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USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74)

Ship's Namesake

​​Senator John C. Stennis​ Portrait Image

Senator John Cornelius Stennis​ served in the United States Senate for 41 years. Born to a farmer in one of the poorest counties in the poorest state, Stennis’ sense of personal responsibility and strong work ethic lead him to become President Pro Tempore, third in line of succession to the presidency.

Stennis stood firm for U.S. military superiority. A strong Navy, second to none, always topped his agenda. This steadfast support led Stennis to earn the moniker, “Father of America’s modern Navy.” He is the only senator namesake of a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.

When announcing the ship would be named after Stennis, then-President Ronald Reagan said, “Senator, when I consider your career, there is a certain comparison that comes to mind. In troubled places, you’ve brought calm resolve, like one of the great fighting ships you’ve done so much to obtain for the Navy; serene, self-possessed but like a great ship of the line, possessed of a high sense of purpose.”

In Washington, Stennis had a sign on his desk that represented a part of his personal philosophy. It read “Look Ahead.” As this great ship plies the oceans of the world to ensure peace, it carries the name of a man who did, indeed “look ahead” for the sake of his country.

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