USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER, At Sea (NNS) -- The Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Jonathan Greenert and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) (AW/NAC) Mike D. Stevens visited USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) (Ike) over the Thanksgiving holiday, Nov. 22-23.
During the visit the CNO and MCPON helped served Thanksgiving dinner, ate with on the mess decks, and held an all-hands call where the CNO reenlisted 26 Sailors.
During the all-hands call, the CNO touched on his tenets for the fleet-warfighting first, operate forward and be ready. He told Sailors how vital the health of the force was to him and expressed his gratitude for the resiliency and endurance that the Sailors are displaying in providing presence and stability to the region.
"One of my tenets is 'be ready,'" said Greenert. "I'm looking for ships, aircraft and squadrons to be ready and manned by people who are competent and proficient. This is a crew who are competent and they're proficient."
The CNO admitted that the Navy was undergoing a number of changes, both in rebalancing of forces and operational capabilities of its platforms, but he assured Ike and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 7 Sailors that the Navy's greatest weapon is and will always be its people.
"I've been admiring your work from afar," said Greenert at the all-hands call when asked if he knew that Ike was a high-performing ship before coming to visit it in person. "You guys have worked through technical issues, turned and burned to get out here, and I never heard of a complaint. This is one squared away carrier, air wing and strike group."
During the trip, the CNO and MCPON had the opportunity to observe many parts of carrier life and see up close the work environments ranging from the galley to the reactor spaces. They spoke with Sailors on the deckplate, passing along holiday greetings, while also providing a rare opportunity for Sailors to talk with the highest level of the Navy's command.
"It is a real honor to be able to join the CNO and Mrs. Greenert to visit the Sailors aboard the Ike," said Stevens while making some brief remarks during the all-hands call. "Please let your families know we are thinking about them. When you get back to your home station, take care of yourselves and take care of them."
The CNO served Thanksgiving dinner to the Sailor on board by carving turkey at a carving station while MCPON served Sailors as they came through the serving line. The gesture and the overall visit were greatly appreciated by the Sailors aboard IKE.
"I think it's great they came all the way out here just to spend time with us," said Logistics Specialist Seaman Jacqueline Malone, assigned to the 'Pukin' Dogs' of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 143. "It makes me feel like we're important to have the 'big boss' come out."
Greenert capped his visit with the reenlistment of 26 Sailors. The Sailors who were sworn back into the Navy were proud and grateful for the chance to be reenlisted by the chief of naval operations.
"I am truly honored. When looking back over your career, you will have milestones to talk about. This will definitely be one of them," said Senior Chief Hospital Corpsman (SW/AW/FMF) Timothy Fabrizi, one of the reenlistees, who is from Ike's Dental Department. Fabrizi transfers from Ike in December and said the CNO's visit was a wonderful way to finish his tour. "This event will culminate three long but great years aboard IKE with an exclamation mark."
Logistics Specialist 3rd Class (AW) Princess Epps of Ike's Supply Department said she was honored that the CNO conducted her first reenlistment.
"I think that this is a remarkable experience to be able to meet the CNO," said Eppps. "To actually have the highest ranking officer in the Navy reenlist me is an honor and a privilege that will stay with me for the rest of my life."
Eisenhower and CVW 7 are deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet Area of Responsibility conducting maritime security operations, theater security cooperation efforts and support missions as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.
For more news from USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn69/.