Name: Chris CationAge: 51Title: “Resident Fun Boss,” Morale, Welfare and Recreation director aboard the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis
OK, on a carrier there’s so much else going on, people mainly get wrapped up in flight operations and stories of war from the sea. What do you do? I’ve got the greatest job out here. It’s my job to bring fun to the ship, to bring morale to the ship. It’s important that these guys and girls have an outlet, something entertaining to keep them motivated.
How long have you been doing it? I’ve been at it for 6 years. I was on the [aircraft carrier USS] Carl Vinson prior to coming here.
What type of person is the “fun boss?” You have to be pretty outgoing and pretty creative. You have to have a sailor’s mentality to do the job. And you have to be patient. And for me, there is never a “no” answer in my job. I don’t like telling people, “No, you can’t have this” or “No, you can’t have that.”
Really? Can I have $1 million? Everything’s a yes, but within reason, of course. But I’ll get back to you on that.
Ever serve in the military? I’m a former sailor. Served 22 years.
What kind of entertainment is provided for the 5,000 or so sailors and Marines on board? We try to provide a little something for everyone. We’ve got DVD movies, Xbox games — well, those are the most popular. We’ve got books for them to read. Sometimes, we transform the hangar bay into a full-court basketball court. Sometimes, I try to think of something off the wall. Once, [I] hosted a macaroni and cheese sculpting contest, and the other day we had a dodge ball game. The XO (executive officer) was a pretty popular target.
I’m sorry, could you back up a second? A macaroni and cheese sculpting contest? I try to shake things up. Be creative. Catch people off guard. It makes things more interesting for them. At first, people had the same reaction. A what!? But they really got into it. It turned out to be real fun and real competitive. It threw everyone off, but they ended up having a really good time. We’ve also had a contest called “pimp my office,” (based on the MTV show “Pimp My Ride” in which programmers overhaul someone’s beat up vehicle). We send out teams who redo someone’s office, within reason. They can’t be vulgar or anything, and the most creative wins a prize.
Interview by Sandra Jontz.
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