USS Dwight D. Eisenhower
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USS Dwight D. Eisenhower with USS George Washington in the Indian Ocean
|Namesake:||Dwight D. Eisenhower|
|Builder:||Newport News Shipbuilding|
|Cost:||$5.2 billion (2016 dollars)|
|Laid down:||15 August 1970|
|Launched:||11 October 1975|
|Sponsored by:||Mamie Doud-Eisenhower|
|Commissioned:||18 October 1977|
|Homeport:||NS Norfolk, Virginia|
|Motto:||I Like Ike or Greater Each Day|
|Nickname(s):||Mighty Ike or Ike|
|Status:||in active service|
|Class and type:||Nimitz-class aircraft carrier|
|Displacement:||101,600 long tons (113,800 short tons)|
|Height:||244 feet (74 m)|
|Speed:||30+ knots (56+ km/h; 35+ mph)|
|Range:||Unlimited distance; 20–25 years|
|Sensors and |
|Electronic warfare |
|Aircraft carried:||90 fixed wing and helicopters|
USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) (known informally as "Ike") is a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier currently in service with the United States Navy. Commissioned in 1977, the ship is the second of the ten Nimitz-class aircraft carriers currently in service, and is the first ship named after the 34th President of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower. The vessel was initially named simply as USS Eisenhower, much like the lead ship of the class, Nimitz, but the name was changed to its present form on 25 May 1970. The carrier, like all others of her class, was constructed at Newport News Shipbuilding Company in Virginia, with the same design as the lead ship, although the ship has been overhauled twice to bring her up to the standards of those constructed more recently.
Since commissioning, Dwight D. Eisenhower has participated in deployments including Operation Eagle Claw during the Iran hostage crisis in 1980, as well as the Gulf War in the 1990s, and more recently in support of U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The carrier currently serves as the flagship of Carrier Strike Group 10.
Design and construction
On 29 June 1970, then-Northrop Grumman Newport News 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 2016 dollars), launched 11 October 1975 after christening by Mamie Doud-Eisenhower, and commissioned 18 October 1977, Captain William E. Ramsey in command. On commissioning, she replaced the aging World War II–era carrier USS Franklin D. Roosevelt in the fleet.
Dwight D. Eisenhower was initially assigned to the United States Atlantic Fleet, and, after receiving over a year of training, the ship was visited by President Jimmy Carter with his wife Rosalynn Carter, Defense Secretary Harold Brown and National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzeziński. In January 1979, she sailed for her first deployment to the Mediterranean Sea. During this deployment, while off the coast of Israel, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin visited Dwight D. Eisenhower, The carrier 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 sister-carrier Nimitz three days after the Iranian hostage rescue attempt. To help maintain morale, Capt. Mauldin allowed the men aboard to participate in "Flight Deck Olympics". The Navy also authorized a special ration of beer, consisting of six cans per man, which was dispensed over a two-month period.
Dwight D. Eisenhower returned to the Mediterranean Sea for her third deployment, under the command of her third Captain E. W. Clexton, Jr., from 5 January to 13 July 1982. During this deployment, 11 passengers and crew were lost when Mamie, her onboard logistics aircraft, crashed near Souda Bay, Crete, on 2 April. She also participated in the 24 June evacuation of the U.S. Embassy staff from Beirut, Lebanon, as that country descended into civil war.
