Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jonathan Jiang

PACIFIC OCEAN – Marley’s Ghost, an eclectic band with a strong country influence, performed for John C. Stennis Strike Group (JCSSG) Sailors as part of a variety show in USS John C. Stennis’ hangar bay April 17.

Founded in the 1980s, the five members of Marley’s Ghost, Dan Wheetman, Jon Wilcox, Mike Phelan, Ed Littlefield Jr. and Jerry Fletcher, come from various musical backgrounds. For their first carrier concert they performed songs from a range of genres, including the somber, accapella ‘Seaman’s Hymn,’ the Mardi Gras song ‘Iko Iko’ and a cover of ‘God Bless the USA.’
“We were thrilled and so excited,” said Wilcox. “It was payback for the kindness we were shown.”

In addition to the band, the show featured ventriloquist Jay Johnson and musical performances from singer-songwriter Livingston Taylor, Billy Valentine and fiddler Phil Salazar, all with introductions from the show’s emcee and comedian Dick Hardwick.

Two Stennis Sailors, Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Patrick Enright and Ship’s Serviceman Seaman Arrington Jenkins, joined the band for a rendition of ‘Shout Baby Shout,’ with Arrington on guitar and Enright on drums.

“It was an amazing blessing I received last night,” said Jenkins. “These were professional musicians we were playing with so it meant a lot that they wanted Enright and me to go up there.”

The audience joined in for the final song of the night, ‘America the Beautiful.’ Even Capt. Mike Wettlaufer, Stennis’ commanding officer, and Rear Adm. Ronald Boxall, JCSSG commander, joined the performers on stage.

“We had a good time and had some good laughs,” said Information Systems Technician 3rd Class Alexander Morris, from Bossier City, La., who saw the show with Information Systems Technician 3rd Class Abraham Gonzales, from Montebello, Calif.

“We went up to the hangar bay and ended up staying for the entirety,” said Gonzales.

The performers also toured Stennis before and after the concert, seeing the crew in action on the flight deck, combat direction center, mess decks and other operational spaces.
“The quality of the personnel on board is a huge surprise,” said Wilcox, “I got a sore hand from shaking hands so much.”
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