PORTSMOUTH, Va. (NNS) -- Past and present commanding officers of the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) (Ike) joined the ship's crew in celebrating the 40th anniversary of the ship's commissioning Oct. 18, with a ceremony and cake cutting in the ship's foc'sle.

A number of Sailors spoke about Ike's rich history and the pride they take in serving aboard the ship. This was followed by a video presentation of Ike's achievements and various historical moments.

Ike was commissioned at 11:12 a.m. Oct. 18, 1977, at Norfolk Naval Station when the ship's first commanding officer, Capt. William Ramsey, ordered the breaking of the commissioning pennant and placed Ike in service.

The ship's current commanding officer, Capt. Paul C. Spedero, Jr., said since that moment, the pride the crew has for Ike stretches throughout the decades, noting the ship's, "storied history of exceptional service to our nation by the thousands of Sailors who have sailed this mighty warship throughout the years. During our most recent history, we can be proud of the contributions that we have made to the security of our nation, our allies and our coalition partners."

Following the ceremony, Spedero cut the cake along with Rear Adm. Marcus A. Hitchcock, Ike's 15th commanding officer and currently serving as commander, Navy Warfare Development Command and retired Vice Adm. Edward W. Clexton Jr., Ike's first executive officer and third commanding officer.

"I checked into the Newport News shipyard 42 years ago as the incoming executive officer of the new carrier Eisenhower," Clexton told hundreds of Ike Sailors at the ceremony. He continued reminiscing on the early days of the Ike, including how he personally wrote the Ship's Operating and Regulations Manual (SORM), how he helped assign ship's company and the airwing specific spaces throughout the ship.

"It's an experience I will never forget," he said.

With about 10 more years of service ahead, Ike is expected to continue carrying on its proud tradition of safe-guarding the nation's security, promoting sea presence and working with allied forces around the world. Ike is currently pierside at Norfolk Naval Shipyard during the maintenance phase of the Optimized Fleet Response Plan.

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