John C. Stennis Joins the Norfolk CVN Family

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By Rear Adm. Roy Kelley
Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic

In the fall of 2018, quietly and with a purpose, USS John C. Stennis departed Bremerton, Washington, with little notice and less fanfare… Not an easy task for 100,000 tons of steel. This is the latest example of how the Navy is supporting the National Defense Strategy through dynamic, unpredictable operations.


PACIFIC OCEAN (Feb. 22, 2019) Sailors aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Preble (DDG 88) let out the sound powered phone line during a breakaway after a replenishment-at-sea with the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) in the Pacific Ocean, Feb. 22, 2019. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Bryan Niegel/Released)

Make no mistake, the world’s oceans are the forefront of a new great power competition. As our near-peer competitors and adversaries continue to push agendas predicated on global instability, we will do what we do best – operate as the world’s most maneuverable and lethal maritime force. And, we will do it as the John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group (CSG) has done over the last seven months – anytime, anywhere.

Throughout the Third, Seventh, Fifth, Sixth and Second Fleets, the men and women of this strike group operated impeccably at the forefront, taking the fight to terror groups, securing vital international shipping lanes, and strengthening a global community of allies and partners. The strike group also flexed the Navy’s ability to conduct high-end, complex warfare, participating in the multinational exercise Intrepid Sentinel as well as integrating with the Essex Amphibious Readiness Group, the French Navy flag ship Charles De Gaulle, and the Ronald Reagan and Abraham Lincoln CSGs.


MEDITERRANEAN SEA (April 24, 2019) The aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) steams alongside the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), background, in the Mediterranean Sea, April 24, 2019. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Grant G. Grady/Released)

Proving their ability to operate seamlessly with various platforms across international boundaries, the strike group also continued the Navy’s tradition of aviation dominance. USS John C. Stennis and embarked Carrier Air Wing NINE amassed 23,592 flight hours, including 2282 hours of combat operations that expended more than 250,000 pounds of ordnance. All this while supporting Operations Inherent Resolve and Freedom’s Sentinel.

And as much as I relish highlighting this team’s combat acumen, they also shined as diplomats.  Through five port visits with key allies and a number of multinational engagements, the strike group continued to foster partnerships that will help ensure global security and stability.


RED SEA (April 18, 2019) Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) 2nd Class Christopher Settle, from Columbus, Indiana, directs an EA-18G Growler assigned to Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 133 toward a steam-powered catapult on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) in the Red Sea, April 18, 2019. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Skyler Okerman)

Across most of the world’s oceans and in ever-changing environments, the Sailors of the John C. Stennis CSG displayed an immense amount of courage and focus. They have truly demonstrated the intrinsic value of the Navy’s most important resource – the men and women in our ranks. This includes our dedicated family members whose strength and support are the catalyst for our success. To family and friends, I sincerely thank you for everything you do.

To the strike group Sailors, Bravo Zulu for your exceptional work. To USS John C. Stennis, welcome to your new home!


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John C. Stennis Joins the Norfolk CVN Family

Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month in Afghanistan

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Story by Sgt. Ashley Bell

Photo: A message on sexual assault awareness prevention appears on the back of a T-shirt worn by a participant in the 5K Run/Walk during Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month at Kandahar Airfield in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, April 1, 2013. The goal of Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention is to raise public awareness about sexual violence and to educate communities and individuals on how to prevent sexual violence. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Ashley Bell.

A message on sexual assault awareness prevention appears on the back of a T-shirt worn by a participant in the 5K Run/Walk during Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month at Kandahar Airfield in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, April 1, 2013. The goal of Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention is to raise public awareness about sexual violence and to educate communities and individuals on how to prevent sexual violence. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Ashley Bell.

National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month is observed every April not only among civilians but also in the military. This year at Kandahar Airfield, the month is kicked off with a 5K run/walk in support of Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month.

“I was actually shocked seeing the turnout,” said Senior Airmen Kevin Buettner, a unit victim advocate in the Air Force. “We had approximately 520 people sign up and over 400 people showed up to run.”

Sgt. 1st Class Mark Millare, an equal opportunity adviser and a sexual harassment and assault prevention officer for the Third Infantry Division, said Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month is about driving cultural change and awareness in our Army, the Department of Defense and even the nation.

“It is an opportunity for everyone to continue and renew the fight against sexual assaults,” said Millare. “Bottom line, everyone needs to be aware of this problem and everyone can help prevent this crime. An active bystander is the first step to changing the culture.”

The goal of the program is to raise awareness and promote the prevention of sexual violence through special events and educational awareness. Several events have been scheduled throughout the month of April in observance of Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month.

Millare wanted service members and civilians to know and understand that sexual assaults are preventable.

“Most of the sexual assaults begin as sexual harassment and if we can intervene at this stage, we can succeed,” said Millare. “It will give victims the confidence to report it and avoid tolerating it as a military necessity. It will also send a signal to the perpetrators that these actions are wrong, against policy and will not be tolerated; hopefully it will prevent this individual to continue to do wrong.”

The military services received a total of 3,192 reports of sexual assault during fiscal year 2011. This represents a one percent increase since fiscal year 2010, when there were 3,158 reports of sexual assault.

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Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month in Afghanistan