ATLANTIC OCEAN (NNS) -- Former Secretary of the Navy, John Dalton, and ten other guests visited the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) (IKE) July 12 as part of the carrier's distinguished visitor (DV) program.
IKE is currently underway off the east coast of the United States performing carrier qualifications (CQ) for aircraft squadrons from around the country, and the visit exposed the group to the hardworking Sailors who make the various shipboard evolutions required for the CQ possible.
"So far, we've seen flight operations and had the opportunity to visit the flight deck and the navigation bridge," Dalton said. "It's all very impressive: we see a high level of professionalism and dedication from Eisenhower Sailors, and we have a very positive impression of the Navy and how well they execute their mission."
The DV program is designed to introduce the Navy to business and professional leaders, who would not otherwise know what the Navy does, Dalton said.
Business leaders from the U.S. and around the world arrive on IKE via aircraft and are treated to the unique experience of a carrier arrested landing on the ship's flight deck, before touring various shipboard spaces and witnessing carrier flight operations from the deck itself.
"I've been involved with this program a number of times, and I think it is great for the Navy. I also enjoy being involved with this program because the Navy has been good to me," Dalton said. "It has provided me an education at the Naval Academy, and I later had the honor and privilege to serve as Secretary of the Navy. So, anything I can do to help the Navy I want to do it, and I think this program helps the Navy show off the finest men and women in the country as they serve their country."
Along with viewing flight operations, the DV group was shown the crew's mess area, the navigation bridge and the ship's medical capabilities.
"We'll see [the ship] stem to stern, the various departments and the operation of the ship. I am sure [the group will] leave here with a very favorable impression of the Navy and its people," Dalton said.
Dalton also expressed his gratitude for not only the opportunity to serve previous Sailors as Secretary of the Navy, but the current Sailors who work to fulfill the country's mission.
"I know that men and women sacrifice a great deal to serve their country in this way, and it's very important and necessary to recognize how grateful and proud we are of their service."
For more news from USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn69/.