NORFOLK, Va. – The Norfolk-based aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) welcomed an unexpected new addition Sunday night after a Sailor gave birth while the ship was underway in the Arabian Gulf.
A third class petty officer from Carrier Air Wing 3 checked into the carrier’s medical clinic on Saturday after complaining of stomach pains. In the early hours of Sunday, she gave birth to a healthy baby girl.
5th Fleet Spokesman Cmdr. Bill Urban said neither the mother nor her command knew she was pregnant before Saturday, according to the Navy Times.
Pregnant service members normally leave an operational command at 20 weeks and would certainly not deploy. Service members are required to notify their command of a pregnancy within two weeks of finding out.
“As the baby was born at sea aboard an operational unit, the main focus for the U.S. Navy, the ship and its crew is the safety and well-being of the baby and the mother,” Urban said.
The Navy Times says when they became aware of the situation, the Ike flew out diapers, formula and an incubator to the ship to care for the infant.
The baby and mother have since been flown via helicopter with a medical escort to Bahrain, where they have been taken to a hospital for additional care.
The Eisenhower deployed from Norfolk on June 1 on a scheduled deployment in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. They began air strikes from the Arabian Gulf on July 22.
This is not the first time a baby has been born on a Navy ship. A U.S. Marine gave birth on the USS Boxer in the Persian Gulf in 2003, and the USS Yellowstone was the site of two births — one in 1989 while the ship was at Naval Station Norfolk, and the other in 1994 while the ship was in Gaeta, Italy.