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USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69)
The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower
USS Dwight D. Eisenhower with the USS George Washington in the Indian Ocean
Career (United States)
Namesake: Dwight D. Eisenhower
Builder: Newport News Shipbuilding
Cost: $4.5 billion in 2007 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: Mighty Ike
Status: in active service, as of 2022
Badge: USS Dwight D Eisenhower CVN-69 Crest.png
General characteristics
Class & 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 Length: 1,115 feet (340 m)
  • Overall: 252 ft (76.8 m)
  • Waterline: 134 ft (40.8 m)
  • Draught:
  • Maximum navigational: 37 feet (11.3 m)
  • Limit: 41 feet (12.5 m)
  • Draft: 37.7 feet (11.3 meters)
    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
  • Armament: 2 × Sea Sparrow
    2 × RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile
    Armor: Classified
    Aircraft carried: 90 fixed wing and helicopters

    USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) ("Ike") is an 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 US 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 2007 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 13 Commanding Officers.

    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 U.S. Atlantic Fleet, and, after receiving over a year of training during the spring of 1978, the ship was visited by President Jimmy Carter, who hit a golf ball off the flight deck into the Atlantic Ocean. 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 Nimitz three days after the Iranian hostage rescue attempt.[citation needed]

    Dwight D. Eisenhower returned to the Mediterranean Sea for her third deployment from January 5 to July 13, 1982. During this deployment, 11 passengers and crew were lost when Mamie, her onboard logistics aircraft, crashed near Souda Bay, Crete on April 2. She also participated in the June 24 evacuation of the U.S. Embassy staff from Beirut, Lebanon as that country descended into civil war.[citation needed][3] Ike embarked on her fourth deployment from April 27 to December 2, 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 August 2 and 5, 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 August 26, 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 October 21. She once again had to make speed toward Beirut on the 26th due to suicide attacks that killed nearly 300 American and French troops on October 23. Ike would remain on station until relieved by the Independence and John F. Kennedy in mid November.[4]

    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.[citation needed]

    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.[5][6]

    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.

    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 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

    USS Dwight D. Eisenhower departs for a six-month deployment to the Mediterranean.

    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 due to pregnancy, earning the ship the nickname The Love Boat.[7] There was also a case of a sailor who filmed himself having sex with a female.[7]

    In April 1995, the game show Wheel of Fortune taped two weeks of episodes on the ship's hangar deck.[8]

    Dwight D. Eisenhower returned to Newport News Shipbuilding on 17 July 1995 for an 18-month complex overhaul which was completed on 27 January 1997. Among other things they installed 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.[citation needed]


    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 supporting 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 Arabian Sea, 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 USS Anzio (CG-68), guided-missile destroyers Ramage (DDG-61) and Mason (DDG-87), and the fast-attack submarine Newport News (SSN-750).[9] 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.[10]

    On 8 January 2007, a US 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."[11] It joined other US and allied vessels from Bahrain-based Combined Task Force 150[12] 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).[13] The aim of the patrols is to "... stop SICC leaders or foreign militant supporters escaping" Somalia.[14]

    In March 2007, following the Iranian seizure of Royal Navy personnel, Dwight D. Eisenhower began battle group exercises off the Iranian coastline. In April 2007, the ship was relieved by Nimitz.[15]

    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 sailor 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.[16]

    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 USS Bainbridge (DDG-96), USS Halyburton (FFG-40), USS Scranton (SSN-756), USS Vicksburg (CG-69), and USS Gettysburg (CG-64). 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 USS Rendova (CVE-114) in 1948. On 30 July 2009, the Dwight D. Eisenhower returned to Naval Station Norfolk after almost a six-month deployment.[17]


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

    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 USS Hué City (CG-66); and guided-missile destroyers USS McFaul (DDG-74), USS Carney (DDG-64), and USS Farragut (DDG-99).[18][19] 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. During that time, the ship's executive officer, Captain Robert Gamberg, was relieved and removed after an investigation concluded that he had engaged in an "improper relationship".[20][21][22] Gamberg was later cleared in January 2012 by a panel of inquiry. Although the Navy had issued a press release announcing Gamberg's relief in 2011, it did not publicly comment on his exoneration by the panel of admirals in 2012.[23]

    On February 22, 2013 Strike group 8 departed for another deployment just two months after pulling back into its home port of Norfolk Virginia. After pulling into Marseille France[24] in early March the German Sachsen-class frigate Hamburg became the first to fully integrate into an American Strike group. Hamburg is command by Cmdr. Ralf Kuchler and will stay with the strike while it operates in the 5th fleet.[25] On 6 of August the ship began an ammunition offload in preparation for an upcoming docked planned incremental availability (DPIA) at Norfolk Naval Shipyard.[26]

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

    Eventual Replacement

    Dwight D. Eisenhower is currently scheduled to be eventually replaced around 2025 by the Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN-80). The exact date of the ship's inactivation and decommissioning will likely depend on Defense Department funding considerations.[27]

