Alexandria Native Serves aboard a Floating Airport at Sea

Anthony Reyes is a T.C. Williams graduate, Class of 2016. Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class David Wyscaver

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jackson Brown, Navy Office of Community Outreach

Seaman Anthony Reyes, an Alexandria native and 2016 T.C. Williams High School graduate, is a culinary specialist serving aboard the carrier USS John C. Stennis, a floating airport at sea. A Navy culinary specialist is responsible for cooking food for the ship’s crew and maintaining the mess decks. Reyes works in the wardroom, or officers’ mess.

“We come in early to prepare all of our meals for the wardroom,” said Reyes. “For the wardroom, we make everything from scratch, and the level of preparation and quality control we have is incredible.”

Approximately 3,200 men and women make up the crew of John C. Stennis, with an additional 2,000 sailors assigned to the ship’s embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing 9.

Named in honor of former Senator John C. Stennis from Mississippi, the carrier is longer than three football fields, measuring nearly 1,100 feet. The ship, a true floating city, weighs more than 100,000 tons and has a flight deck that is 252 feet wide.

When the air wing is embarked, the ship carries more than 70 attack jets, helicopters and other aircraft, all of which take off from and land aboard the carrier at sea.

Reyes combines the lessons learned from both the Navy and Alexandria to take personal responsibility in performing assigned tasks and leading others. “I learned the value of the advice from people that have been in my shoes before,” said Reyes. “Being able to listen is something I’ve taken into the Navy.”

“Serving in the Navy brings me a great amount of pride, and it’s given me the opportunity to live my dream,” said Reyes. “I know there are hard days, but I’m in such a better place because of the Navy.”