commands is vital to the start of the work-up cycle.”
For many Sailors aboard the Stennis this will be their first time conducting flight operations at sea.
“Everyone is understandably both eager and anxious about the upcoming underway and flight deck certification,” said Schroeder. “Carrier operations are, without a doubt, awe-inspiring, and those who have had the opportunity to witness or take part in flight ops are keen to get back to launching and recovering birds.”
Once flight deck certification is complete, John C. Stennis will conduct flight deck qualifications, as well as other training.

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 Joseph L. Miller

BREMERTON, Wash. – USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) got underway from Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton to complete its flight deck certification and other training, Sept 1.
Flight deck certification is a key milestone for the aircraft carrier’s return to operations at sea following a six-month Planned Incremental Availability (PIA) maintenance period.

“The flight deck certification process has been ongoing for many months now, beginning with an in-depth inspection of the air department, [and] leading to a vigorous drill routine and inspection that will culminate with certifying the ship for flight operations,” said Lt. Karl Schroeder, a catapult and arresting gear officer on John C. Stennis. “The separate air department divisions will be assessed, ranging from refueling aircraft, aircraft moves on both the flight deck and in the hanger bay, to launching and recovering aircraft through both day and night operations.”
The underway also marks the first time Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9 aircraft and personnel have been on board conducting flight operations in more than eight months.
“The effective coordination between JCS and CVW 9 is a critical element to ensuring the Strike Group is operationally prepared for the upcoming deployment,” said Schroeder. “Early and frequent interaction between the two commands is vital to the start of the work-up cycle.”
For many Sailors aboard the Stennis this will be their first time conducting flight operations at sea.
“Everyone is understandably both eager and anxious about the upcoming underway and flight deck certification,” said Schroeder. “Carrier operations are, without a doubt, awe-inspiring, and those who have had the opportunity to witness or take part in flight ops are keen to get back to launching and recovering birds.”
Once flight deck certification is complete, John C. Stennis will conduct flight deck qualifications, as well as other training.

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, Wash. – Sailors gathered in USS John C. Stennis’ (CVN 74) hangar bay for a Navy College Program for Afloat College Education (NCPACE) sign-up event, Aug 22.

Representatives from NCPACE were available to inform Sailors about and sign them up for NCPACE courses.

“NCPACE is a program that’s been around over 30 years,” said Gilbert Williams, the Navy Voluntary Education region advisor for Navy Region Northwest. “It’s a program specifically designed for deployed ships and submarines where you don’t have to go online or don’t have to take any class at an actual campus.”

The regionally accredited courses are delivered by self-paced CD-ROM, DVD, MP4 and PDA delivery methods and can be completed at the Sailor’s own pace to accommodate life underway at sea.

Many online courses require Internet connectivity to submit assignments or to participate in chat functions, which could be difficult or impossible to do on a deployed ship or submarine, said Williams.

“The last time I took college classes [online], it was pretty difficult so I think NCPACE is going to make it a little bit easier,” said Aviation Support Equipment Technician 3rd Class Andrew Decamp, from Indianapolis. “If the internet goes down, it’s not going to hurt you because it’s at your own pace.”

NCPACE courses are also tuition free. Sailors only need to pay for textbooks and other educational materials.

“It’s a win-win for the Sailor,” said Williams. “It does not use tuition assistance dollars, it does not use G.I. Bill Benefits; it’s a free course. The only thing the Navy wants you to do is pass the class.”

Olympic College, Coast Line Community College and Vincennes University representatives were also present to talk to Sailors about the different educational opportunities available to them from their respective schools.

A college education will not only benefit Sailors after leaving the Navy but also open doors while they are still in.

Earning a degree can give Sailors advantages when it comes to pay grade advancement, said Lt. j.g. Gabriel Sanchez, John C. Stennis’ educational services officer, from Ruskin, Florida. Enlisted Sailors interested in officer programs should also look into continuing their education.

“If you can get your education while you’re still in the military, still on active duty, that is the best time,” said Kevin Askin, military educational advisor from Olympic College. “You’re not going to be racking up a huge bill later on in life. If you have the opportunity, I say go for it.”

John C. Stennis is in port training for future operations after completing its planned incremental availability (PIA) at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility five days ahead of schedule. During PIA, the ship and shipyard team accomplished the largest work package ever for an aircraft carrier in a six-month availability.

For more news on USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) visit http://navy.mil/local/cvn74/ or http://www.facebook.com/stennis74.

Story by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jonathan Jiang

BREMERTON, Wash. – Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 3 held a change of command ceremony aboard USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), Aug. 29.

Sailors, distinguished visitors, and guests gathered in John C. Stennis’ hangar bay to bid farewell to Rear Adm. Marcus Hitchcock and welcome Rear Adm. Michael Wettlaufer as the new commander of CSG 3.

