main story image for facebook sharing

Focus on Service

A Crew's Book

One Sailor puts the art back into documentation

For centuries, Sailors have documented their travels. From decorating sea shells and sea chests, to tattoos decorating human chests, Sailors have found a way to recall their ports of call.

In the late 19th century Sailors began making cruise books. However, when MC1 Marcus Stanley checked onboard USS Chung-Hoon and was tasked with developing a cruise book, he was discouraged.

"When I made my first deployment, that cruise book didn't seem to have a lot of importance to many of the Sailors or the MCs who were tasked to put it together, me included," said Stanley. "It was mostly thrown together at the last minute."

So Stanley made a decision. He would not put together just a cruise book, but instead a crew's book. What resulted was a clearly thought out, planned and organized book that had the whole crew excited about owning it.

Once I told myself I was going to do the cruise book, I talked with another Sailor onboard, Yeoman 1st Class Rickey Streeter, and he and I started brainstorming," -MC1 Marcus Stanley

Cruise book page layout of DDG 93 USS Chung-Hoon.

"It was certain that I would be over all the photography and layout and he would do all the coordination with the Sailors on the ship and the coordination of printing with the cruise book company," said Stanley.

Chung-Hoon is a DDG, and DDG's are very unique, said Stanley. With just above 300 Sailors, Stanley was able to offer every division the opportunity to come up with an idea for their portraits. However, pages were limited, so when he couldn't offer a sailor a specialized photo for the book, he would provide them with a special portrait for their own use.

"Even though I wanted to give all my time to the cruise book, I had to fulfill my operational obligations first, so it took me approximately five months to complete the entire book," said Stanley."

The feedback Stanley has garnered from the book has been absolutely amazing, he said. The Chung-Hoon Sailors love what he has done and that is what matters most to him because it's a capsule of the crew and the work they have done, said Stanley.
Three photo collage (L-R) showing portraits of Sailors on USS Chung-Hoon by MC1 Marcus Stanley.

"I've gotten a lot of feedback from the MC community," said Stanley. "Some MCs have told me they are using my work to train their MCs and that's what it's all about. I hope my work inspires other MCs to create, because honestly I'm just having fun doing what I love to do."

"Most Sailors aboard Chung-Hoon had never met an MC before they met me, and I wanted to show them just how unique my rate is and give them a memento that they would want to show their family and friends," said Stanley. "The ability to have a personalized running history on a social media site seems to be the way to go today, and I believe those sites weaken the idea of the cruise book with Sailors. The way I wanted to defeat that idea was to give the Sailors something meaningful; something that they wouldn't want to get lost amid all the clutter of social media."

Through the help of Chung-Hoon Morale Welfare and Recreation (MWR) program, Stanley was able to get the cost of the book down to only $34 per Sailor.

Getting the commanding officer to give him total creative freedom was a bit more difficult.

"I was able to convince the CO to let me go for it after proving my skills, by doing the operational requirements during workups before deployment," said Stanley. "After gaining his trust, he only wanted to know if it was too much work for me. I think He and I both knew a cruise book would be a great reward for the Sailors on the ship. Some days, I would photograph a division and get the talk going around the ship and the CO would hear about it. He'd often pop into my workspace and say he heard about a certain portrait and he'd want to see it. The portraits became a morale booster of sorts."
Cruise book page layout and biography of Commander Tom Ogden, USS Chung-Hoon commanding officer.

Stanley got the crew onboard by showing the crew that he was capable of posting photos around the ship and on social media. Once the crew knew there would be an MC onboard, and they were familiar with the type of photos he was capable of capturing, he said it was easy to convince them not only that a cruise book was necessary, but that they wanted to be part of it.

The best thing compliment I got came from a chief. After looking at pages while I was editing his division's page, he said, 'In all my years in the Navy, I've never bought a cruisebook, but I'm definitely buying this one.'" - MC1 Marcus Stanley