By Rear Adm. Roy Kelley,
Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic
Today, USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) returned to sea for the first time in more than 18 months, officially marking the end of the ship’s Planned Incremental Availability (PIA).
For Sailor and shipyard worker alike, the conclusion of this maintenance period signifies the completion of many months of teambuilding, hard work, and coordination. In short, the ship is greater today than it was when it first arrived at NNSY in August, 2017.
Completing PIA, however, is only the first step in preparing Ike for being operationally ready. Having completed the maintenance phase of the Optimized Fleet Response Plan (OFRP), this capital warship must now prepare to do what carriers do: train to conduct prompt and sustained combat operations at sea.
This is crucial in our renewed era of great power competition with aggressors that threaten our Nation and our way of life. Mighty Ike being able to head out to sea again is truly a win for us all. It means Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 10 can get after it and be prepared to “fight tonight,” projecting combat-striking power anywhere, anytime.
Ike rejoins the operational waterfront in the company of giants. USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) remains in the sustainment phase of OFRP, ready to go when called upon. USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) is in the integration phase, training with elements of her carrier strike group for their upcoming deployment. Together, they demonstrate the maneuverability, adaptability and strength of the United States Navy.
Our Sailors operate worldwide, quite often far from our Nation’s shorelines. We owe these professional warfighters highly capable ships and aircraft, advanced equipment, and the most relevant training available. Today, I am proud to say Mighty Ike brings one piece of that complex picture into focus. As the ship’s motto goes she is truly, “Greater Each Day.”
Welcome back Ike!