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    Nimitz Sailors Turned American Idols

    Nimitz Sailor Poses During Photoshoot

    Photo By Petty Officer 3rd Class Christopher R Jahnke | 181029-N-JT254-0049 NAVAL BASE KITSAP-BREMERTON, Wash. (Oct. 29, 2018) Aviation...... read more read more



    Story by Petty Officer 3rd Class Christopher R Jahnke 

    USS Nimitz (CVN 68)   

    The sun begins to rise over the horizon to reveal the assembled masses of people. They flood the area with hopes of achieving greatness. A soft melody fills the air as the gathering softly sing to themselves. The line starts to inch forward and a dull roar begins as their dreams are now within reach.

    This was the sight through the eyes of American Idol hopefuls Aviation Structural Mechanic Airman Maxwell Holmes, from Houston, and Aviation Boatswains Mate (Handling) Airman Simeon Skilling, from Saipan, both assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68). Holmes auditioned in Seattle and Skilling in Boise, Idaho.

    “It’s crazy to think that I’m trying out for American Idol,” said Holmes. “I only started writing music and playing guitar back in 2016 during underways and on deployment. I started playing my songs in front of other Sailors on the mess decks. The response I received from my shipmates was huge and it gave me confidence as a singer/songwriter.”

    Holmes sang and played guitar with Skilling during their time together on Nimitz. Skilling, a musician from a very young age, is used to performing in front of others. This wasn’t Skilling’s first time trying out for American Idol. He tried out back in 2012, but only made it past the first round where he got a blue ticket.

    “My dad told me the show was going to be in Seattle this year,” said Skilling. “Unfortunately, I was on duty when tryouts were taking place. I found out they were going to be in Boise, Idaho, and I drove the next day to try out.”

    While Skilling was on duty, Holmes was trying out for Idol in Seattle. Nimitz hosted a singing contest called “Nimitz Idol” during the 2017 deployment. Holmes would go on to take the crown.

    “The Navy has been a catalyst in my growing as an artist,” said Holmes. “I won Nimitz Idol, which was pretty amazing as the other competing Sailors, like Skilling, were very talented. Then All Hands Magazine produced a music video for The Deployment Song, which was one of my first songs. I never would’ve thought I would be where I’m at right now.”

    Holmes was a Nimitz secret just a couple of months ago, but now he and Skilling are vying for the chance to be nationally known.

    “I discovered Holmes received a golden ticket while on my way to Boise,” said Skilling. “I was happy for him because he’s come such a long way as an artist. I really wanted to make it this time. I just thought about how awesome it would be for him and I to both make it onto the show. I was only a couple of auditions away from attaining my dream.”

    Skilling and Holmes each held a golden ticket and waited for the news to see if they would be continuing their dream on American Idol. After a couple of weeks, Skilling was not called back, and his quest ended there. Holmes, on the other hand, received a call from the producers. They wanted him to sing in front of the celebrity judges.

    “It’s really rewarding because I put everything I have into my music,” said Holmes. “Now I’ll be singing my songs in front of Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, and Luke Bryan. This has been the greatest experience I’ve had. I’m just honored to be able to continue my dream of being an artist. No matter what happens, I know I wouldn’t have been able to do what I’ve done without the support of Nimitz and the Navy.”

    When the lights go out on the stage and the audience leaves, one thing will remain. Holmes and Skilling will return to Nimitz as stars, having achieved something that a few in the military can claim. As for Holmes, he gets another audition and chance to further his dream as an artist, and continue his quest on American Idol.



    Date Taken: 10.25.2018
    Date Posted: 11.01.2018 15:02
    Story ID: 298521
    Location: BREMERTON, WA, US 

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