ABOARD USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER, At sea (NNS) -- Two Sailors aboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) (IKE) experienced their first underway period when Ike stretched her sea legs and set sail March 22.
As part of the ship's last requirement before re-delivery to the fleet following a four-year mid-life Refueling Complex Overhaul, Damage Controlman 2nd Class Brian McGowan and Aviation Electronics Technician 2nd Class Fredney Arvelo had the opportunity to commence Sea Trials with the crew aboard the ship they've grown to be a part of.
"I've been on Ike since she was in dry dock," said McGowan, who is part of Ike's Engineering Department. "Any time the ship had a major evolution during the overhaul, I was part of it," he said.
A member of the ship's damage control team, McGowan said Ike's underway is the most exciting evolution he has experienced since checking aboard.
"I feel like I'm more a part of the Navy now; this is what I signed up for," he said.
Since 2002 as a fireman straight from 'A' School, McGowan had never had an opportunity to be on a ship at sea. He and his shipmates have worked very hard to reach this milestone; now, he is relishing the moment.
"I've read and studied about how the ship works and operates. Now I can see how she operates firsthand. Just seeing how the ship moves day-to-day and how it keeps going is what I wanted to see," McGowan said.
McGowan added that even though Ike, commissioned in 1977, is an older ship, he thinks it looks brand new. Ike Sailors take a tremendous amount of pride in the cleanliness and material condition of their warship.
McGowan and Arvelo are thrilled about their first time out to sea.
It made me so happy to watch the tugs pull away from Ike," said Arvelo, who is part of the ship's Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department. "I have been here since 2001, straight out of 'A' school, and I've never been out to sea."
Arvelo says he has seen the ship go through a lot. Seeing Ike go from being dry-docked to finally setting sail is what Arvelo has been looking forward to since reporting aboard. Working hard, being dedicated to the tasks at hand and seeing a direct result of all the hard work was well worth the wait, not just for McGowan and Arvelo but for all of Ike's crew.
For related news, visit the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn69.