USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69)

USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69)

USS "Dwight D. Eisenhower" (CVN-69), nicknamed "Ike", is the second of 10 "Nimitz"-class supercarriers in the United States Navy, named after the thirty-fourth President of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower. Originally, she was named "Eisenhower", much like her sister, "Nimitz". On 25 May 1970, the name was lengthened to "Dwight D. Eisenhower". On commissioning, "Ike" replaced the aged World War II-era carrier USS|Franklin D. Roosevelt|CV-42|6 in the fleet.

Construction

On 29 June 1970, Newport News Shipbuilding of Newport News, Virginia was awarded the contract for construction. On 30 June 1975, her designation was changed from CVAN-69 to CVN-69.

She was laid down as hull number 599 on 15 August 1970 at Newport News shipyard at a cost of $679 million ($4.5 billion in 2007 dollars), launched 11 October 1975 after christening by Mamie Doud-Eisenhower, and commissioned 18 October 1977, Captain William E. Ramsey in command. Ramsey was later promoted to Rear Admiral after commanding the Ike. Since her commissioning, Ike has had 13 Commanding Officers.

Early deployments

"Ike" was initially assigned to the U.S. Atlantic Fleet, and after receiving over a year of training, in Spring of 1978 the Ike was visited by President Jimmy Carter who hit a golf ball off the flight deck into the Atlantic Ocean. In January 1979 the Ike sailed for her first deployment to the Mediterranean Sea . During this deployment, while off the coast of Israel, Israeli Prime Minister Manachem Begin visited the Ike and was given an "air show" demonstrating the Eisenhower's superior aircraft capabilities and firepower. She returned to Norfolk Naval Station in July of the same year. Under the command of her second Commanding Officer, Captain James H. Mauldin, her second deployment occurred in 1980, when she was dispatched by President Carter to the Indian Ocean, in response to the Iran hostage crisis. She relieved the USS "Nimitz" 3 days after the Iranian hostage rescue attempt.

As a result of the tensions in the area, "Ike" stayed on station off the coast of Iran for over 8 months, and was at sea for a total of 254 days. During that period, Sailors and Marines enjoyed 2 beers (1 time) after 45 days without a port call. The term applied to this is called "splicing the main brace." As a result of being at sea for 154 days, they subsequently enjoyed this on two more occasions. This was the first legal consumption of alcohol by US Sailors while underway aboard a US Navy vessel in decades.

Sailors on the Ike affectionately dubbed the areas they patrolled in the Indian Ocean as "Gonzo" and "Kermit" station, after the popular Muppets characters. At one point, she spent 152 days (or 5½ months) at sea without a port call, a new record. She was relieved by the USS "Independence". She returned home to Norfolk on 22 December 1980, just in time for her airwing and crew to celebrate Christmas with their families. 29 days after Ike's return home, the hostages were freed. In total, she has completed eight deployments, including two to the Indian Ocean in 1980 and 1991.

For over 20 years, she held the record for the longest peacetime deployment for an aircraft carrier in history. Prior to this, her sister ship, the USS Nimitz, was the previous record holder. Eisenhower's record was broken by another of her "sister ships," the USS "Theodore Roosevelt".

On her third deployment in 1982, she returned to the Mediterranean Sea, and spent a number of days at sea once again. Her new Commanding Officer was Captain E.W. Clexton, who was formerly her Executive Officer several years earlier under Captain W.E. Ramsey.

Overhaul and subsequent deployments

After her fourth deployment "Ike" went into Newport News and Drydock in October 1985 for a major overhaul. The 18-month yard period included the addition of the Close-in Weapons System, NATO Sea Sparrow Missile System, Naval Tactical Data System, anti-submarine warfare module, communications upgrades and rehabilitation of 1,831 berths in 25 compartments. "Ike" re-entered the fleet in April 1987.

During workup cruises in the fall of 1987, Ike stopped for liberty in Caracas, Venezuela, St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands, and Montego Bay, Jamaica.

On 29 February 1988, "Ike" started her fifth deployment to the Mediterranean. She stopped for liberty in Palma De Mallorca, Spain; Toulon, France; Marseille, France; Cannes, France; Naples, Italy; Livorno, Italy; Sigonella, Sicily, Italy; Antalya, Turkey; and Haifa, Israel. While returning to Norfolk, on 29 August 1988, she collided with an anchored Spanish coal ship while entering the harbor to dock at Norfolk Naval Station when wind and currents pushed the carrier off course. Damage was minor to both ships. The commanding officer, Captain Gary Beck was relieved of duty a month later.

