By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Christian B. Martinez

U.S. 5th FLEET AREA OF RESPONSIBILITY- Sailors expressed themselves at a spoken word competition, March 23, aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74).

The Chiefs Mess, First and Second Class Petty Officer Associations and the Junior Enlisted Association organized the event so writers and artists aboard the ship could share their original works freely and creatively.

“We wanted to give Sailors the opportunity to read their poems, recite rap verses and do their comedy skits,” said Chief Information Systems Technician Michael Davis, from Greenville, S.C. “It was very successful overall and a lot of Sailors showed up with some pretty amazing talent.”

Each participating organization provided a judge to score the initial audition. Contestants needed to perform an original piece no more than three minutes long. Performers were scored by stylistic flow, organization and attention to word detail.

“All of the performances were so beautiful and worldly,” said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Aida Santell, the First Class Petty Officer Association president. “The problem is that it made it really difficult to judge.”

Junior enlisted Sailors were not the only participants in the event. Senior Medical Officer Cmdr. Andrew Schiemel performed a comedy routine and Chief Legalman Lakisha Baldwin recited a poem.

Aviation Structural Mechanic (Equipment) Seaman Brittany Harris won first place and $300 for her poems “Silly Girl” and “Rude Awakening,” Aviation Structural Mechanic 3rd Class William Humbles won second place and an iPod Touch for his rap “As I Rise,” and Master-at-Arms 1st Class Jeremy Hines won third place and head-of-the-line privileges for a week for his comedy act.

“Poetry is everything to me,” said Harris. “I’ve been writing poetry ever since I could hold a pen. It is a way to express myself. I am not much of a talker, but when I write that’s all me.”

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), is forward deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility conducting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts.

For more information on the JCSCSG, visit or


Aircrew Survival Equipmentman 3rd Class Joen Lewis, from New York, recites a poem during a spoken word competition in the first class mess aboard the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74). (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Ignacio D. Perez/ Released)