Vice Adm. Nora Tyson, commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet, was the ceremony’s guest speaker and presiding officer, and presented Hitchcock with the Legion of Merit.

“No team has been better prepared to succeed than the John C. Stennis Strike Group under Hitch’s leadership,” said Tyson. “We have literally thrown everything we can think of at this team and they continuously excel.”

Following an award presentation, Hitchcock and Wettlauffer read their orders, officially changing command.

Hitchcock’s next assignment will be commander of Navy Warfare Development Command, Norfolk.

“It’s been a great privilege and an honor to command the John C. Stennis Strike Group for the past 16 months,” said Hitchcock. “This team always came together to support each other and accomplish every mission and I could not be more proud than I am of the John C. Stennis Strike Group.”

During Hitchcock’s time in command, CSG 3 completed a seven-month deployment to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations and participated in Exercise Foal Eagle 2016 with the Republic of Korea, Exercise Malabar 2016 with the Indian Navy and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, and Rim of the Pacific 2016, the world’s largest international exercise.

Wettlaufer previously served as executive officer of John C. Stennis and commanded the Dambusters of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 195, USS Denver (LPD 9), and John C. Stennis.

“Thanks for setting me up with this great team,” said Wettlaufer. “I know you have set us on a path for success and I am honored for the opportunity and I look forward to working with this great team.”

The John C. Stennis Strike Group consists of John C. Stennis with Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9 and Destroyer Squadron 21 embarked, guided-missile destroyers USS Stockdale (DDG 106), USS Chung-Hoon
(DDG 93) and USS William P. Lawrence (DDG 110), and guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53).

CVW-9 consists of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 14, Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 71, Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 117, Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 133, and Strike Fighter Squadrons (VFA) 14, 41, 97 and 151.

CSG3 is comprised of the units making up JCSSG and also includes independent deployers: guided-missile destroyers USS Paul Hamilton (DDG 60), USS Milius (DDG 69), USS Decatur (DDG 73) and USS Gridley (DDG 101).

John C. Stennis is in port training for future operations after completing its planned incremental availability (PIA) at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility five days ahead of schedule. During PIA, the ship and shipyard team accomplished the largest work package ever for an aircraft carrier in a six-month availability.

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 Nick A. Grim

BREMERTON, Wash. – USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) and crew took a pause from their normal training and maintenance, Aug. 25, to focus on safe and efficient operations.

The operational pause was directed by Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson in the wake of several U.S. Navy vessel mishaps, including the collisions of USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) and USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) with civilian vessels, and seeks to address issues which may have led to these mishaps.

“Recent events indicate these tragic incidents are not limited occurrences but part of a disturbing trend involving U.S. warships in the area of responsibility (AOR),” said Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. William Moran.

John C. Stennis had been planning a safety stand-down with similar themes as it shifts its mindset from the industrial and maintenance environment focus which lead it to success in completing its planned incremental availability five days ahead of schedule to one focused on operations at sea, including navigation, damage control and flight operations. The tragic events onboard Fitzgerald and John S. McCain brought the need for this dedication to safe operations into focus.

Moran directed the review to address individual and unit level training and development, operational risk management, mission standards, operational performance and material readiness.

Capt. Greg C. Huffman, commanding officer of USS John C. Stennis, addressing the crew via the ship’s closed circuit TV system alongside Capt. Scott Miller, the executive officer and CMDCM Benjamin Rushing, the ship’s command master chief, introduced the pause as a time to reflect on how the ship does business, ensure that operations are being conducted in the right way, and ensure the ship is ready to return to sea.

During the day, departments aboard John C. Stennis discussed operational issues, and provide feedback on improvements. This included a focus on watchstanding fundamentals, operational risk management, using good planning processes, and the need for situational awareness during operations at sea, in port, and at home. Different departments and functional watch areas were able to tailor the discussions to their specific tasks and goals, while continuing to emphasize how each Sailor’s actions contribute to the ship’s overall capabilities.

The day concluded by re-assembling the crew in the hangar bay, where they were again addressed by Huffman, who re-enforced the need for each and every Sailor to contribute to a culture of safe and effective operations as the ship prepares for upcoming training and certifications at sea.

“If you see things that aren’t right, you speak up. It doesn’t matter what rank, anyone can speak up,” said Quartermaster 1st Class Thomas Ross, from Chicago. “Proper watchstanding, and anything having to do with procedural compliance saves lives.”

John C. Stennis is in port training for future operations after completing its planned incremental availability (PIA) at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility five days ahead of schedule. During PIA, the ship and shipyard team accomplished the largest work package ever for an aircraft carrier in a six-month availability.

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) 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.

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