NEWPORT NEWS, Va (NNS) -- Sailors aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) are preserving Navy heritage and celebrating the crew's diversity through music this March, utilizing the talents of Sailors assigned to the ship's Blue Jacket choir.
The aircraft carrier formed a choir group in October 2007 to celebrate the Navy's birthday, but have since expanded their opportunities to support Navy heritage events and diversity themed observances such as the ship's recent Black History Month celebration.
Yeoman 2nd Class (SW/AW) Melissa Lipscomb, who helped organize the ship's choir, said there was a real need for musical support for ceremonies and events held on board.
"The ship needed a choir for command ceremonies, so we formed a seven-person group to sing," said Lipscomb, who leads Carl Vinson's choir. "Our performance sparked a lot of interest around the ship, so we continue to stay involved in command-sponsored events. People really connect to heritage and history through music."
But according to Lipscomb, music is also spiritual. She began singing as a child for her church choir. Lipscomb grew up with music and it remained with her as she pursued a career in the Navy.
With her efforts in organizing and leading the ship's choir, Lipscomb now has the opportunity to share her love of music by providing uplifting and inspiring performances for "Gold Eagle" Sailors.
"Music is my second life," Lipscomb said. "It is so essential to me, almost like breathing."
For Carl Vinson choir members, singing enables them to hone their musical skills while communicating a positive message for the Navy.
"In the military, our professional gifts go beyond our job skills," said Lipscomb. "The choir allows Sailors to demonstrate our talents and bring more appreciation to the role of music."
Because of the choir's success and popularity with Carl Vinson's crew, they are expanding their horizons.
"We will also start singing at the ship's weekly worship services," said Lipscomb, who noted the choir is proficient in traditional hymns.
Lipscomb is not the only Carl Vinson crew member with a passion for music. Sailors continue to volunteer to become part of the ship's choir. In fact, the group has doubled its size to 15 members since its initial performance.
"After our first official performance we really started coming together," said Yeoman 3rd Class Allen Taylor, the assistant choir director. "We continue to expand our horizons and generate more interest."
Carl Vinson is currently undergoing its scheduled refueling complex overhaul (RCOH) at Northrop Grumman Newport News shipyard. The RCOH is an extensive yard period that all Nimitz-class aircraft carriers go through near the mid-point of their 50-year life cycle.
During RCOH, Carl Vinson's nuclear fuel will be replenished and the ship's services and infrastructure will be upgraded to make her the most state-of-the-art aircraft carrier in the fleet and prepare for another 25 years or more of service.
For more news from USS Carl Vinson, visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn70/.