A 2009 Chippewa Falls Senior High School graduate and Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, native returned home recently, 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 3rd Class Ryan Balts is an aviation ordnanceman aboard the carrier. As an aviation ordnanceman, Balts is responsible for assembling and disassembling bombs, rockets and missiles.
“My favorite part of my job onboard ship is shooting the .50 caliber gun, which is a weapons system designed to protect the ship in high risk situations.” said Balts.