"Ike" entered Norfolk Naval Shipyard (Portsmouth, VA) in September 1988, she returned to the fleet in April 1989. During two of the work-up cruises in Fall 1989, "Ike" stopped for liberty in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

In 1990, "Ike" completed her sixth Mediterranean deployment. The deployment became a commemorative event in the worldwide 'Dwight D. Eisenhower Centennial,' celebrating the 100th anniversary of the late president's birth. During D-Day anniversary ceremonies off the coast of Normandy, President Eisenhower's son John Eisenhower and D-Day veterans embarked in the ship, while Carrier Air Wing Seven conducted a memorial flyover of the American cemetery at Omaha Beach.

Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm

In response to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, "Ike" became the first carrier to conduct sustained operations in the Red Sea, and only the second nuclear-powered aircraft carrier ever to transit the Suez Canal. "Ike" served as a ready striking force in the event Iraq invaded Saudi Arabia, and participated in maritime interception operations in support of a United Nations embargo against Iraq.

After completion of an extensive shipyard period and work ups, "Ike" deployed 26 September 1991 to the Persian Gulf to continue multi-national operations with coalition forces in support of Operation Desert Storm. "Ike" returned to Norfolk 2 April 1992, and on 12 January 1993, entered Norfolk Naval Shipyard for overhaul and conversion, returning to the fleet 12 November 1993.

Deployment to Haiti

In September 1994, "Ike" and elements of the U.S. 10th Mountain Division first tested the concept of adaptive force packaging. The division's soldiers and equipment were loaded on board, and the "Ike" Army/Navy team headed for Port-au-Prince to lead Operation Uphold Democracy, the U.S.-led effort to restore the elected government of Haiti.

One month later, in October 1994, "Ike" departed for a six-month deployment which included flying missions in support of Operation Southern Watch and Operation Deny Flight. This deployment marked the first time that women had deployed as crew members of a U.S. Navy combatant. "Ike", Carrier Wing Three, and COMCRUDESGRU Eight team included more than 400 women.

1995 Refit

"Ike" returned to Newport News Shipbuilding on 17 July 1995 for an 18-month complex overhaul which was completed on 27 January 1997. The ship departed on her 10th deployment on 10 June 1998 and returned in December. In February 1999, "Ike" returned to the Norfolk Navy Shipyard for a six-month refitting and returned to the fleet in June. Upon completion in June 1999, she returned to full duty in the fleet.

Further service in the Persian Gulf

Deploying in February 2000 and returning that August on the "Millennium Cruise," for the first time "Ike's" embarked aircraft dropped ordance in combat while supporting Operation Southern Watch's No-Fly Zone over Iraq. "Ike" returned on 18 August.

2001 Refueling Complex overhaul(RCOH)

On 21 May 2001, the Ike returned to Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company(NNS&DDC) to begin a 4 year, $2.5 billion overhaul. As well as replacing her two nuclear reactors with new cores, "Eisenhower" underwent complex renovations and major technological upgrades during its scheduled half-life overhaul. On 25 January 2005, "Ike" left NNS&DDC under tow, and returned to Norfolk Naval Station, and the fleet. The modernizations are expected to extend the ship's service life well beyond 2025.

2006-2007 Persian Gulf / Indian Ocean Deployment

On 3 October 2006 with Carrier Air Wing 7 (CVW-7), "Eisenhower" returned to sea as the flagship of Rear Admiral Allen G. Myers, commanding Carrier Strike Group 8. CSG-8 also includes the guided-missile cruiser USS "Anzio" (CG-68), guided-missile destroyers "Ramage" (DDG-61) and "Mason" (DDG-87), and the fast-attack submarine "Newport News" (SSN-750). [cite news| url=http://home.hamptonroads.com/stories/story.cfm?story=111767&ran=211308| title=Overhauled Eisenhower prepares for deployment after six years off| first=Jack| last=Dorsey| publisher=The Virginian-Pilot| date=28 September 2006| accessdate=2006-10-13] She visited Naples, Italy and then Limassol, Cyprus for three days in October 2006 before departing to the east. "Ike" entered the Persian Gulf in December 2006. [ [http://bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=aB9F0Hlr.fLA Bloomberg News] ]

