The USS John C. Stennis is the fifth in the line of 10 Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carriers in service with the United States Navy. The Stennis provides a powerful air arm and limitless range making it a prime operator in US military global operations and can be called upon to accomplish a variety of military and political tasks as needed - either in the offensive, defense or deterrent role. As of this writing, the USS John C. Stennis is in active service with the United States Navy.
Layout and arrangement of the John C. Stennis follows basic Nimitz-class design. The island superstructure sits starboard while an angled starboard-to-port flight deck dominates the port side. A straight flight deck is featured up to the bow and four steam-powered catapults power aircraft into the air from the two forward straight decks and two from the angled deck. Four hangar elevators service the flight deck. Self-defense is provided by 2 x Mk 57 Mod3 Sea Sparrow surface-to-air missile launchers, 2 x RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile missile launchers (RAM) and close anti-aircraft / anti-missile support provided by the three Mk 15 20mm Phalanx Close-In Weapon System(s) (CIWS). Her offensive arm is dominated by the various 90 or so aircraft types that she can put into the sky including fighter-bombers, anti-submarine and anti-ship elements to go along with interceptor and transport capabilities.
The John C. Stennis is a nuclear-powered vessel which, in essence, means that the vessel has unlimited range or range limited only by her reactor cores. She is powered by twin Westinghouse-brand A4W series reactors and 4 x steam powered turbines. These turn four large shafts at a rate of 260,000 shaft horsepower. A top speed of over 30 knots can be attained in ideal conditions. Her living quarters can support over 5,600 personnel including a large portion made up of the air wing. In all respects, the Stennis and her sister Nimitz-class ships are comparable to a small floating city.
The Stennis received her first deployment orders in 1998 which saw her land in the Persian Gulf, enforcing the no-fly zone over Iraq. In 1999, USS John C. Stennis took to her sea trials and was back serving in the Persian Gulf by 2000, once again enforcing the no-fly zone in Iraq. Her next call to action was in serving against forces in Afghanistan a month following the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001. She concluded her operations there the following year and returned to the US. 2004 through 2005 saw various port stops, training exercises and goodwill visits. In 2007, the Stennis was back in service in the Persian Gulf returning to home port in August of that year.
The USS John C. Stennis was laid down in 1991 by Newport News Shipbuilding Company and launched in 1993. She was officially commissioned in 1995 and makes her homeport in Bremerton, Washington. The vessel and her crew fight under the motto of "Look Ahead" and the ship has taken on the affectionate nickname of "Johnny Reb". The Stennis is named after US Senator John C. Stennis (d.1995) whose work in the Senate covered some 40 plus years of service.