Story by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Oscar Quezada

PACIFIC OCEAN – USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) departed from San Diego with approximately 400 family and friends for a second Tiger Cruise, Aug. 11.

A tiger cruise allows the family and friends of Sailors, or tigers, to experience life on a Navy aircraft carrier, and to better understand how their Sailors live and work at sea.

John C. Stennis completed its first Tiger Cruise Aug. 10, bringing 1,100 tigers from Pearl Harbor to San Diego, Aug. 10.

During the cruise, tigers will take tours of the ship, see damage control static displays, tours of John C. Stennis’ medical, dental and weapons departments, have basketball, dodge ball and videogame tournaments, a .50 cal machine gun demonstration and an ice cream social.

Chief Yeoman Kristin Zimmer, from Crystal River, Florida, brought her father aboard as a tiger. Zimmer’s father, David Van Oosterwyk, from Port Charolette, Florida, is a Vietnam Veteran, walked aboard an aircraft carrier for the first time during this cruise.

“I thought this was going to be my last deployment,” said Zimmer. “My dad has never [been on an aircraft carrier] before and he’s a veteran, so I thought this would be a really great opportunity for him to experience what carrier life is like.”

Even though the events and number of tigers is different from the first tiger cruise, John C. Stennis is planning on making the second cruise just as successful.

“I loved it,” said Michael Preston, father of Damage Control Fireman Michael Preston, from Angel’s Camp, California, and participant of the first cruise. “When it comes to it, they really are American heroes. I’m really proud of them.”

Having the tigers aboard was not only a new experience for the tigers but a welcomed change of pace for the Sailors as well.

“It was great hanging out with my dad and being able to show him what I do,” said Machinist’s Mate 3rd Class Joshua Hungerford, from Bakersfield, California, who brought his father, Jim Hungerford.

Providing a combat-ready force to protect collective maritime interests, John C. Stennis is returning from a regularly scheduled Western Pacific deployment.

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