Adm. Harry Harris, Jr., commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, visited the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard (PSNS), May 19.
During his visit the admiral met with Stennis leadership, toured the ship and conducted an all-hands call where he stressed the importance of carrier operations at sea.
“The reason we have aircraft carriers is to ensure stability in the maritime environment,” said Harris. “When something bad happens, our national leadership wants to know where the carriers are.”
He also discussed the importance of the U.S. Navy’s rebalance to the Pacific.
“Approximately 52 percent of our Navy is in the Pacific,” said Harris. “By 2020, that number will become 60 percent. That will include over half of our aircraft carriers.”
The event, which allowed Harris to observe Stennis’ progress during its Docking Planned Incremental Availability (DPIA) period, marks the first time he has visited the ship since assuming command of Pacific Fleet Oct. 16.
“The teamwork here between Sailors and shipyard workers serves as a model to the rest of the fleet,” said Harris.
Many Sailors voiced their appreciation that the admiral took the time out of his schedule to visit with the crew.
“It means a lot to [Stennis Sailors] to not only meet but also be able to speak with people at his level of leadership,” said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class Jason McClosky, from Cape May, N.J.
Stennis is currently undergoing a DPIA maintenance period at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility.
Press Release, May 20, 2014; Image: US Navy