Ike embarked on her fourth deployment from 27 April to 2 December 1983. In addition to several major exercises with NATO, Egyptian and U.S. Air Force personnel and assets, she came under direct threat of attack as Libyan dictator Muammar al-Qadhafi vowed to turn the Gulf of Sidra into a "red gulf of blood" should the ship enter the zone claimed by Libya. Further tensions between Libya, Chad, Sudan and Egypt forced Ike to be ordered to the disputed area. Between 2 and 5 August, the ship's Combat Air Patrol intercepted two MiG-23 Flogger and two Dassault-Breguet Mirage V aircraft headed toward the carrier in separate engagements. The Libyan aircraft immediately turned back toward their bases, ending both incidents. Diplomatic measures deflated the crisis days later. On 26 August, Ike sailed within sight of the embattled city of Beirut, Lebanon. The ship launched reconnaissance sorties in support of the U.S. Marines and other international peacekeepers coming under attack ashore. After 93 days at sea since her previous port visit, Ike visited Italy on 21 October. She once again had to make speed toward Beirut, just five days later on the 26th, because of suicide attacks that killed nearly 300 American and French troops on 23 October. Ike would remain on station until relieved by carriers Independence and John F. Kennedy in mid November.
In May and June 1984, for the 40th anniversary of D-Day, Ike was deployed to Normandy, France and Portsmouth, England. The port visit in England included a visit from Queen Elizabeth II. After her fifth deployment Dwight D. Eisenhower went into Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock in October 1985 for a major overhaul. The 18-month yard period included the addition of the Close-in Weapons System (CIWS), NATO Sea Sparrow Missile System, Naval Tactical Data System, anti-submarine warfare module, communications upgrades and rehabilitation of 1,831 berths in 25 compartments. She re-entered the fleet in April 1987.
On 29 February 1988, Ike started her sixth deployment to the Mediterranean. 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, but only caused minor damage to both ships. Dwight D. Eisenhower entered Norfolk Naval Shipyard (Portsmouth, Virginia) in September 1988; she returned to the fleet in April 1989.
In 1990, Dwight D. Eisenhower completed her seventh 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 in Normandy, France.
In response to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, Dwight D. Eisenhower 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-up, the carrier 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 on 2 April 1992, and, on 12 January 1993, entered Norfolk Naval Shipyard for overhaul and conversion, returning to the fleet 12 November 1993.
In September 1994, Dwight D. Eisenhower 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 ship's 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, Dwight D. Eisenhower 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. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Carrier Air Wing Three (CVW-3), and the Commander, Cruiser-Destroyer Group 8 staff team included more than 400 women. The integration of women caused some negative headlines for the Navy. During the deployment, 15 women serving aboard had to be reassigned ashore because of pregnancy, earning the ship the nickname The Love Boat. There was also a case of a sailor who filmed himself having sex with a female.
In April 1995, the game show Wheel of Fortune taped two weeks of episodes on the ship's hangar deck. Dwight D. Eisenhower returned to Newport News Shipbuilding on 17 July 1995 for an 18-month complex overhaul, completed on 27 January 1997. Among other upgrades, they installed a new Advanced combat direction system. The ship departed on her 10th deployment on 10 June 1998 and returned in December. In February 1999, she 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.
Deploying in February 2000 and returning that August on the "Millennium Cruise", for the first time Ike's embarked aircraft dropped ordnance in combat while enforcing Operation Southern Watch's No-Fly Zone over Iraq.
On 3 October 2006 with Carrier Air Wing Seven (CVW-7), Dwight D. Eisenhower returned to sea as flagship of RADM Allen G. Myers, commanding Carrier Strike Group Eight (CSG-8), which included guided-missile cruiser Anzio, guided-missile destroyers Ramage and Mason, and fast-attack submarine Newport News. She visited Naples, Italy, and then Limassol, Cyprus, for three days in October 2006 before departing to the east. She entered the Persian Gulf in December 2006.
On 8 January 2007, a U.S. AC-130 gunship based out of Djibouti was dispatched to target Al-Qaeda operatives located in Somalia. 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. She joined other U.S. and allied vessels from Combined Task Force 150 (CTF-150), based out of Bahrain. A U.S. spokesperson did not say which particular ships comprised the cordon, but the task force included vessels from Canada, France, Germany, Pakistan, the UK and the US. Ships of CTF-150 from the U.S. Navy include the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer Ramage and the Ticonderoga-class cruiser Bunker Hill. The aim of CTF-150's patrols is to "... stop SICC leaders or foreign militant supporters escaping" Somalia. In March 2007, following the Iranian seizure of Royal Navy personnel, Dwight D. Eisenhower began battle group exercises off the Iranian coastline. The following month, in April, the ship was relieved by Nimitz.
