After a record-breaking seven-month deployment aboard the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, 2015 Friendswood High School graduate Devin Cooper is giving his sea legs a rest now that he’s finally back home.
The petty officer 2nd class returned on Aug. 9 when the Eisenhower docked at its home port in Norfolk, Va.
A damage controlman, Cooper is responsible for safeguarding the ship through measures such as firefighting and defense against chemical and biological attacks.
The deployment, which started in January, saw Cooper and shipmates deployed to the Arabian Sea, Red Sea, Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.
No port calls in 7 months
The Eisenhower embarked just as the COVID-19 threat was taking hold, which explains why the carrier never made any port calls in these last seven months.
That means Cooper is part of a record-breaking team. The sailors on the Eisenhower broke the old record of 160 days without a port call, set in 2002 by the USS Theodore Roosevelt.
“I’m so proud of the young men and women I see on the deck plates each and every day,” Capt. Kyle Higgins, Eisenhower’s commanding officer, said in a press release. “Their dedication to the mission is what makes our Navy the greatest fighting force the world has ever seen.”
With collegiate conferences beginning to postpone their fall athletic schedules due to the coronavirus pandemic, there’s no telling how many former Friendswood High School athletes this will affect. The football programs are already falling like dominoes.
Former Friendswood High School cross country runner Faith Brothers, now an athlete in the sport at St. Edwards University in Austin, received some good news recently when the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference, of which her college, is a member, voted to move forward with fall competition for the sports of cross country, tennis and golf. Football, soccer and women’s volleyball were not so fortunate. Deemed high contact risk, they’ve all been potentially rescheduled for a spring campaign.
Still, as of Aug. 5, 11 of the 23 Division II conferences had announced they will not compete during the traditional fall season. We’ll have to see how that affect the Hilltoppers’ schedule.
As a refresher to what Faith Brothers meant to the Lady Mustangs, she was the MVP three times, female athlete of the year in 2019 and was a state qualifier for two years.
When is Friendswood Hardware going to reopen? Located on Edgewood Drive (FM 2351), it’s been closed for renovations longer than Devin Cooper was at sea. The business features giant white stick figures in front. That one figure in front of the store’s L-shaped gazebo, holding a birdhouse, has got to be 10 feet tall.