Clermont native and East Ridge High School graduate, Petty Officer 3rd Class Kayla Amador is serving on one of the world’s largest warships, the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69). Amador works as a culinary specialist aboard the Norfolk-based ship, a Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and one of only ten operational aircraft carriers in the Navy today.
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.
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Amador and other Eisenhower sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes. “Serving in the Navy offers me so many opportunities and independence,” Amador said. “It’s a privilege to serve my country.”