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USS John C. Stennis

USS John C. Stennis



USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), commissioned on December 9, 1995, is a Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier homeported at Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton.

Stennis is 4.5 acres of sovereign United States territory capable of traveling to the furthest reaches of the globe. It is 1,092 feet long and rises about 200 feet out of the water. Stennis and her crew provide forward presence and credible deterrence. Stennis conducts sustained air operations, maritime interdiction, counter-piracy operations, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

As the John C. Stennis Strike Group flag ship, Stennis hosts an embarked air wing and deploys with as many as six ships, with a population of more than 5,000 Sailors and Marines when the air wing and staff are embarked. Stennis has many of the same amenities as any American city with a comparable population.

Stennis has its own newspaper, magazine, television station, fire department, paramedics, police department, library, recycling center, jail, 50-bed hospital with an intensive care unit, two general stores, laundries, barbershop and even a post office with its own ZIP code. Without the embarked air wing and staff, Stennis’ population is approximately 3,000 Sailors.

Senator John Cornelius Stennis served in the United States Senate for 41 years. Born to a farmer in one of the poorest counties in Mississippi, Stennis’ sense of personal responsibility and strong work ethic led him to become President Pro Tempore, third in line of succession to the presidency.

Stennis stood firm for U.S. military superiority. A strong Navy, second to none, always topped his agenda. This steadfast support led Stennis to earn the moniker, “father of America’s modern Navy.” He is the only senator namesake of a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.

When announcing this ship would be named after Stennis, then-President Ronald Reagan said, “Senator, when I consider your career there is a certain comparison that comes to mind. In troubled places you’ve brought calm resolve, like one of the great fighting ships you’ve done so much to obtain for the Navy; serene, self-possessed, but like a great ship of the line, possessed of a high sense of purpose.”

In Washington, Stennis had a sign on his desk that represented a part of his personal philosophy. It read “Look Ahead.” As this great ship plies the oceans of the world to ensure peace, it carries the name of a man who did, indeed, “look ahead” for the sake of his country.

The mission of USS John C. Stennis and her embarked air wing is to conduct sustained combat air operations while forward deployed in the global arena. The embarked air wing consists of eight to nine squadrons. Attached aircraft are the EA -18 Growlers, F/A-18E and F Super Hornets, E-2C Hawkeye, MH-60R, MH-60S and C-2 Greyhound.

The air wing can destroy enemy aircraft, ships, submarines and land targets, or lay mines hundreds of miles from the ship. Stennis’ aircraft are used to conduct strikes, support land battles, protect the strike group or other friendly shipping, and implement a sea or air blockade.

In addition to the air wing and accompanying vessels, Stennis has NATO Sea Sparrow and rolling airframe surface-to-air missile systems, the Phalanx Close-in Weapons System (an extreme rapid-firing 20 mm gun) for cruise missile defense and the SLQ-32 Electronic Warfare System.

Stennis’ two nuclear reactors give her virtually unlimited range and endurance and a top speed in excess of 30 knots. The ship’s four catapults and four arresting gear engines enable her to launch and recover aircraft rapidly and simultaneously.

Stennis carries approximately 3 million gallons of fuel for her aircraft and escorts and enough weapons and stores for extended operations without replenishment. Stennis also has extensive repair capabilities, including a fully equipped Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department, an electronics repair shop and numerous other ship repair shops.

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