By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Dakota Rayburn

PACIFIC OCEAN -Morale Welfare and Recreation (MWR) hosted a bingo tournament, Jan. 27, offering Sailors aboard USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) the chance to fly off the ship and attend the NFL Pro Bowl in Hawaii with one guest.

Fire Controlman 1st Class Michael Kirby, from Cottage Grove, Ore., won the grand prize trip to Hawaii and $2,000, but he had something much better than money or a football game waiting for him.

“My favorite thing was getting to see my wife because she flew out,” said Kirby.

While Kirby elected to spend his time with his wife, his guest, Personnel Specialist 3rd Class Kevin Stauft from Redding, Calif., took the opportunity to explore and attend the Pro Bowl. Stauft said he took advantage of the opportunity to enjoy Hawaii by going on a submarine tour, visiting Waikiki Beach and meeting interesting people at a pre-Pro Bowl party. One of his favorite experiences on the island was getting to try new foods like a honey buttered roll stuffed with lobster.

“I actually liked just being in Hawaii; it’s paradise,” said Stauft.

Kirby transferred to Stennis from a frigate. He said the size and logistics of an aircraft carrier are mind-boggling.

“It’s cool that FC1 won because this is his first taste of carrier life,” said Senior Chief Fire Controlman Scott Benjamin, from Bolivar, N.Y., on temporary assigned duty (TAD) from USS Shoup (DDG 86). “To see that those prizes are so significant, that the opportunity is there, you don’t get that on a [frigate].”
Kirby said he plans to use the remaining money for a future house payment. He joked he is looking forward to winning a new truck at the end of deployment in future MWR competitions.
“We sponsor events like bingo whenever we have a long time at sea or if someone suggests an event that we should do,” said Electronics Technician Seaman Megan Peixotto, from Owasso, Okla., TAD to MWR. “We are starting to try to do some sort of event every week.”
MWR hosts events like the bingo tournament to give Sailors fun activities to participate in and boost morale on the ship. They also coordinate events and sell tickets to local attractions when Stennis pulls into port.
Providing a combat-ready force to protect collective maritime interests, Stennis is operating as part of the Great Green Fleet on a regularly scheduled Western Pacific deployment.
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