ARABIAN GULF — A Columbus, Ohio, native is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) (Ike).
Chief Petty Officer Shelly Cosman is an air traffic controller aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier operating in the Arabian Gulf in support of Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR).
An air traffic controller works in the air traffic control center and oversees the safe launching and recovering of aircraft, as well as safe air space maneuvering.
“My job is an adrenaline rush,” Cosman said. “You know every minute you’re going to get a new aircraft. It’s something new and exciting every day.”
Ike departed its homeport of Norfolk, Virginia, for a regularly scheduled seven-month deployment. The crew has flown more than 1,000 combat sorties in support of OIR since leaving, June 1.
Having just reached the second half of deployment, Sailors often find ways to break up the monotony and keep themselves motivated.
“I read in between recoveries to relax,” explained Cosman. “I also got into the routine of working out; it gives me something to look forward to every day.”
Ike’s floating city is made up of 5,100 crew members, working day and night to complete the mission. Each Sailor has a specialty, ranging from maintaining aircraft to working in the galley. Every job is equally important to keep the 97,000-ton ship operating in harsh conditions like the heat of the Arabian Gulf. Each crew member finds reward in their job and is highly motivated.
“I’ve enjoyed getting to know my Sailors,” Cosman said. “There’s a sense of family here that you wouldn’t experience anywhere else.”
Life aboard a deployed aircraft carrier is challenging and the crew adapted to the conditions. The busy life includes days of standing watch, maintenance on gear, getting qualifications and finding time to relax. Port visits are welcome breaks to the busy days, which have included stops to Naples, Italy; Manama, Bahrain; and Jebel Ali, United Arab Emirates, for the crew of Ike.
The U.S. Navy’s aircraft carriers allow the Navy to be around the world, anywhere and anytime when needed, and the Sailors aboard the Mighty Ike know their mission in the Arabian Gulf is worth the time being away from home.
“It takes tough people to do deployments and commit your life to the Navy,” Cosman said. “Just seeing the toughness that these individuals have is inspiring.”
Information for this story was provided by Navy Office of Community Outreach.