On 4 October 2008 Dwight D. Eisenhower Petty Officer 2nd Class Robert Lemar Robinson was killed aboard ship during training exercises off the coast of North Carolina. The sailor was struck and mortally wounded, by an airplane at 8:15 p.m. on the carrier's flight deck.
On 21 February 2009, Dwight D. Eisenhower deployed for the Arabian Sea and environs rotating into the forward-deployed forces there. She served as the flagship of Carrier Strike Group 8 commanded by Rear Admiral Kurt W. Tidd. Also embarked were Carrier Air Wing 7 and the staff of Commander, Destroyer Squadron 28. Other ships of Strike Group 8 were Bainbridge, Halyburton, Scranton, Vicksburg, and Gettysburg. In addition to supporting Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, the strike group conducted maritime security operations including anti-piracy operations. On 16 May, Dwight D. Eisenhower became the first Nimitz-class carrier to dock pierside in Manama, Bahrain. The last carrier to moor pierside in Bahrain was Rendova in 1948. On 30 July 2009, Dwight D. Eisenhower returned to Naval Station Norfolk after an almost six-month long deployment.
On 2 January 2010, Dwight D. Eisenhower again deployed to the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of operation in the Middle East. She served as the flagship of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group commanded by Rear Admiral Philip S. Davidson. While in theater, the strike group provided security cooperation, forward naval presence, maritime security, and crisis response. In addition to Ike, the strike group was made up of Carrier Air Wing 7; Commander, Destroyer Squadron 28; the guided-missile cruiser Hué City; and guided-missile destroyers McFaul, Carney, and Farragut. On 28 July 2010, Ike returned to her homeport in Norfolk.
The ship was placed in a planned incremental availability at Norfolk Naval Shipyard through June 2011. On 22 February 2013, Ike and Strike Group 8 departed for another Mediterranean and Mid-East deployment. After pulling into Marseille, France in early March, the German Sachsen-class frigate FGS Hamburg (F220) became the first to fully integrate into an American Strike group. Hamburg, commanded by CDR (FKpt) Ralf Kuchler (GN), remained with the strike group while it operated with the 5th fleet. On 6 August the ship began an ammunition offload in preparation for an upcoming docked planned incremental availability (DPIA) at Norfolk Naval Shipyard. On 26 August 2014, the ship was moved to Berth 42-43 from Dry Dock #8 at Norfolk Naval Shipyard, and as of 4 February 2015, the DPIA was four months behind schedule, with the ship planned to remain in the yard until at least April 2015. On 3 September 2015, the ship went back to sea.
On 8 June 2016, Dwight D. Eisenhower and her Carrier Strike Group sailed the Atlantic Ocean into the U.S. 6th Fleet's area of operations (AoR) in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe. On 22 November 2016, Military Times reported that since June 2016, when the ship entered the Persian Gulf after launching strikes from the eastern Mediterranean, the carrier's Captain, Paul Spedero, reported that sorties from Dwight D. Eisenhower had dropped nearly 1,100 bombs on ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria. Ike returned to homeport Norfolk December 30.
On 18 March 2016, while she was sailing off the coast of Virginia, eight members of her deck crew were injured when the arresting gear cables failed and "came apart", during the routine landing of an E-2 Hawkeye aircraft. Six of the injured deck crew were flown by helicopter to nearby shore-based hospitals, while the other two remained and were treated aboard ship. None of the eight suffered life-threatening injuries. The Hawkeye immediately resumed flight and landed safely at Chambers Field, Norfolk Naval Station, with no reports of injuries to her crew or damage to the aircraft.
In December of 2016, the ship completed her 17th deployment to the Mediterranean and Persian Gulf in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. 
