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Construction of the third nuclear-powered and second Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), referred to as IKE, was authorized by Congress in 1970.
The carrier, named after General Dwight D. Eisenhower, was christened Oct. 11, 1975 by Mrs. Mamie Doud-Eisenhower, the ship's sponsor and late president's wife. Eisenhower was commissioned in October of 1977 under the command of Capt. William E. Ramsey and assigned to the U.S. Atlantic Fleet.
After 14 months of fleet training, the ship made her first deployment in 1978.
In October 1985, after her fourth deployment, IKE sailed into Newport News Shipbuilding dry dock for a complex overhaul. The 18-month shipyard period included the addition of the Close-in Weapons System, NATO Sea Sparrow Missile System, Navy Tactical Data System, Anti-submarine Warfare module, communications upgrades and berthing refurbishments. IKE rejoined the fleet in April 1987.
IKE completed her sixth deployment in 1990 during the world-wide "Dwight D. Eisenhower Centennial," celebrating the 100th anniversary of the late president's birth.
In January 1993, IKE entered Norfolk Naval Shipyard for overhaul and conversion and returned to the fleet Nov. 12, 1993.
In September 1994, IKE and the U.S. Army 10th Mountain Division made history with the concept of "adaptive force packaging." The division's soldiers and equipment were loaded aboard and the Navy-Army team headed for Port-au-Prince, Haiti, to spearhead Operation Uphold Democracy, the U.S.-led effort to restore the country's democratically elected government.
One month later, IKE departed for a six-month deployment which included flying missions in support of Operations Southern Watch and Deny Flight. This deployment marked the first time women deployed as crew members of a U.S. Navy combatant ship - the IKE/Carrier Wing Three/COMCRUDESGRU Eight team included more than 400 women.
In February 2000, IKE departed Norfolk for its "Millennium Cruise" to the Mediterranean Sea and Arabian Gulf. This deployment marked a milestone in the ship's history when the embarked air wing made its first combat ordnance delivery while operating in support of Operation Southern Watch in Iraq.
IKE entered the Northrop Grumman Newport News Shipyard for her mid-life Refueling Complex Overhaul in May 2001. The ship returned to Norfolk in January 2005.
In October 2006, IKE deployed for the first time since 2000, operating in support of troops on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan and conducting Maritime Security Operations.
In July 2009, IKE completed a six month deployment to the Mediterranean and Arabian Gulf.
In January 2010, departed Norfolk, Va., to return to the Mediterranean and Arabian Gulf to provide continued support to Operation Enduring Freedom missions, returning in July of the same year.
In September of 2010, IKE sailed to Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, Va., for a regularly-scheduled planned incremental availability.
IKE completed its availability period in June 2011, returning to homeport at Norfolk Naval Station.