New Year Saw Rare Aircraft Carrier Deployment Gap


By Debbie Gregory.

As the first month of 2017 draws to an end, we learned a very interesting fact.

For the first week of this year, for the first time since World War II, no U.S. aircraft carriers were deployed, anywhere, a Navy spokesman confirmed.

Had the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, which had been in the Persian Gulf, delayed its return to its homeport of Norfolk, VA by a few days, this would not have been the case.

The unusual gap in carrier presence is due in part to longer-than-expected maintenance for the USS George H.W. Bush, which was supposed to take eight months, but ended up taking 13 months. The Navy blamed the delay on increased wear and tear that resulted from an extended deployment. If it had left when it was supposed to, instead of on January 21st, it would have relieved the Eisenhower in the Gulf.

The George H.W. Bush is the tenth and final Nimitz-class supercarrier of the United States Navy, named for the 41st President of the United States. Construction began in 2003at the Northrop Grumman Newport News shipyard’s Dry Dock 12, the largest in the western hemisphere, and was completed in 2009 at a cost of $6.2 billion.

Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said the absence of a carrier in the Gulf or the Pacific does not mean the U.S. is vulnerable.

The USS Carl Vinson is on routine deployment to the Western Pacific after having received some $300 million worth of improvements.

The USS Makin Island, an amphibious assault ship, is on deployment in the Middle East. The ship is smaller than an aircraft carrier and deploys with Marines, landing craft and helicopters.

“We have had a significant presence in both those areas and will continue to have a significant presence even though we may not at any one particular time have an aircraft carrier there,” Cook said.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

U.S. Sailor Unexpectedly Gives Birth Aboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower in the Persian Gulf


By Debbie Gregory.

A sailor who hadn’t previously disclosed her pregnancy gave birth recently aboard an aircraft carrier currently involved in military operations against ISIS, the Navy has confirmed.

The birth took place aboard the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower while it operated in the Persian Gulf, according to the Navy.

According to Cmdr. Bill Urban, spokesman for U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, the sailor was admitted to the ship’s medical department after complaining of abdominal pain. Nine hours later, she gave birth to a 7-pound baby girl.

Mother and baby were both doing well. Luckily, the doctor on-board had experience delivering babies. Necessities such as diapers and formula were flown out to the carrier as soon as it was clear that a baby was on the way, along with an incubator, which was used to support the helicopter medical evacuation to shore.

Urban said the sailor’s chain of command wasn’t aware of the pregnancy. It wasn’t immediately clear Monday whether the sailor herself knew she was pregnant.

“As the baby was born at sea aboard an operational unit, the main focus for the U.S. Navy, the ship and its crew is the safety and well-being of the baby and the mother. The mother and baby have arrived in Bahrain via helicopter with a medical escort and have been taken to a shore-based hospital for follow on care,” Urban said.

The Navy requires annual health examinations and for expectant mothers to self-report pregnancy within two weeks of confirmation from a medical care provider, according to Navy Personnel Command.

Navy policy says that expectant mothers are allowed to remain on a ship up to the 20th week of pregnancy and only if the time for medical evacuation to an emergency treatment facility is less than six hours away, according to Urban. The Eisenhower left Norfolk on June 1.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.