- March 1978 to July 1978 - Post Shakedown Availability
- January 1981 to May 1981 - Selected Restricted Availability
- August 1982 to October 1982 - Selected Restricted Availability
- October 1985 to April 1987 - Complex Overhaul - forward port sponson added; Mk-25 BPDM replaced with Mk-29; 3 CIWS added; SPS-49 search radar replaces SPS-43.
- October 1988 to March 1989 - Selected Restricted Availability
- October 1990 to January 1991 - Selected Restricted Availability
- January 1993 to November 1993 - Selected Restricted Availability
- October 1995 to January 1997 - Complex Overhaul - aft boarding dock added.
- February 1999 to June 1999 - Planned Incremental Availability
- May 2001 to March 2005 - Refueling and Complex Overhaul - bridle catcher removed; top two levels of island replaced; new antenna mast; new radar tower; 2 RAM replace 1 CIWS/1 Mk-29 at forward port sponson/aft starboard sponson; 2 CIWS at island/stern removed.
- January 2008 to July 2008 - Planned Incremental Availability
- September 2010 to June 2011 - Planned Incremental Availability
- September 2013 to May 2015 - Planned Incremental Availability - 2 CIWS added; one on newly installed forward starboard sponson, one on newly installed aft port sponson.
- August 2017 to Present - Planned Incremental Availability
Dwight D. Eisenhower is scheduled to be eventually replaced around 2029 by the new USS Enterprise (CVN-80), a Gerald R. Ford class carrier, that as of fall 2018, is in the steel cutting and fabrication stages of construction.. The exact date of the ship's inactivation and decommissioning will likely depend on many factors, including Defense Department funding considerations.
Dwight D. Eisenhower has earned a number of awards, including the Battle "E" in 1979, 1980, 1981, 1985, 1990, 1998, 1999, 2006 and 2012 as the most battle efficient carrier in the Atlantic Fleet. In 1999, she won the Marjorie Sterrett Battleship Fund Award for the Atlantic Fleet.
In popular culture
- The 2013 animated Disney film Planes has an anthropomorphic version of her called "Dwight D. Flysenhower" which is numbered CVN-81 instead of 69.
- Season 1, episode 11 of Popular Mechanics for Kids was filmed during three days on board the Dwight D. Eisenhower.
- Dwight D. Eisenhower is also featured in the 2007 naval thriller novel, Defiance, by Don Brown.
- List of aircraft carriers of the United States Navy
- List of aircraft carriers (worldwide)
- U.S. Navy Numbered Fleets
- Carrier Strike Group
- Carrier Air Wing
- Polmar, Norman (2004). The Naval Institute guide to the ships and aircraft of the U.S. fleet. Naval Institute Press. p. 112. ISBN 978-1-59114-685-8.
- Evans, Mark L. (27 September 2006). "USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69)". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Washington, DC: Department of the Navy, Navy Historical Center. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
- "Useful Links". US Navy. Retrieved 28 September 2018.
- "USS Dwight D. Eisenhower History". US Navy. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
- Dantone, J. J. (21 March 1989). "USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) Command History – Calendar Year 1988" (pdf). United States Navy. p. 17. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
- "U.S.S. Eisenhower departs for Haiti with 10th Mountain soldiers". National Archives. September 14, 1994.
- "History of 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division". U.S Army, Fort Drum. 2010.
- "Navy moves to put women on submarines". NBC News. Associated Press. 13 October 2009. Retrieved 12 January 2014.
- Nicholson, David (29 April 1995). "Contestants Go Overboard for Their Turn at Treasure". Newport News Daily Press. Retrieved 12 January 2015.
- Dorsey, Jack (28 September 2006). "Overhauled Eisenhower prepares for deployment after six years off". The Virginian-Pilot. Archived from the original on 5 October 2006. Retrieved 13 October 2006.
