Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jonathan Jiang

PACIFIC OCEAN – Sitting at a warmly decorated table under dimmed, tinted lights amongst a thumb snapping crowd, someone could almost forget they were on the mess decks of a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier underway in the Pacific Ocean. This was the setting for the Sailors aboard USS John C. Stennis who performed during a talent show April 16.

The 30 performers showcased a range of artistic backgrounds including spoken word poets, guitarists and even an opera singer.

“The show allows everybody to get away from the daily ship life and go to a place of peace whether it’s poetry, singing or however they want to express themselves,” said Aviation Ordnanceman 3rd Class C. J. Knox, from Los Angeles, Stennis’ Junior Enlisted Association’s (JEA) public affairs officer.

‘Who Rocks the Mic’ was the second live performance event organized by the JEA.

“It started off with the idea of being a spoken word event,” said Knox. “Then we decided to branch out more, and it became a talent show.”

The audience had their own role to play in the show, using their applause to choose the winner. Their choice was Aviation Electronics Technician Airman Darious Dantzler, from Orlando, Fla. and a member of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 14.

Dantzler wowed the crowd with his voice and a guitar borrowed at the last minute.

“We all had lives before we became Sailors,” said Dantzler. “This show gave us the chance to express some of those non-Navy related skills.”

Dantzler didn’t receive a tangible prize, but he did gain the adulation of his shipmates and the chance to perform in front of a crowd.

The event had a much larger than expected turnout. Every seat on the forward mess decks was filled and the majority of the audience had to stand packed in along the edge of the space.

“I was blown away by the numbers,” said Knox. “We’re going to have to find a bigger place.”

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