We are proud to partner with the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN69) each year in recognizing two Sailors for exemplary leadership. Due to pandemic restrictions, a delegation from the “Mighty Ike” could not make their annual visit to Ike’s hometown, so the ship sent a video of the award recipients (posted on our YouTube channel).
At the time of the award presentation, Captain Kyle Higgins served as the Commanding Officer of the ship. Captain Higgins explained, “The General Eisenhower Award recognizes military leadership and service; what they do inside the ship.” Master Chief Jason Reynolds said of the recipient, Warrant Officer Alison Czuhajewski, “Her contributions to the mission expand across the entire mission set. She’s touching every asset that we have and improving our mission capabilities. It takes someone with strong integrity and accountability to make that happen on a daily basis.” Czuhajewski stated, “I like to be a part of the problem and the solution, maybe not necessarily giving the Sailors the answer but guiding them and using my experience to help them figure out a problem in a different manor, and be there to provide a little oversight and guidance.”
Sr. Chief Natasha Rogers is the recipient of the President Eisenhower Award, which recognizes outstanding service outside the ship. “We think of what President Eisenhower did for our nation; everyone he touched, all of the areas where he brought people together,” said Captain Higgins. “That’s where Sr. Chief Rogers comes in.” Rogers, a Culinary Specialist on the ship, is well-respected for her community leadership in many areas including schools and her church. Rogers stated, “There are generations of people that are lost, with no guidance. All it takes is that one, to take time out of your busy day to truly be a mentor, a guide, and direct them on the right path so they will be equipped to lead others as well.” Master Chief Reynolds adds, “The community is thriving because of her efforts off the job.”
Captain Higgins expressed heartfelt thanks to Ike’s hometown for “bringing us into your lives each and every year and making us feel part of Abilene. I can’t tell you how special that is and what a privilege it has been for me to do that while the Commanding Officer of this fine ship. There is a piece of Abilene in Norfolk, Virginia, and it is the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower.”
A change of command ceremony on December 17, 2020, installed Capt. Paul F. Campagna as the ship’s new Commanding Officer.