- Capaccio, Tony (19 December 2006). "Abizaid Wants Additional Navy Carrier in Persian Gulf (Update1)". Bloomberg News. Archived from the original on 29 June 2012. Retrieved 12 January 2015.
- DeYoung, Karen (8 January 2007). "U.S. Strike in Somalia Targets Al-Qaeda Figure". Washington Post. Retrieved 12 January 2015.
- "Navy tries to block fleeing jihadists from Somalia". Air Force Times. 3 January 2007. Archived from the original on 9 January 2007. Retrieved 4 January 2007.
- "Ramage, Bunker Hill keeping an eye on Somalia". MarineTimes.com. 4 January 2007. Archived from the original on 10 July 2007. Retrieved 4 January 2007.
- "Ethiopian troops to stay in Somalia weeks". Reuters. 2 January 2007. Archived from the original on 31 March 2007.
- "Tensions High in Persian Gulf Over British Captives". ABCNews.com. 29 March 2007. Retrieved 12 January 2015.
- Wiltrout, Kate (7 October 2008). "Navy identifies sailor hit by plane, killed on Eisenhower". The Virginian-Pilot. Retrieved 12 January 2015.
- Prince, Adam (22 February 2009). "Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group Deploys" (PDF). USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69). Retrieved 23 February 2009.[dead link]
- "Dwight D. Eisenhower CSG deploys". Navy Times. Associated Press. 2 January 2010. Retrieved 12 January 2015.
- Vaughn, Tyra (3 January 2010). "Eisenhower strike group deploys to Middle East for 6 months". dailypress.com. Retrieved 3 January 2010.[dead link]
- Adda, Karim (8 March 2013). "USS Eisenhower docks in Marseille". Demotix. Archived from the original on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 12 January 2015.
- Gorman, Timothy (3 April 2013). "Hamburg First German Ship to Deploy in U.S. Carrier Strike Group". U.S. Navy. Retrieved 12 January 2015.
- Fiallos, Luis (8 August 2013). "Ike Begins Ammo Offload". U.S. Navy. Retrieved 12 January 2015.
- "CV Locations". www.gonavy.jp. Retrieved 19 February 2018.
- Knight, Matt (3 September 2015). "The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower releases time-lapse video of the carrier's return to the sea". NewsChannel3. Retrieved 5 October 2015.
- "Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group Enters US 6th Fleet". 8 June 2016. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
- "U.S. airstrikes from carrier Eisenhower top 1,000 against ISIS in Iraq and Syria". Militarytimes. 22 November 2016.
- "Navy: 8 sailors aboard carrier USS Eisenhower hurt during landing". military.com. 10 February 2018.
- "Daily Press: Family, friends greet 'Mighty Ike' sailors after busy deployment. 30 December 2016".
- "First cut of steel kicks off construction of the aircraft carrier Enterprise at Newport News Shipbuilding". wktr.com. 21 August 2017. Retrieved 29 September 2018.
- O'Rourke, Ronald (26 July 2012). "Navy Ford (CVN-78) Class Aircraft Carrier Program: Background and Issues for Congress" (PDF). Congressional Research Service. Retrieved 12 January 2015.
- Feeney, Mark (8 August 2013). "Disney wings it with 'Planes'". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 12 January 2015.
- "Popular Mechanics for Kids - Aircraft Carriers". Hulu.com. Retrieved 17 July 2014.
- Brown, Don (2009). Defiance. Zondervan. ISBN 1410406644.
- This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69).|
- USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Official Site
- Story archive – U.S. Navy – USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69)
- Eisenhower bolsters US security presence off Somalia Jane's Navy International, January 2007
- Dwight D. Eisenhower Sea Stories home page
- Dwight D. Eisenhower Reunion −2008 home page
- USS Dwight D. Eisenhower webpage
- Maritimequest USS Dwight D. Eisenhower CVN-69 Photo Gallery
- USS Dwight D. Eisenhower history at U.S. Carriers
- USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) command histories – Naval History & Heritage Command