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John C. Stennis Strike Group
John C. Stennis Battle Group
CVN-73 John C. Stennis
"Johnny Reb" / "Look Ahead"

The mission of USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) and her embarked air wing is to conduct sustained combat air operations. The air wing consists of nine to ten squadrons with the following types of aircraft: F-14 Tomcats, F/A 18 Hornets, EA-6 Prowlers, S-3B Vikings, E-2 Hawkeyes, and SH-60 Sea Hawks.

The air wing can destroy enemy aircraft, ships, submarines, and land targets, as well as lay mines hundreds of miles from the ship. Additionally, our ship can embark Marine Corps air elements in support of amphibious operations. Aircraft onboard USS John C. Stennis can be used to conduct retaliatory strikes, support a land battle, protect the battle group or other friendly shipping, defend and preserve sea or air lanes, or just to provide a visible presence to demonstrate American power and resolve in a crisis. The ship will normally operate as the centerpiece of a carrier battle group consisting of four to six other ships and commanded by an embarked flag officer. The ship operates with Joint Task Forces, allied nations, and all branches of service.

USS John C. Stennis' two nuclear reactors provide the ship virtually unlimited range and endurance, with a top speed in excess of 30 knots. The ship's four C-13 Mod 2 catapults and four Mark 7 Mod 3 arresting gear engines enable her to launch and recover aircraft rapidly and simultaneously. The ship carries approximately three million gallons of fuel for aircraft and escort ships, and enough weapons and stores for extended operations without replenishment. USS John C. Stennis has extensive repair capabilities, including a fully equipped Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department, a micro-miniature electronics repair shop, and numerous ship repair shops.

For defense, in addition to the Air Wing and accompanying vessels, USS John C. Stennis has the NATO Sea Sparrow short-range surface-to-air missile system, the Phalanx Close-in Weapon System (a 20mm "Gatling Gun") for cruise missile defense, and the SLQ-32 electronic warfare system.

NIMITZ-class carriers are the largest, most powerful, and most versatile warships in the world. USS John C. Stennis will serve our country for many decades as a flexible, impressive, and powerful instrument for protecting American interests and preserving peace.

Stennis is the flagship for the JCS Battle Group commander, Commander, Carrier Group SEVEN and the embarked airwing. On deployment, JCS is also home to Commander, Destroyer Squadron TWENTY ONE (DESRON 21). CCG-7 controls the entire battle group's activity through the CVW and DESRON 21.

On March 13 1991, the keel for John C. Stennis was laid. The ship is named in honor of John Cornelius Stennis of Mississippi who served in the Senate from 1947 to 1989. No previous ships have borne this name.

On Veteran's Day, November 11, 1993, nuclear-powered John C. Stennis (CVN 74) was christened at Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company with Vice President Albert Gore as the ceremony's principal speaker. Mrs. Margaret Stennis-Womble, daughter of the ship's namesake, also attended as the ship's sponsor.

USS John C. Stennis was commissioned on December 9, 1995 at Naval Station Norfolk, Va.


The USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) seal was produced from the combined efforts of several crewmembers with historical help from the Stennis Center for Public Service, the John C. Stennis Space Center and the United States Senate Historian. The Seal implies peace through strength, just as Senator Stennis was referred to as an "unwavering advocate of peace through strength" by President Ronald Reagan, when the ship's name was announced in June 1988. The circular shape signifies the NIMITZ class aircraft carrier's unique ability to circle the world without refueling while providing a forward presence from the sea. The predominant colors are red, white, blue and gold, the same as our country and our Navy.

The outer border, taken from one version of a U.S. Senate crest, represents the strength through unity of the ship's crew. The four gold bands and eight ties denote John C. Stennis' four decades (41 years) in the Senate and the eight presidents with which he served from President Truman to President Reagan. The seven stars in the blue border represent his seven terms in the Senate and characterize USS John C. Stennis as the seventh NIMITZ class aircraft carrier. The red and white stripes inside the blue border represent our flag and the American people USS John C. Stennis serves. They also honor the courage and sacrifice of our country's Armed Forces. The eagle and shield is a representation of the gilt eagle and shield overlooking the Old Senate Chamber, which Senator Stennis' dedicated efforts helped to restore. The shield represents the United States of America, the country USS John C. Stennis and her Air Wing serves and protects. The twenty stars represent our twentieth state, Mississippi, the home of John C. Stennis.

The three arrows in the eagles' talons symbolize the Ship and Air Wing's awesome ability to project power. They also represent Senator John C. Stennis over three decades on both the Senate Armed Service Committee (37 years) and Appropriations Committee (33 years), where he oversaw our country's military capabilities and earned the title "Father of America's Modern Navy." The burst of light emanating from the shield, representative of the emergence of a new nation in the United State Senate Seal, portrays the birth of over 25 major Aviation programs under Senator Stennis' leadership, including all aircraft carriers from USS FORRESTAL (CV-59) to USS Harry S Truman (CVN 75), and aircraft from the F-4 Phantom to the F/A- 18 Hornet.

The eagle is representative of John C. Stennis stature in the U. S. Senate where he was respected and admired as a "soaring eagle" by his colleagues. It also symbolizes independence and strength and depicts the constant readiness of USS John C. Stennis and her Air Wing to preserve, protect and defend freedom. The carrier, cutting her powerful swath through the sea, exemplifies Senator Stennis' philosophy of "Look Ahead." Embodied in the ship are the principles of honor, courage and commitment, principles that John Cornelius Stennis constantly upheld in his service to America, and values the ship's crew will uphold in their service. The carrier's path also evokes John C. Stennis' pledge to "plow a straight furrow down to the end of my row," just as the ship will steer a steady course to complete all missions in the preservation and defense of freedom.

John C. Stennis

Former U.S. Senator John C. Stennis served with eight presidents, beginning with Harry Truman in 1947 and ending with Ronald Reagan in 1988.

The senior Senator from Mississippi, he was elected President Pro Tempore of the Senate for the 100th Congress. As Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee from 1969 to 1980, Senator Stennis consistently supported a strong U.S. military and gained the honorary title of "the father of America's modern Navy."

Born August 3, 1901, eight miles south of DeKalb, Mississippi, Senator Stennis was an 18-year-old farm boy when he entered Mississippi A & M (now Mississippi State University). He graduated in 1923.

Senator Stennis took his seat in the Mississippi House of Representatives in 1928, the same year he received a law degree from the University of Virginia. It was in Virginia that his namesake ship was built by Newport News Shipbuilding.

The following year he married Miss Coy Hines; they moved to DeKalb and had two children, Margaret and John.

In 1932, John C. Stennis was elected district prosecuting attorney and five years later he became a circuit judge.

John C. Stennis was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1947. Courage, integrity, dignity, honesty and an unwavering commitment to public service characterized his 41 years in the U.S. Senate.Senator Stennis retired from the Senate in 1988 and returned home to Mississippi. He passed away on April 23, 1995 and was buried near his place of birth in DeKalb, Mississippi.

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Page last modified: 08-03-2016 19:13:47 ZULU