    Commanding Officers

    Name Date Assumed Command
    CAPT William E. Ramsey 10 Oct 1975
    CAPT James H. Mauldin 10 Feb 1979
    CAPT George D. O’Brien, Jr 8 Oct 1980
    CAPT Edward W. Clexton, Jr. 3 Jul 1981
    CAPT Richard C. Macke 6 Jul 1984
    CAPT Gary L. Beck 18 Oct 1986
    CAPT Joseph J. Dantone, Jr. 27 Sep 1988
    CAPT William V. Cross, II 28 Sep 1990
    CAPT Alan M. Gemmill 20 Mar 1993
    CAPT Gregory C. Brown 22 Sep 1995
    CAPT H. Denby Starling, II 26 Aug 1998
    CAPT Mark T. McNally 13 Oct 2000
    CAPT Charles E. Smith 26 Apr 2003
    CAPT Dan Cloyd 1 Sep 2005



    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.[citation needed]

    In popular culture

    • The miniseries Tom Clancy's Op-Center has a scene set aboard her.[29]
    • The animated film Planes has a talking version of her called "Dwight D. Flysenhauer."

    See also


    1. 1.0 1.1 USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) Retrieved 5 March 2010
    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. "Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships". USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69). Department of the Navy, Navy Historical Center, Washington, DC. Retrieved 6/15/2013. 
    4. "Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships". USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69). Department of the Navy, Naval Historical Center, Washington, DC. Retrieved 6/15/2013. 
    5. Evans, Mark L. (27 September 2006). "USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69)". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Naval Historical Center, Department of the Navy. Retrieved 15 December 2011. 
    6. Dantone, Capt. J. J. (21 March 1989). "USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) Command History – Calendar Year 1988". USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69). p. 17. Retrieved 15 December 2011. 
    7. 7.0 7.1 "Navy moves to put women on submarines". St. Marys, Georgia. 13 October 2009. Retrieved 14 October 2009. 
    8. Nicholson, David (29 April 1995). "CONTESTANTS GO OVERBOARD FOR THEIR TURN AT TREASURE". Newport News Daily Press. Retrieved 21 March 2011. 
    9. Dorsey, Jack (28 September 2006). "Overhauled Eisenhower prepares for deployment after six years off". The Virginian-Pilot. Retrieved 13 October 2006. 
    10. Bloomberg News
    11. DeYoung, Karen (8 January 2007). "U.S. Strike in Somalia Targets Al-Qaeda Figure". Washington Post. Retrieved 8 January 2007. 
    12. "Navy tries to block fleeing jihadists from Somalia". Air Force Times, Staff and wire reports. 3 January 2007. Retrieved 4 January 2007. 
    13. "Ramage, Bunker Hill keeping an eye on Somalia". 4 January 2007. Retrieved 4 January 2007. 
    14. "Ethiopian troops to stay in Somalia weeks". Reuters. 2 January 2007. 
    15. "Tensions High in Persian Gulf Over British Captives". 29 March 2007. Retrieved 29 March 2007. 
    16. Washington, Jim, "Sailor On Board Eisenhower Killed During Training", Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, 5 October 2008
    17. Prince, Adam (22 February 2009). "Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group Deploys". USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69). Retrieved 23 February 2009. [dead link]
    18. Press, Associated (2 January 2010). "Dwight D. Eisenhower CSG deploys". Navy Times. Retrieved 3 January 2010. 
    19. Vaughn, Tyra (3 January 2010). "Eisenhower strike group deploys to Middle East for 6 months".,0,3795204.story. Retrieved 3 January 2010. 
    20. McMichael, William H., "Eisenhower XO fired amid investigation", Military Times, 1 June 2011.
    21. Reilly, Corinne, "Executive Officer Of Eisenhower Terminated", Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, 7 June 2011.
    22. Vergakis, Brock, Associated Press, "Navy officer on carrier removed for relationship", Yahoo! News, 12 July 2011.
    23. Reilly, Corinne, "Fired Navy Captain Unlikely To Regain Sea Command", Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, 16 March 2012.
    24. Adda, Karim (8 March 2013). "USS Eisenhower docks in Marseille". 
    25. Gorman, Timothy (3 April 2013). "Hamburg First German Ship to Deploy in U.S. Carrier Strike Group". Navy. 
    26. "Ike Begins Ammo Offload". U.S. Navy. 8 August 2013. 
    27. Ronald O'Rourke (26 July 2012). "Navy Ford (CVN-78) Class Aircraft Carrier Program: Background and Issues for Congress". Congressional Research Service. Retrieved 1 December 2012. 
    28. "USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69)". NAVAL HISTORY AND HERITAGE COMMAND. 
    29. Blockbuster Tom Clancy's 'OP Center' (1995)


    External links

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