Petty Officer 3rd Class Donovan Blanchette, a 2017 Southern Senior High School graduate, joined the Navy over one year ago.
“I was tired of working construction and I walked into the recruiting office and saw a future,” said Blanchette.
According to Blanchette, the values required to succeed in the military are similar to those found in Clinton.
“I learned from my grandfather that whatever you do, you should do what you can to be the best at it,” said Blanchette.
“Mighty IKE” is a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier named for Dwight D. Eisenhower (or “IKE”), one of four 5-star Generals of the Army and a hero of World War II, and would later serve as the 34th President of the United States of America.
“President Eisenhower is remembered for his enduring virtues of duty, honor, integrity, and decency,” said Capt. Paul F. Campagna, commanding officer of USS Dwight D. Eisenhower. “We see these every day in the content of character and quality of work shown by Sailors assigned to Mighty IKE as they keep this city on a ship operating safely.”
The Mighty IKE, like each of the Navy’s aircraft carriers, represents an enduring investment in America’s security. Each carrier is built to provide a formidable response to just about any global crisis. When the air wing is embarked, the ship carries more than 70 fighter attack jets, helicopters, and other aircraft, all of which take off from and land aboard the carrier at sea and can provide over the horizon and from the sea combat air power anywhere in the world within 12 days. This inherent flexibility is why aircraft carriers are often the first response to a global crisis and a proven solution for protecting America.
“The Mighty IKE crew launches and recovers aircraft at sea every day, and there are thousands of tasks that make this possible,” added Campagna. “Whether the 4,500 Sailors onboard work to provide power to the ship, repair aircraft, steer IKE through congested waters, prepare over 14,000 meals a day, work in the laundry or keep our wastewater moving, every job is critical and must be performed well for this ship to execute assigned missions from the Atlantic Ocean to the Indian Ocean and everywhere in between. No other nation can do what we do at the pace we do it, and it is because of the incredible men and women from all over that volunteer to serve and represent the best of our namesake and our country.”
Homeported in Norfolk, Virginia, Eisenhower is longer than three football fields at 1,092 feet. The ship is 252 feet wide and weighs more than 100,000 tons. It has two pressurized water reactors producing more than 260,000 shaft horsepower that drive four massive propellers at a max speed in excess of 35 mph.
Serving in the Navy means Blanchette is part of a world that is taking on new importance 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 surveying threats and doing what we can to aid our allies,” said Blanchette.
With more than 90 percent of all trade traveling by sea, and 95 percent of the world’s international phone and internet traffic carried through fiber optic cables lying on the ocean floor, Navy officials continue to emphasize that the prosperity and security of the United States are directly linked to a strong and ready Navy.
As a member of the U.S. Navy, Blanchette as well as other sailors, know they are a part of a service tradition providing unforgettable experiences through leadership development, world affairs, and humanitarian assistance. Their efforts will have a lasting effect around the globe and for generations of sailors who will follow.
“Serving in the Navy brings me a great deal of pride and it means being surrounded by traditions and military etiquette,” added Blanchette. “It’s being surrounded by people who are always pushing you to be professional and to better yourself.”