Ike hosts midshipmen for glimpse of life at sea

The crew of the U.S. Navy’s Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) (Ike) hosted midshipmen from the Naval Academy during their recent underway for a sustainment exercise.

The midshipmen were brought aboard Ike for an extensive tour of the aircraft carrier conducting flight operations to see the full range of roles involved in its mission. They worked with a squadron and learned from junior officers who work in various fields they might choose to pursue.

The midshipmen paired up with their squadron for their entire day to get a better understanding of the challenges they will be facing when they transition into the fleet as commissioned officers.

“This is the first time we’ve actually done this,” said Lt. Caroline Johnson, aviation operations officer at the Naval Academy. “This trip is meant to expose midshipmen to carrier aviation life and the ship’s company team. We wanted to reveal to them the incredible opportunities out here. At the academy they don’t really get to see how the entire team comes together to execute the mission. Here they can see, hear and smell what naval aviation really is.”

The midshipmen were shown almost all aspects of flight operations from many of the perspectives that contribute to the overall effort. They were given tours of the flight deck and primary flight control, and given time to speak with both commissioned and enlisted leadership.

While the midshipmen have been deciding which field to specialize in, instructors and academy leadership have concerns the aviation community is not properly represented in the classroom. This trip allowed the incorporeal concepts the students are told of to become flesh and steel. The midshipmen will soon have a second stay aboard a ship for an entire underway to work, instead of just observe particular jobs. At this point they will decide which occupation to list as their preference.

Once they embark the transport aircraft, and are launched into the air from the ship’s steam catapults, the students will no doubt have much to think on and much to tell their colleagues upon their return.

Ike and its carrier strike group are underway conducting a sustainment exercise in support of the Optimized Fleet Response Plan (OFRP).

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