USS Dwight D. Eisenhower

USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69)
USS Dwight D. Eisenhower with USS George Washington in the Indian Ocean
United States
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[1]
Commissioned: 18 October 1977
Homeport: NS Norfolk, Virginia
Motto: I Like Ike
Nickname(s): Mighty Ike
Status: in active service
General characteristics
Class and type: Nimitz-class aircraft carrier
Displacement: 101,600 long tons (113,800 short tons)[2]
  • Overall: 1,092 feet (332.8 m)
  • Waterline: 1,040 feet (317.0 m)
  • Overall: 252 ft (76.8 m)
  • Waterline: 134 ft (40.8 m)
Height: 244 feet (74 m)
  • Maximum navigational: 37 feet (11.3 m)
  • Limit: 41 feet (12.5 m)
Speed: 30+ knots (56+ km/h; 35+ mph)
Range: Unlimited distance; 20–25 years
  • Ship's company: 3,200
  • Air wing: 2,480
Sensors and
processing systems:
  • AN/SPS-48E 3-D air search radar
  • AN/SPS-49(V)5 2-D air search radar
  • AN/SPQ-9B target acquisition radar
  • AN/SPN-46 air traffic control radars
  • AN/SPN-43C air traffic control radar
  • AN/SPN-41 landing aid radars
  • 4 × Mk 91 NSSM guidance systems
  • 4 × Mk 95 radars
Electronic warfare
& decoys:
  • SLQ-32A(V)4 Countermeasures suite
  • SLQ-25A Nixie torpedo countermeasures
Armor: Unknown
Aircraft carried: 90 fixed wing and helicopters

USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) ("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.[3] 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.

Design and 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 2016 dollars), launched 11 October 1975 after christening by Mamie Doud-Eisenhower, and commissioned 18 October 1977, Captain William E. Ramsey in command.[1] Since her commissioning, Dwight D. Eisenhower has had 16 Commanding Officers. Her first Command Master Chief was AGCM Robert Franklin Frazier.

On commissioning, she replaced the aging World War II–era carrier USS Franklin D. Roosevelt in the fleet.


Service history


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, Secretary of Defense Harold Brown and his 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.


A Sea Harrier of the Fleet Air Arm takes off from the deck of Eisenhower in 1984.

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 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.[3]

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 – 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.[3]

An F-8E(FN) Crusader of the Aéronavale traps aboard Eisenhower in 1983.

Ike embarked on her fourth deployment from 27 April – 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 destruction as Libyan strongman 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 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 the Independence and John F. Kennedy in mid November.[3]

In May/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.

Eisenhower (foreground) at Norfolk in 1985 alongside Nimitz, John F. Kennedy and America.

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, 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.[4] On 29 February 1988, the ship 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, although damage was minor to both ships.[3][5]

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.

Gulf War

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 ups, 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.

Post–Gulf War

Eisenhower departs Norfolk for Operation Uphold Democracy in 1994.

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 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.[6] There was also a case of a sailor who filmed himself having sex with a female.[6]

In April 1995, the game show Wheel of Fortune taped two weeks of episodes on the ship's hangar deck.[7]

Dwight D. Eisenhower returned to Newport News Shipbuilding on 17 July 1995 for a complex 18-month overhaul completed on 27 January 1997. Among other things, 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.


USS Dwight D. Eisenhower anchors off the coast of the Port of Limassol in the Mediterranean in 2006

From Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository

Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit Six participate in Special Patrol Insertion/Extraction (SPIE) training session with the Dwight D. Eisenhower

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.

F/A-18E/F Super Hornet parked on the flight deck of USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, as the ship operates in the Persian Gulf, December 2006.

On 3 October 2006 with Carrier Air Wing 7 (CVW-7), Dwight D. 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 Anzio, guided-missile destroyers Ramage and Mason, and the fast-attack submarine Newport News.[8] 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.[9]

On 8 January 2007, a U.S. AC-130 gunship based out of Djibouti was dispatched to target Al-Qaeda operatives located in Somalia. Eisenhower "was deployed in the Indian Ocean to provide air cover for the operation and, if needed, to evacuate downed airmen and other casualties".[10] It joined other US and allied vessels from Bahrain-based Combined Task Force 150[11] 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 Ramage and the Ticonderoga-class cruiser Bunker Hill.[12] The aim of the patrols is to "... stop SICC leaders or foreign militant supporters escaping" Somalia.[13]

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.[14]

A French Dassault Rafale fighter aircraft conducts touch and go landings aboard Dwight D. Eisenhower during a coalition training exercise.

