USS JOHN C. STENNIS, At Sea (NNS) -- The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff visited the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) Dec. 13 as part of a USO Holiday Tour.
Gen. Martin Dempsey met with Stennis leadership, observed daily operations, and addressed the crew during an all-hands call in the hangar bay about the importance of Stennis' presence in the Arabian Gulf.
"It was a distinct privilege to bring the USO Holiday Tour to the John C. Stennis Sailors," said Dempsey. "All of the entertainers joined me in saying thank you to the Sailors of Stennis for their magnificent service and sacrifice for our nation. We are proud of these great Sailors and their families today, through the holidays and always."
The USO holiday show featured six-time USO performer and country singer Kellie Pickler, comedian Ilizia Shlesinger, Washington Nationals pitchers Ross Detwiler and Craig Stammen, and Washington Capitals forward Matt Hendricks.
Aerographer's Mate 2nd Class Kristen Leonhardt, from Huntington, Ind. said the visit was positive reinforcement from senior military leadership about the significance of Stennis' mission in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations.
"It reminded me that my service is important and of how proud I am to serve," said Leonhardt.
After the performance, Sailors had a chance to meet with Dempsey and the entertainers in the hangar bays and aft mess decks.
"It was great to see the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff take time out of his busy schedule to come see us," said Master-at-Arms 1st Class Brandon Weant from Vancouver, Wash.
The John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group, consisting of Stennis, Carrier Air Wing 9, Destroyer Squadron 21, and guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53) are forward deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations to strengthen regional partnerships, sustain maritime security, and support combatant commander requirements for assets in the area.
For more news from USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn74/.