NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) -- File this one under the category of 'no rest for the weary.
A little over a month after returning from a seven month deployment, the U-S-S Dwight 'D' Eisenhower has shipped out again.
In this case, the Ike is out in the Atlantic, hosting VFA-106 and several student pilots from Training Air Wings 1 and 2 to help them earn their carrier qualifications.
If it seems like they just got back, they did.
It was just December 30th when the Ike returned from a 7-month deployment supporting Operation Inherent Resolve.
Yet, here they are, underway again. Sailors didn't seem to mind.
"To be back underway after deployment, it's a different feeling, knowing that you're only out for a week or a couple of weeks and you get to go back home," said MM Lucas Fett.
PS2 Enoch Moffett agreed. "It's great to be back out at sea, doing all the important missions that we need to get done, getting everyone qualified up, and getting the pilots ready to go, so if we need to, we can get get out there and defend our nation," he said.
The Ike is now in the sustainment phase of what is called the Optimized Fleet Response Plan. It was designed to sustain war-fighting readiness so the Navy can retain surge capacity and combat-ready deployable assets.
In other words, taking the ship that is the most ready, and keeping it that way.
The plan is meant to get the fleet back on track after years of high demand, by realigning maintenance, training and deployment cycles into 36-month rotations.
U.S. Fleet Forces Command Admiral Phil Davidson is a fan of the plan, telling US Naval Institute News last year, "You will have a force that is much better equipped for a high-end conflict."
The Navy says the Ike remains in an operational status, as the "ready" carrier of the east coast, standing by to respond if needed.
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