Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Aime Lykins

WESTERN PACIFIC – Clear, blue skies and sun-infused saltwater set the stage for an all-hands swim call as Sailors took the plunge from USS John C. Stennis’ (CVN 74) aircraft elevator, June 22.

More than 2,000 Sailors participated in the morale-boosting dip into the brine and for many it was the standout experience of the ship’s deployment in the Western Pacific.

For more than four hours, the crew took turns stepping to the edge of the ship and splashing down into clear, blue water as security personnel and senior leadership ensured a safe, positive environment.

“We are having a blast and this might just be the highlight of the deployment,” said Capt. Kavon Hakimzadeh, John C. Stennis’ executive officer while ushering Sailors to the jumping point. “In my career, this will be my seventh [swim call] and this might just be my favorite.”

For Aviation Maintenance Administrationman Airman Chloe Savanero, from Los Angeles, the swim call signified a benchmark in her military career.

“It is one of those things that when you are 80 years old you can look back and say that you did something that not everyone had the opportunity to do,” said Savanero. “Many years from now I want to be able to point to this spot on the map and say that I was here, and jumped into the ocean from an aircraft carrier. This is once in a lifetime.”

Waiting in line with a towel draped over his shoulder and signed paperwork in hand, Personnel Specialist 2nd Class William Harbin, from Guntersville, Alabama, said the swim call was the number one thing he wanted to do on deployment, and was excited to participate.

“I mean, who else can say they swam next to an aircraft carrier with armed shark guards like your own private security,” said Harbin. “This is my first deployment and first swim call and not many people can say they have done something like this in their lives.”

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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