John C. Stennis Strike Group
John C. Stennis Battle Group
CVN-73 John C. Stennis
"Johnny Reb" / "Look Ahead"
Sailors aboard USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) departed their homeport of Naval Base Kitsap - Bremerton for a regularly scheduled deployment, 15 January 2016. Stennis Sailors manned the rails as the ship sailed away from the pier at 8:30 a.m. and began the transit through the Puget Sound to the Pacific Ocean.
While it is hard to say goodbye to loved ones, Sailors are keeping a positive attitude and looking forward to all of the experiences. "Deployment is bittersweet," said Logistics Specialist Seaman Miguel Torres, from Tacoma, Wash. "I hate having to leave my family behind, but I get to see the world. I'm excited to see all of the sites that people only get to see on TV. I get to experience the real thing."
For a quarter of the crew this was their first deployment. For other Sailors, this isn't their first rodeo. "This is my second deployment, but I'm still really excited," said Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) Airman Ryan Blackwell, from Crystal Lake, Ill. "My first deployment was a great experience, and I learned a lot. I'm mostly looking forward to port visits and experiencing all of the cultures I've never seen before." Stennis' crew spent 56% of the past year underway preparing for this deployment to the Western Pacific area of operations. They expect to participate in a number of exercises; training, integrating and building capacity with allies in that region.
"Deploying is the culmination of our training," said Capt. Mike Wettlaufer, Stennis' commanding officer. "This crew has attacked every challenge thrown their way, and as we leave to answer our nation's call, I couldn't be any prouder of them. We are ready."
Stennis is the nuclear-powered flagship of the John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group (JCSSG), which will also deploy as part of an ongoing rotation of U.S. forces supporting maritime security operations in waters around the world.
The strike group will be the centerpiece of the Great Green Fleet, a year-long initiative highlighting the Navy's efforts to transform its energy use to increase operational capability. JCSSG will use energy efficiency measures, to include technologies and operational procedures, and alternative fuel in the course of its normal operations.
More than 3,000 Sailors aboard USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) returned to their homeport of Bremerton, Washington, Aug. 14, following a regularly scheduled seven-month deployment to the Indo-Asia-Pacific. Stennis departed for deployment from Bremerton Jan. 15, and operated in both U.S. 3rd and U.S. 7th Fleet areas of operation, including more than 60 days in the South China Sea. "The crew of John C. Stennis should be proud of what they've accomplished this deployment and their families should be proud of them, just as I am," said Capt. Greg Huffman, John C. Stennis' command officer. "They carried out difficult and demanding missions far from home and carried them out with exceptional professionalism in the finest tradition of naval service. They are a magnificent crew."
During deployment, John C. Stennis worked together with allied nations, participating in multinational exercises including Foal Eagle with the Republic of Korea military, Malabar with the Indian Navy and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, and RIMPAC, the world's largest international maritime exercise with 26 participating nations, 40 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel. Stennis also conducted dual carrier operations with USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), during which both aircraft carriers performed coordinated flight operations. Stennis made port calls to Guam, South Korea, Singapore, Philippines and Hawaii. Sailors had the opportunity to experience local cultures on their own or through Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) tours. "I wanted to take a tour and see something I would never have normally seen," said Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Equipment) Airman Elisabet Laboymendez, from San Jaun, Puerto Rico. Laboymendez took an MWR sponsored tour of the Taal Volcano in the Philippines.
Sailors also volunteered their time to take part in community service projects, working in schools, serving in soup kitchens and participating in environmental beautification projects. Over the course of deployment, Stennis Sailors performed over 8,500 launches and recoveries of aircraft, conducted 30 replenishments at sea and received approximately 13 million gallons of fuel. The crew also hosted 580 distinguished visitors including the Vice President of the United States Joe Biden, U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson.
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