ATLANTIC OCEAN (NNS) -- Twenty-one midshipmen from the U.S. Naval Academy join the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69)(Ike) underway for carrier qualifications, May 30 to June 5.
Every summer, midshipman from universities across the country go on summer cruises aboard U.S. Navy vessels. These cruises are especially important for midshipman first class who are in their senior years of schooling and are close to making the important decision of choosing which officer designation they wish to commission into.
For one midshipman, this experience helped him reaffirm his upcoming decision on what kind of naval officer he wants to be.
"Being aboard Ike has solidified the fact that I do want to pursue a commission as a Surface Warfare Officer in Nuclear Power," said Midshipman 1st Class David Medrano.
Ike is one of the options for midshipman seeking a career in nuclear power to experience firsthand what life at sea on a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier is like.
"Being on Ike has been greatly influential so far," said Midshipman 1st Class Benjamin Ruff. "Being able to see all of the different evolutions, such as flight ops and the reactor, has had a huge impact on my decision-making process. By the end of this cruise, I hope to have a more firm stance on the commissioning I would like to pursue."
Aircraft carriers can house more than 5,000 Sailors at a time. Their massive size and projection of power have a way of swooning everyone that comes in contact with them.
"Being on Ike strengthened a fact I already knew - aircraft carriers are awesome," said Midshipman 1st Class Jasmine Walker. "My dad was a naval flight officer and would take me to visit when I was little. I've been awestruck with them ever since."
Summer cruises also give midshipmen an opportunity to meet the backbone of the Navy - enlisted Sailors.
"My running mate's enthusiasm has made me even more excited to pursue this career," said Medrano. "How excited he is every single day to do his job makes me look forward to joining the fleet and working with Sailors like him."
"This has been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," said Ruff, "It's just an overall incredible experience and I look forward to my commission so I can work with all the wonderful people I've met on these summer cruises."
Summer cruises are highly important to a midshipmen's professional training. The cruises provide midshipmen with the first-hand knowledge and experience that turn midshipmen into naval officers.
"My advice to future midshipmen is to make sure you take advantage of all of the wonderful opportunities we're afforded," Medrano said.
Ike is currently underway conducting carrier qualifications during the sustainment phase of the Optimized Fleet Response Plan (OFRP).
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For more news from USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn69/.