The 40th Anniversary, commissioning of USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69)

By Daniel Garas, Naval History and Heritage Command Communication and Outreach Division

Often described as vigilant, trustworthy, and capable, the attributes of the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), could just as easily be attributed to her namesake and 34th president of the United States.

Initially reluctant to run for office, Eisenhower used leadership traits that he honed as a Supreme Allied Commander in the Second World War to tackle some of the country’s most formidable problems, including signing the Civil Rights Bill of 1957, the Federal Highway Aid Act of 1956, balancing the budget, ending the Korean War and keeping America at peace despite dealing with a slew of Cold War crises.

Today, Eisenhower or “Ike,” as he was nicknamed is recognized by many historians as one of America’s most successful presidents and still embodies the moral qualities that leaders strive for.  Despite his numerous accomplishments as president Ike was considered by many to be the embodiment of the citizen-soldier. Upon his death March 28, 1969, the family elected to have him buried in his uniform, in a standard $80 Government Issue casket commonly used for soldiers.

Embodying the former president’s virtues, the Navy chose to name its second Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) and commissioned her October 18, 1977, at Pier 12 at Norfolk Naval station. Blistering with the latest in technological marvels, Ike has served on numerous deployments in both peacetime and war since her launch. Her speed, firepower and complement of 90 aircraft will ensure Ike will continue to live up to her namesake for years to come.

Here’s are some photos of the ship in action:

USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) underway on her sea trials, 23 August 1977.

ABOARD USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER (April 19, 2000) — The Explosive Ordnance Disposal team (EOD) and SEAL personnel practice Special Insertion and Extraction (SPIE) techniques from an SH-60 “Seahawk” aboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69). Eisenhower is on a six-month deployment to the Mediterranean Sea. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Leland B. Comer. (RELEASED)

Norfolk, Va. (Sept. 26, 2005) – Air Department personnel assigned to the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), assemble the emergency-landing barricade net on the flight deck during a training drill in port. In emergency situations, the barricade is stretched across the carrier deck to stop aircraft unable to return safely aboard, or to available sites ashore. U.S. Navy photo by PhotographerÕs Mate 3rd Class Christopher B. Long (RELEASED)

Explosive Ordnance Disposal 1st Class Christopher Courtney assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit Six (EODMU-6), Det. 16 assist his team members during Special Purpose Insertion Extraction (SPIE) training from an SH-60 Seahawk helicopter. The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) is deployed in support of Maritime Security Operations (MSO) and the global war on terrorism.

U.S. Army Sikorsky UH-60A Black Hawk, Bell AH-1 Cobra and Bell OH-58 Kiowa helicopters on deck of the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) at Norfolk, Virginia (USA). Dwight D. Eisenhower disembarked its Carrier Air Wing 3 (CVW-3) at Norfolk and loaded 2.000 U.S. Army soldiers and 58 helicopters of the 10th Mountain Division to take part in “Operation Uphold Democracy” in Haiti. The carrier departed Norfolk on 14 September 1994 and reached the waters off Haiti three days later. Following successful negotiations with Haiti’s military junta, the troops were landed without resistance on 19 September.

Atlantic Ocean (Oct. 27, 2005) – An F/A-18C Hornet, assigned to the “Gunslingers” of Strike Fighter Squadron One Zero Five (VFA-105), launches from the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) during Flight Deck Certification. The certification is a critical inspection that will allow Eisenhower to demonstrate her flight deck is ready to launch, recover, refuel and handle aircraft. U.S. Navy photo by Airman Peter Carnicelli (RELEASED)

Atlantic Ocean (Dec. 13, 2005) – A RIM-7 NATO Sea Sparrow surface-to-air missile launches from the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) during an exercise designed to demonstrate the shipÕs self-defense combat system. This is the first time in five years Eisenhower has fired a Sea Sparrow following the shipÕs major mid-life overhaul. The RIM-7 Sea Sparrow is a medium-range, rapid-reaction, missile weapon system that provides the capability of destroying hostile aircraft, anti-ship missiles and surface missile platforms. IKE is underway conducting routine operations. U.S. Navy photo by Lithographer 1st Class Patrick W. Gould (RELEASED)

An A-7E Corsair II aircraft prepares to land aboard the flight deck of the Nuclear-powered Aircraft Carrier USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER (CVN 69).

For more information about USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, visit her entry in the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.