Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Aime Lykins

PHILIPPINE SEA – With chalk-covered hands and sweat-laden brows, more than 25 power lifters aboard USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) participated in a weight lifting competition sponsored by the Chargers of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 14 in the ship’s hangar bay, June 8.

The competition was comprised of a three-lift series designed to allow individual participants to achieve an aggregate weight of 1,000 pounds for men and 500 pounds for women, by completing a deadlift, squat and bench press.

HSC-14 facilitated the competition as a way to bring squadron and ship’s company together while promoting fitness.

“We are doing this to increase morale and motivation for working out,” said Aviation Structural Mechanic Airman Itzel Samaniego, from Nogales, Arizona. “The participants are very motivating toward each other and not so much competitive as they are working together to help each other achieve the lifts. I think they are definitely bonding through this.”

Operations Specialist 2nd Class Courtney Nicole Starr from Redmond, Oregon, is a recreational power lifter and was drawn to the competition as a way to meet shipmates with a similar interest and challenge herself as she prepares for her first amateur fitness competition post-deployment.

“I think this is really cool because there is a little power lifting community on board and it’s nice to get everyone together in the same place and motivate each other,” said Starr. “I’m a competitive person, but for me, this is more about supporting each other and seeing other people lifting heavy.”

Airman Roy Salvador from Hilo, Hawaii, chose to participate as a gesture of support to his fellow power lifters on board and share his knowledge about lifting competitions.

“Every day I like to push myself and see if I can be better and I love this sport,” said Salvador. “My goal is to hit 350 on my squat, 450 on deadlift and we’ll see if I can get 300 on the bench.”

In addition to bragging rights, each competitor reaching the required poundage received a t-shirt designating their initiation into HSC-14’s “1,000 Pound Club.”

Providing a ready force supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific, John C. Stennis is operating as part of the Great Green Fleet on a regularly scheduled 7th Fleet deployment.

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