Friday, July 08, 2011

Eisenhower Completes Flight Deck Certification

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Zach Martin, USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Public Affairs

USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER, Atlantic Ocean (NNS) -- USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) and embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 7 Sailors completed carrier flight deck certification, July 6.

The CVW 7 squadrons to take part in Dwight D. Eisenhower's flight deck certification were the "Rawhides" of Fleet Logistics Squadron (VRC) 40, the "Rampagers" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 83, the "Wildcats" of VFA 131, the "Pukin' Dogs" of VFA 143, the "Jolly Rogers" of VFA 103, the "Bluetails" of Aircraft Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 121 and the "Nightdippers" of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HS) 5.

Other embarked squadrons, including from CVW 3, were the "Bulls" of VFA 37, the "Gunslingers" of VFA 105, the "Swordsmen" of VFA 32, the "Blue Blasters" of VFA 34, Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23, and the "Seahawks" of VAW 126.

The squadrons' arrival marked the first flight operations since Dwight D. Eisenhower returned from its 2010 deployment to the Arabian Sea in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Senior Chief Information Systems Technician Louis Decesare, CVW 3 senior enlisted advisor, brought four squadrons including 84 officers and enlisted personnel aboard to assist with the deck certification and to certify their pilots.

"We were thoroughly impressed with the services we received onboard Dwight D. Eisenhower," said Decesare. "We were glad to help with the certification because everyone on Dwight D. Eisenhower bent over backwards to help us during our stay."

Dwight D. Eisenhower's crew, along with the embarked squadrons, helped qualify more than 150 pilots; accumulating more than 670 flight hours and logging more than 930 touch-and-go's, aircraft launches and arrested landings. The ship also completed more than 170 internal graded exercises to finish the final certification.

The ship's underway period arrived after completing a nine-month planned incremental availability at Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, Va.

"I know everyone will continue to work hard and strive for excellence," said Capt. Marcus Hitchcock, Dwight D. Eisenhower's commanding officer.

As part of the ship's final assessment for carrier qualifications, flight deck certifications are required for the ship to deploy and successfully complete the aircraft carrier's mission overseas. Evaluators from Naval Air Forces Atlantic came aboard to review and evaluate the ship's ability to perform flight operations safely. The review included tests on the arresting gear systems used for aircraft recovery as well as catapult systems that launch aircraft.

The certification also included a full survey of the ship's flight deck personnel. Dwight D. Eisenhower's air department Sailors were assessed on their ability to maintain a fully operational flight deck and respond to simulated mishaps.

"I cannot express how proud I am of all [the crew] accomplished and continue to accomplish," Hitchcock said.