Malaysian guests visit one of the world’s largest supercarriers


Ships assigned to the John C. Stennis Strike Group (JCSSG) and the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force ship JS Ise (DDH 182) steam in formation during a group sail. - Photos courtesy of the United States Navy.

THE wow factor moment of visiting the USS John C. Stennis, one of the world’s biggest aircraft carriers, has to be just stepping onto the flight deck and gaping at all the incredible fighter aircraft.

This was the case for a handful of visitors from the Defence Ministry, corporate guests and members of the media who were invited for a tour of the USS John C. Stennis by the US Embassy recently.

The USS John C. Stennis is the seventh of 10 Nimitz-class nuclear-powered supercarriers in service to the US Navy; currently the biggest class of aircraft carriers in service worldwide.

As the ship was located in the South China Sea, some 120 miles off the east coast of peninsular Malaysia, guests were flown to the ship in a C-2 Greyhound transport aircraft and got to experience the rapid deceleration of an arrested landing.

An MH-60S Sea Hawk assigned to the Chargers of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 14 delivers cargo to USS John C. Stennis’ (CVN 74) flight deck during a replenishment-at-sea. — Photo courtesy of the United States Navy.
An MH-60S Sea Hawk assigned to the Chargers of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 14 delivers cargo to USS John C. Stennis’ (CVN 74) flight deck during a replenishment-at-sea. — Photo courtesy of the United States Navy.

According to USS John C. Stennis commanding officer Capt Gregory Huffman, the carrier was on a normal scheduled deployment to the Western Pacific as part of a strike group that includes one cruiser, several destroyers, and about 65 aircraft of varying types.

“When we are in port, we usually open the ship up for tours and bring tour groups on board, but we also bring some groups out here to see our operations because it is more fun to see it out here when we are actually doing things,” said Huffman.

The tour group was given the opportunity to stand on the carrier’s 333m-long flight deck and watch a squadron of F/A-18 Super Hornet fighters rapidly take-off and land in 45-second intervals during their daily airborne operations.

They were also shown around some of the ship’s vital areas, including the navigational bridge, carrier air traffic control centre, flight deck control, and hangar.

1 An F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter aircraft on a fast approach for an arrested landing aboard the USS John C. Stennis.2 Airman Jannesa Fernandez (right) and Aviation Structural Mechanic 3rd Class Mathew Paulson cleaning an F/A-18E Super Hornet assigned to the Tophatters of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 14 on the flight deck of USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74).3 Aviation Structural Mechanic Airman Jenna Mangan (right), from Ft. Lauderdale, and Aviation Structural Mechanic Airman Isaiah Scott (left), from Torrence, Calif., clean ladder lines on USS John C. Stennis’ (CVN 74) flight deck. The average age of sailors working on the flight deck is 21. - Photo courtesy of the United States Navy.4 A portrait of the late Senator John C. Stennis, who was best known for his contribution to the development of the modern US Navy.5 Visitors resting in a lounge room during a tour of the US Navy’s Nimitz-class supercarrier, the USS John C. Stennis.6 Over 20 visitors from the Defence Ministry, corporate guests and members
An F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter aircraft on a fast approach for an arrested landing aboard the USS John C. Stennis.

There was also a small museum aboard that served as a tribute to the late Senator John C. Stennis, who was best known for his contribution to the development of the modern US Navy.

With more than 5,000 sailors working in different roles aboard the ship including medical officers and cooks, the USS John C. Stennis is nothing short of a floating city.

“Tours like this one have been done periodically over the years, and it was part of the regular partnership between the United States and Malaysia,” said US Embassy deputy chief of mission Edgard Kagan.

Visitors resting in a lounge room during a tour of the US Navys Nimitz-class supercarrier, the USS John C. Stennis.
Visitors resting in a lounge room during a tour of the US Navy’s Nimitz-class supercarrier, the USS John C. Stennis.

In addition to joint training exercises with the local defence forces, the US Navy frequently lends its aid for search and rescue missions, disaster relief, as well as community service when they call at port.

The USS John C. Stennis deployed from the United States in January and is scheduled to operate around the South China Sea until August.

The ship has made stops at Guam, South Korea, and Singapore so far, with its next destination being Hong Kong.

Over 20 visitors from the Defence Ministry, corporate guests and members of the media exploring the flight deck of the USS John C. Stennis as part of the tour aboard the Nimitz-class supercarrier in service of the US Navy.
Command Master Chief of Carrier Air Wing Nine Joe Lovelace serves sailors in USS John C. Stennis’ CVN 74) galley as part of John C. Stennis’ Chiefs Mess birthday celebration. The aircraft carrier serves about 18,600 meals a day.
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