On 4 October 2008 Dwight D. Eisenhower Petty Officer 2nd Class Robert Lemar Robinson was killed on the ship during training exercises off the coast of North Carolina. The sailor was killed after being struck by an airplane at 8:15 p.m. on the carrier's flight deck.[15]

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, the Dwight D. Eisenhower returned to Naval Station Norfolk after almost a six-month deployment.[16]


Eisenhower (background) on post maintenance qualifications in the Atlantic in 2011 meets up with Enterprise returning from a cruise to the Mediterranean and Persian Gulf

On 2 January 2010, Dwight D. Eisenhower again deployed to the Middle East, the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of operations. She served as the flagship of 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 the 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.[17][18] On 28 July 2010, the 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[19] in early March the German Sachsen-class frigate Hamburg became the first to fully integrate into an American Strike group. Hamburg was commanded by Cmdr. Ralf Kuchler and stayed with the strike while it operated with the 5th fleet.[20] On 6 August the ship began an ammunition offload in preparation for an upcoming docked planned incremental availability (DPIA) at Norfolk Naval Shipyard.[21]

A MH-60S Knighthawk helicopter unloads ammunition onto the flight deck of Eisenhower.

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.[22]

On 3 September 2015, the ship went back to sea.[23]

In June 2016, Eisenhower and its Carrier Strike Group entered the ATLANTIC OCEAN (NNS) -- USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group (Ike CSG) entered the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations June 8 in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe.[24]

Eventual replacement

Dwight D. Eisenhower is currently scheduled to be eventually replaced around 2027 by the Gerald R. Ford class USS Enterprise (CVN-80). The exact date of the ship's inactivation and decommissioning will likely depend on Defense Department funding considerations.[25]

Commanding officers

Name Date Assumed Command
Captain William E. Ramsey 10 Oct 1975
Captain James H. Mauldin 10 February 1979
Captain Edward W. Clexton, Jr. 3 July 1981
Captain Richard C. Macke 6 July 1984
Captain Gary L. Beck 18 October 1986
Captain Joseph J. Dantone, Jr. 27 September 1988
Captain William V. Cross II 28 September 1990
Captain Alan M. Gemmill 20 March 1993
Captain Gregory C. Brown 22 September 1995
Captain H. Denby Starling II 26 August 1998
Captain Mark T. McNally 13 October 2000
Captain Charles E. Smith 26 April 2003
Captain Dan Cloyd 1 September 2005
Captain Dee L. Mewbourne 16 November 2007
Captain Marcus A. Hitchcock 13 August 2010
Captain Stephen T. Koehler 19 July 2013
Captain Paul C. Spedero, Jr. 18 November 2015



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.

See also


  1. 1 2 "USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69)". Retrieved 12 January 2015.
  2. 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.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 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.
  4. "USS Dwight D. Eisenhower History". US Navy. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  5. 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.
  6. 1 2 "Navy moves to put women on submarines". NBC News. Associated Press. 13 October 2009. Retrieved 12 January 2014.
  7. Nicholson, David (29 April 1995). "Contestants Go Overboard for Their Turn at Treasure". Newport News Daily Press. Retrieved 12 January 2015.
  8. 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.
  9. Capaccio, Tony (19 December 2006). "Abizaid Wants Additional Navy Carrier in Persian Gulf (Update1)". Bloomberg News. Retrieved 12 January 2015.
  10. DeYoung, Karen (8 January 2007). "U.S. Strike in Somalia Targets Al-Qaeda Figure". Washington Post. Retrieved 12 January 2015.
  11. "Navy tries to block fleeing jihadists from Somalia". Air Force Times. 3 January 2007. Retrieved 4 January 2007.
  12. "Ramage, Bunker Hill keeping an eye on Somalia". 4 January 2007. Retrieved 4 January 2007.
  13. "Ethiopian troops to stay in Somalia weeks". Reuters. 2 January 2007. Archived from the original on 31 March 2007.
  14. "Tensions High in Persian Gulf Over British Captives". 29 March 2007. Retrieved 12 January 2015.
  15. Wiltrout, Kate (7 October 2008). "Navy identifies sailor hit by plane, killed on Eisenhower". The Virginian-Pilot. Retrieved 12 January 2015.
  16. Prince, Adam (22 February 2009). "Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group Deploys" (PDF). USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69). Retrieved 23 February 2009.
  17. "Dwight D. Eisenhower CSG deploys". Navy Times. Associated Press. 2 January 2010. Retrieved 12 January 2015.
  18. Vaughn, Tyra (3 January 2010). "Eisenhower strike group deploys to Middle East for 6 months". Retrieved 3 January 2010.
  19. Adda, Karim (8 March 2013). "USS Eisenhower docks in Marseille". Demotix. Retrieved 12 January 2015.
  20. Gorman, Timothy (3 April 2013). "Hamburg First German Ship to Deploy in U.S. Carrier Strike Group". U.S. Navy. Retrieved 12 January 2015.
  21. Fiallos, Luis (8 August 2013). "Ike Begins Ammo Offload". U.S. Navy. Retrieved 12 January 2015.
  23. 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.
  24. "Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group Enters US 6th Fleet". 8 June 2016. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
  25. 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.
  26. Feeney, Mark (8 August 2013). "Disney wings it with 'Planes'". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 12 January 2015.
  27. "Popular Mechanics for Kids - Aircraft Carriers". Retrieved 17 July 2014.
  28. Brown, Don (2009). Defiance. Zondervan. ISBN 1410406644.


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