Clinton Native serves aboard the nuclear powered aircraft carrier “Mighty IKE”
Photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Jeffery T. Williams
Petty Officer 3rd Class Donovan Blanchette, a 2017 Southern Senior High School graduate, joined the Navy over a year ago.
“I was fed up with construction and I went to the recruiting office and saw a future,” said Blanchette.
According to Blanchette, the values required to succeed in the military are similar to those of Clinton.
“I learned from my grandfather that you should do whatever you can to be the best,” said Blanchette.
“Mighty IKE” is a nuclear powered aircraft carrier named after Dwight D. Eisenhower (or “IKE”), one of the Army’s four five-star generals and a World War II hero who would later serve as the 34th President of the United States from America.
“President Eisenhower is remembered for his enduring virtues of duty, honor, integrity and decency,” said Captain Paul F. Campagna, commanding officer of the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower. “We see this every day in the content of the character and quality of work shown by sailors assigned to Mighty IKE while keeping this town safe on a ship.”
The Mighty IKE, like any aircraft carrier in the Navy, represents a permanent investment in America’s security. Every airline is built to provide a formidable response to nearly every global crisis. When the air squadron embarks, the ship carries more than 70 fighter jets, helicopters and other aircraft, all of which take off at sea and land on board the aircraft carrier and can deliver combat air force over the horizon and from the sea anywhere worldwide within 12 days. This inherent flexibility is why aircraft carriers are often the first response to a global crisis and a proven solution to protecting America.
“The Mighty IKE crew takes off and retrieves planes at sea every day, and there are thousands of tasks that make this possible,” added Campagna. “Whether the 4,500 sailors on board work to supply the ship with electricity, repair planes, navigate IKE through clogged waters, prepare over 14,000 meals a day, work in the laundry or keep our sewage moving, every job is critical and must be good for this ship to carry out assigned missions from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean and everywhere in between. No other nation can do what we do at the pace we do, and that’s because of the incredible men and women from around the world who volunteer and represent the best of our namesake and our country. “
Eisenhower is home to Norfolk, Virginia and is 1,092 feet longer than three soccer fields. The ship is 252 feet wide and weighs more than 100,000 tons. It has two pressurized water reactors rated at over 260,000 shaft horsepower that propel four massive propellers at a top speed of over 35 miles per hour.
Service in the Navy means Blanchette is part of a world that takes on new meaning in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances, and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.
“Our Navy is important because we are always out there, monitoring threats and doing our best to help our allies,” said Blanchette.
With more than 90 percent of all ocean trade and 95 percent of the world’s international phone and Internet traffic routed through fiber optic cables on the ocean floor, Navy officials continue to emphasize that the prosperity and security of the United States are directly related to strength and prepare marine.
As a member of the US Navy, Blanchette and fellow Sailors know they are part of a service tradition that provides unforgettable experiences through leadership development, world politics, and humanitarian aid. Your efforts will have lasting effects around the globe and for generations of sailors who will follow.
“I am very proud of my service in the Navy and it means being surrounded by tradition and military etiquette,” added Blanchette. “It’s surrounded by people who always push you to be professional and to improve yourself.”