NORFOLK, Va. – A Columbus, Ohio native and Independence High School graduate, Petty Officer 3rd Class Donald Bowman is serving on one of the world’s largest warships, the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69).
Bowman works as an aviation boatswain’s mate (handling) aboard the Norfolk-based ship, a Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and one of only ten operational aircraft carriers in the Navy today. Aviation boatswain’s mates (handling) are the sailors responsible for the movement and positioning of the carrier’s embarked aircraft.
“I’m really proud to be part of the flight deck’s crash and salvage team,” Bowman said. “We’re always ready, and we have the power to save a pilot’s life in an emergency.”
Sailors’ jobs are highly varied aboard Eisenhower. Approximately 3,200 men and women make up the ship’s company, and they keep all parts of the aircraft carrier running smoothly. They do everything from washing dishes and preparing meals to handling weaponry and maintaining the nuclear reactors. Another 2,000 sailors comprise the air wing, the people who fly and maintain the aircraft aboard the ship.
Eisenhower, like each of the Navy’s aircraft carriers, is designed for a 50-year service life. When the air wing is embarked, the ship carries more than 70 attack fighter jets, helicopters and other aircraft, all of which take off from and land aboard the carrier at sea. Powerful catapults slingshot the aircraft off the bow of the ship, and those planes land upon their return to the aircraft carrier by snagging a steel cable with an arresting hook that protrudes from the rear of the aircraft. All of this makes Eisenhower a self-contained mobile airport and strike platform, often the first response to a global crisis because of an aircraft carrier’s ability to operate freely in international waters anywhere on the world’s oceans.
“My favorite part of being on the Ike is my crash and salvage friends,” Bowman said.
Eisenhower was commissioned in 1977 and named after former president and Army general Dwight D. Eisenhower, who distinguished himself through service and leadership during World War II. As the supreme commander of Allied Forces in Western Europe during World War II, Eisenhower led the massive invasion of Nazi-occupied Europe on D-Day, June 6, 1944.
“Every Sailor aboard the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower plays an integral part in our success, from the engineering and reactor spaces to the galley and flight deck, and everywhere in between, and I couldn’t be more proud,” said Capt. Paul Spedero, Jr., commanding officer of Ike. “Our many successes are built on their sacrifices and the strength they provide each and every day.”
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Bowman and other Eisenhower sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes.
“I joined the Navy because I wanted the chance to serve my country before I pursued a career in law enforcement,” Bowman said.
National Non-Profit Serving Veterans and First Responders with PTSD to Honor American Hero at Honor Ride Ohio Event in New Albany
Medal of Honor recipient Florent “Flo” Groberg was the featured speaker at the Project Hero Ohio Honor Ride Celebration in New Albany on May 18.
Retired U.S. Army Capt. Florent “Flo” Groberg served in Afghanistan as a security detachment commander and in 2012 was protecting coalition and Afghan National Army personnel when an insurgent attempted to detonate a suicide vest in their midst. Groberg grabbed the bomber, drove him away from the formation and onto the ground where the bomber’s vest detonated. The explosion caused a second suicide bomber also targeting the group to detonate his vest prematurely. Groberg prevented both bombers from detonating as planned and saved the lives he was charged with protecting. As a result of his actions, Groberg sustained the loss of 50 percent of his left calf muscle with significant nerve damage, a damaged eardrum and mild traumatic brain injury. Capt. Groberg was awarded the Medal of Honor on Nov 12, 2015.
Riding to honor and support veterans and first responders and bring attention to the national mental health crisis created by PTSD and TBI, hundreds of cyclists will participate in the Project Hero 2017 Honor Ride Ohio on Saturday, May 27 at 8:00 am. The Project Hero 2017 Honor Ride Ohio will start and finish at Philip Heit Center for Healthy New Albany and is organized by Columbus/New Albany residents Susie and Peter Horvath and Ken and Jackie Krebs.
The Project Hero 2017 Honor Ride Ohio will offer cyclists of all levels the opportunity to ride on bike-friendly routes alongside America’s Healing Heroes while raising funds to help veterans and first responders suffering from PTSD, TBI and injury. Local sponsors include OrthoNeuro and Orthopedic Foundation, Big Lots Foundation, IGS Energy, American Eagle Outfitters, DSW & Fifth Third Bank.
About Project Hero
Founded in 2008, Project Hero is a groundbreaking national non-profit organization dedicated to helping Veterans and First Responders affected by PTSD, TBI and injury achieve rehabilitation, recovery and resilience in their daily lives and increasing awareness of the national mental health crisis posed by PTSD and TBI. Project Hero programs work by producing positive outcomes at lower costs and reducing drug-based therapies. Project Hero builds and provides adaptive bikes to physically-challenged and injured Veterans and First Responders and has helped tens of thousands of our Healing Heroes at no cost to participants through cycling events, community-based programs in more than 50 cities throughout the US and by supporting research. For information, visit www.projecthero.org.