USS CARL VINSON, At Sea (NNS) -- Sailors on board USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17 welcomed members from the National Cartoonists Society Sept. 18-19 as part of a 'Humor Tour' and Navy Operational Stress Control project to visit service members along the West Coast.
Patrick Hrabe, the creator of the web series "Hey, Shipwreck," and founder of Tube Daze Productions; Mike Rote, a staff artist with Bongo Comics Group which creates comics based on "The Simpsons" and "Futurama"; Gary McCoy, an award-winning comic artist whose work has appeared in American Greetings greeting cards and "Parade" and "Playboy" magazines; Stephen Silver, main art director for cartoons such as Disney Channel's "Kim Possible" and Cartoon Network's "Danny Phantom"; and Greg Evans, creator of longtime newspaper cartoon, "Luann", visited Vinson for the last stop of their tour during the ship's underway operations off the coast of California.
"These [artists] love what they are doing," said retired Senior Chief Journalist Karen Suich, a Navy Personnel Command representative accompanying the tour. "They are giving up their time and money to come out and show their support for today's service members. It really is amazing."
The artists have visited physical therapy patients at Naval Medical Center in San Diego, a Wounded Warrior Battalion in Camp Pendleton, Calif., Fisher House at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu, Soldier and Family Assistance Center in Schofield Barracks in Honolulu and a Wounded Warrior Battalion West at Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.
"These Sailors, Soldiers and Marines need to know that humor can still be a part of their lives and future, even though life might not seem to offer them much humor at the present time," added Suich. This is Silver's third time touring and meeting service members.
"We all just love being here and doing this. Bringing joy to service members and their families is humbling for us and it's an easy way to give back," said Silver.
"Being on this ship is surreal. You see the news and you see what the Navy is doing, but you never get to see it in person. It's so great to put smiles on faces."
Evans advised service members in attendance to, "follow your passion! If you like to draw, just keep drawing." Evans has been creating new comics for Luann, a misunderstood teenage girl, for more than 26 years.
Evans praised his experience with Vinson Sailors.
"The quality of service and seriousness of doing your jobs is astounding to me," he said. "You are all around the age of 20, it's truly impressive."
Hull Maintenance Technician Fireman Bridget Carroll shared her appreciation for the artists' visit.
"It's a great service, what they are doing," said Carroll. "We don't really get to see how much people appreciate us, so it's really nice to see them here, doing what they are doing."
Carl Vinson and CVW 17 are conducting underway operations off the coast of Southern California.
For more news from USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn70/.