Senior Chief Navy Officer Maurice Harden and Petty Navy Officer Nola A. Maxie, who serve on the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, were at Centre schools Thursday to talk about the aircraft carrier named in honor of the 34th president. They were in the area to participate in the annual celebration of Eisenhower’s birthday Friday and Saturday in Abilene.
Senior Ashley Spohn provided a slide show of the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier.
The high school band played “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and senior Theo Kassebaum led the assembly in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Superintendent Jerri Kemble announced the top five winners in a trivia contest elementary and middle school students participated in about President Eisenhower. They were: Wesley Love, sixth grade; Braxton Smith, fourth grade; Tanner Wiggins, fifth grade; Seth Krch, third grade; and Alfwenna Meyer, fourth grade.
Several kindergarten students introduced the speakers by presenting information about President Eisenhower including that he grew up at Abilene and was a five-star general in the Army.
Officer Harden said he has been in the Navy for 24 years. His fellow officer has served on the Eisenhower for two years.
Harden said having a high school education is essential to joining the military.
“They want the best of the best,” he said. “If you don’t have an education, you can’t join the military.”
He noted the military offers a free college education to its recruits.
He said the ship is as long as three football fields. Its mission is to protect the U.S. and its allies and to respond to disasters. When carrying a full crew, it carries 5,800 personnel.
“We take the fight to other countries so we don’t have to fight here,” Harden said.
After the presentation was opened to questions, Harden spent 45 minutes answering many queries from the students.
After time constraints stopped the questions, Harden concluded by re-emphasizing the importance of education.
“If you don’t do anything else, at least get an education,” he said.