A 2016 Hopatcong High School graduate and Hopatcong, New Jersey, native returned home Aug. 9, marking the end of a seven-month deployment aboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69). Since departing its homeport of Norfolk, Virginia in January 2020 for the ship’s Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX), the aircraft carrier remained underway and deployed to the Arabian Sea, Red Sea, Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Anthony Lipuma is an aviation maintenance administrationman aboard the carrier. As an aviation maintenance administrationman, Lipuma is responsible for maintaining records for more than 1,000 pieces of equipment used to support, maintain and launch aircraft.
“My favorite part of my job is the camaraderie I share with my fellow sailors,” Lipuma said. “Being on a deployment where the crew has no port visits is a huge letdown but being able to make the most of the situation has bonded me with the people I work with.”
As the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the globe, USS Eisenhower continued to conduct operations underway, minimizing the potential spread of the virus aboard in order to maintain maritime stability and security and ensure access, deter aggression and defend U.S., allied and partner interests.
USS Esienhower, along with the USS San Jacinto (CG 56), one of the other ships within Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 10, remained continuously at sea with no port visits, setting a new record for the U.S. Navy, breaking the previous record of 160 days set in 2002 by USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71).
“I’m so proud of the young men and women I see on the deck plates each and every day,” said Capt. Kyle Higgins, Ike’s commanding officer. “Their dedication to the mission is what makes our Navy the greatest fighting force the world has ever seen.”
Sailors assigned to Eisenhower and San Jacinto transited to the equator and participated in a unique crossing the line ceremony, becoming the Navy’s first ‘Iron Shellbacks,’ with more than 100 days at sea May 14. Ike petitioned Naval History and Heritage Command to commemorate this feat in conjunction with crossing the equator as a new title: ‘Iron Shellback.’
“My proudest accomplishment is winning Petty Officer of the Quarter recognition for the aircraft intermediate maintenance department,” Lipuma said.
USS Eisenhower participated in multiple exercises with allies and partners and dual-carrier operations. The ships within CSG-10 also completed multiple strait and choke point transits, to include the Strait of Gibraltar, the Suez Canal and the Bab-el Mandeb Strait, while operating under two Combatant Commanders – U.S. European Command (EUCOM), and U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM).
“My role is to ensure all support equipment assets are maintained and on the right schedule for maintenance,” Lipuma said. “As well as performing clerical duties for the my division.”
Lipuma is honored to create a tradition of family service.
“I am the first member of my family to join the military,” Lipuma said. “My service inspired my twin brother Angelo to enlist in the Navy as well; he is a petty officer third class and a member of the Seabees.”
As a member of the U.S. Navy, Lipuma, as well as other sailors, know they are a part of a service tradition providing unforgettable experiences through leadership development, world affairs and humanitarian assistance. Their efforts will have a lasting effect around the globe and for generations of sailors who will follow.
“Ever since I was in middle school, I knew I wanted to serve but I wasn’t sure of what branch to choose,” Lipuma said. “I looked into the National Guard and Air Force but eventually decided on the Navy due to its rich history and opportunity to travel the world.”