By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Destiny Cheek

More than 40 Sailors competed in a deadlift competition aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) Feb. 22.

The competition offered Sailors a break from their work routine and an opportunity to challenge themselves. The event also supported the 21st Century Sailor and Marine Initiative to promote the highest levels of sustained fitness and readiness throughout the fleet.

The competition was divided into male and female categories as well as separate weight classes and participants were allowed two tries to lift their maximum weight.

In the 200-300 pound weight class, Ensign Mike Cashen, from Bakersfield, Calif., bested all competitors with a maximum lift of 550 pounds.

“I enjoyed the competition,” said Cashen. “It motivates Sailors to get in the gym and work out.”

There were a total of 14 winners, one for each weight class, who were awarded a bag full of workout gear including a stop watch, jump rope, and water bottle. Although everyone couldn’t win, Sailors enjoyed the support from their shipmates.

“I came to get a good workout and represent my squadron,” said Logistics Specialist 1st Class Garry Julian, from San Diego. “The best part of the competition was hearing my squadron cheer me on.”

“These competitions give Sailors something to look forward to,” said Tina Nguyen, Stennis’ afloat fitness director, or “fitboss”, from Jackson, Miss. “It gets them in the gym so they can prepare for the competition. And although they’re competing against each other, they support and cheer each other which creates new friendships.”

The John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group (JCSCSG), consisting of Stennis, Carrier Air Wing 9, Destroyer Squadron 21, and guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53) are forward deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility conducting maritime security operations, theater security cooperation efforts and support missions for Operation Enduring Freedom.

For more information on the JCSCSG, visit or


Legalman 2nd Class Kaedi Hunter, From Albuquerque, N.M., participates in the dead-lift competition in the hangar bay aboard the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74). (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Ignacio D. Perez/ Released)