On 8 January 2007, a US AC-130 gunship based out of Djibouti was dispatched to target Al-Qaeda operatives located in Somalia. The USS "Dwight D. Eisenhower" "was deployed in the Indian Ocean to provide air cover for the operation and, if needed, to evacuate downed airmen and other casualties."cite news
title=U.S. Strike in Somalia Targets Al-Qaeda Figure
publisher=Washington Post
date=2007-01-08
url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/08/AR2007010801822.html
accessdate=2007-01-08
] It joined other US and allied vessels from Bahrain-based Combined Task Force 150cite news
title =Navy tries to block fleeing jihadists from Somalia
publisher =Air Force Times, Staff and wire reports
date =2007-01-03
url =http://www.airforcetimes.com/story.php?f=1-292925-2458956.php
accessdate = 2007-01-04
] The US spokesperson did not say what particular ships comprised the cordon, but the task force includes vessels from Canada, France, Germany, Pakistan, the UK and the US. US ships of Combined Task Force 150 include the "Arleigh Burke"-class destroyer USS "Ramage" (DDG-61) and the "Ticonderoga"-class cruiser USS "Bunker Hill" (CG-52).cite news
title =Ramage, Bunker Hill keeping an eye on Somalia
publisher =MarineTimes.com
date =2007-01-04
url =http://www.marinetimes.com/story.php?f=1-292925-2461109.php
accessdate = 2007-01-04
] The aim of the patrols is to "... stop SICC leaders or foreign militant supporters escaping" Somalia. [cite news|title=Ethiopian troops to stay in Somalia weeks |date=2 January 2007 |publisher=Reuters |url=http://today.reuters.com/news/articlenews.aspx?type=worldNews&storyID=2007-01-02T122054Z_01_L28741526_RTRUKOC_0_US-SOMALIA-CONFLICT.xml&pageNumber=0&imageid=&c
]

In March 2007, following the Iranian seizure of Royal Navy personnel, "Eisenhower" began battle group exercises off the Iranian coastline.In April 2007, the USS "Eisenhower" was relieved by the USS "Nimitz", who will assume the air support missions in the Iraqi theater. cite news
title =Tensions High in Persian Gulf Over British Captives
publisher =ABCNews.com
date =2007-03-29
url =http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=2991157
accessdate = 2007-03-29
]

In May 2007, she was seen near the city of Lisbon in Portugal. A total of 70 sailors were involved in charitable work. The volunteer projects were organized by the US Embassy in Lisbon.

2008

On October 4, 2008 an "Eisenhower" sailor was killed on the ship during training exercises off the coast of North Carolina. The unnamed sailor was killed after being struck by an airplane at 8:15 p.m. on the carrier's flight deck. [Washington, Jim, "Sailor On Board Eisenhower Killed During Training", "Norfolk Virginian-Pilot", October 5, 2008]

Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group

The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower is part of Carrier Strike Group 8 (CSG-8) with Carrier Air Wing 7 embarked, with the Ike as the flagship of the battle group and is the home of the commander of Destroyer Squadron 28.

hips of DESRON-28

*
*
*
*
*
*

quadrons of CVW-7

* Strike Fighter Squadron 103 (VFA-103) "Jolly Rogers"
* Strike Fighter Squadron 143 (VFA-143) "Pukin’ Dogs"
* Strike Fighter Squadron 131 (VFA-131)"Wildcats"
* Strike Fighter Squadron 83 (VFA-83) "Rampagers"
* Electronic Attack Squadron 140 (VAQ-140) "Patriots"
* Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 121 (VAW-121)"Bluetails"
* Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron 5 (HS-5) "Nightdippers"
* Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 40 (VRC-40)"Rawhides"

Awards

"Ike" has earned a number of awards, including the Battle "E" in 1979, 1980, 1985, 1990, 1991, 1998, 1999 and 2006 as the most battle efficient carrier in the Atlantic Fleet. In 1999, she won the Marjorie Sterrett Battleship Fund Award for the Atlantic Fleet. She was awarded The Navy and Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal (1980), the Meritorious Unit Commendation (1990, 1992, 1995, 2001) and the Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon (1980, 1983). "Ike" also won the Atlantic Fleet Retention Excellence Award (aka the Golden Anchor Award) in 1999.

See also

* "Nimitz"-class aircraft carrier for general specifications
* List of aircraft carriers
* List of aircraft carriers of the United States Navy

References

External links

* [http://www.eisenhower.navy.mil "USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Official Site"]
* [http://www.janes.com/defence/news/jni/jni070110_1_n.shtml Eisenhower bolsters US security presence off Somalia] Jane's Navy International, January 2007
* [http://www.ikebites.com "Dwight D. Eisenhower Sea Stories" home page]
* [http://www.cvn69.com "Dwight D. Eisenhower Reunion -2008" home page]
* [http://www.navysite.de/cvn/cvn69.html "USS Dwight D. Eisenhower" webpage]
* [http://www.maritimequest.com/warship_directory/us_navy_pages/aircraft_carriers/uss_dwight_d_eisenhower_cvn_69_page_1.htm Maritimequest USS Dwight D. Eisenhower CVN-69 Photo Gallery]
* [http://www.uscarriers.net/cvn69history.htm USS Dwight D. Eisenhower history at U.S. Carriers]


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