Families, friends join Stennis sailors for ‘tiger cruise’
By DENISSE RAUDA | STARS AND STRIPES Published: August 11, 2016
Sailors’ loved ones got a taste of Navy life this week while sailing the high seas from Hawaii to Southern California with the USS John C. Stennis carrier strike group.
More than 1,100 guests boarded the aircraft carrier Aug. 5 at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam for a “tiger cruise,” a Navy statement said. The five-day cruise, which pulled into Naval Air Station North Island, San Diego on Wednesday, gave sailors a chance to share their life at sea with family and friends.
Brian Langley, who comes from a Navy family but didn’t serve, said the cruise was a way to see what his son, Seaman Apprentice Jason Langley, and other relatives experience.
“It’s pretty crazy. It’s different from where I live and work,” he said in the statement. “It’s neat though, especially from my point of view. It isn’t something I can see every day.”
The “tigers,” as cruise participants are called, got to tour the carrier and watch a Carrier Air Wing 9 air show and demonstrations from various shipboard departments, the statement said. There was also live entertainment provided by Morale, Welfare and Recreation.
Another experience the tigers had: going off the grid. Guests had to keep cellphones on airplane mode and did not have access to computers on the ship. While an adjustment to being phoneless may have been needed, the cruise was about more than checking Facebook or posting to Instagram.
“It’s an opportunity to see what the Navy does,” said Chris Cation, the Stennis’ MWR director. “As major of an asset as John C. Stennis is, [the tigers] get the opportunity to come aboard and see firsthand what they normally can only see on the news.”
The strike group will host another cruise this week from San Diego to its homeport in Bremerton, Wash., Senior Chief Jason Morris of the ship’s public affairs department said in an email.
Stennis is wrapping up a seven-month Pacific deployment that included 60 days patrolling the South China Sea. The strike group — which took part in Balikatan, Komodo, Foal Eagle, Malibar and Rim of the Pacific exercises — also conducted dual operations with the USS Ronald Reagan, during which both carriers worked in concert with one another, conducting coordinated flight operations.
Sailors and their loved ones participating in a tiger cruise prepare to man the rails aboard the USS John C. Stennis as the aircraft carrier departs Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, Aug. 5, 2016. The five-day cruise, which arrived at its destination Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2016, gave sailors a chance to share their life on an aircraft carrier with family and friends.
COLE PIELOP/U.S. NAVY