By MC Seaman Ashley Lowe, USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69)
Some describe the Navy as a big family, but it’s still a small world. Every once in a while families can find themselves stationed together at the same command. Sisters Ashley and Danielle Diesfeld were both assigned to aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69).
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Sisters SH3 Ashley (left) and LS3 Danielle Diesfeld –photo by MC Seaman Ashley Lowe
Ship’s Serviceman (SH) 3rd Class Ashley Diesfeld arrived on Dwight D. Eisenhower in 2015 after she completed her training. Her duties include maintaining the vending machines and manning the ship’s store. Logistics Specialist (LS) Danielle Diesfeld joined the Navy for job security and to help her sister, Ashley, get a higher rank through the recruiting referral recognition program. However, Ashley wasn’t initially excited about them being in the Navy together. “The day I signed my contract, Ashley was so mad at me,” said Danielle. “She didn’t talk to me at all. But she came around and eventually texted me, ‘I’m proud of you. We’re going to do great things.’”
Danielle was first stationed on the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Gridley (DDG 101) as an undesignated seaman until she struck LS and was transferred to Dwight D. Eisenhower in June 2018.
“I wanted to be in supply and work in the ship’s store,” said Danielle. “At my last command, supply was the greatest. I got early chow and all the benefits.”
“On a smaller ship maybe,” said Ashley in disagreement.
“No, I feel like I would still like it here. I like talking to people,” said Danielle.
“The hours are different here,” replied Ashley.
“When underway on smaller ships, they are still open all day except chow hours,” responded Danielle.
And so, the conversation went like any friendly sibling disagreement.
Now Danielle works in aviation supply’s repairable management branch which takes old parts, sends them back to the manufacturer or recycles them, and orders and distributes replacements.
“There are five of us in there and we are all very, very different,” said Danielle. “It makes the work environment better, because when you have all of the same people there’s not much to talk about. I want to learn new things, other people’s culture, and their backgrounds and funny stories while I’m working.”
Ashley said that even though she might not say it, she shows Danielle that she is happy they are together in the Navy now. “No way,” said Danielle, after her Navy counselor gave her a copy of her orders, and she read that she was assigned to Dwight D. Eisenhower.
“What is it?,” asked her counselor.
“I’m going to my sister’s ship,” said Danielle.
Danielle’s Master Chief had her talk to the detailer to make sure being stationed with her sister wasn’t an accident and didn’t break any regulations.
“When I got the orders, I ran through the ship and called Ashley,” said Danielle. “I was like, ‘I’m coming to your ship!’ She was half asleep, and I was practically jumping up and down.”
“She called me when I was sleeping,” said Ashley. “I didn’t want to pick up at first. I was on a temporary assigned duty in security. It was my day off, so I didn’t want to wake up early. When I called her back, she told me she was coming to Dwight D. Eisenhower. I didn’t believe it. I was like, ‘send me a picture of your orders.’ I thought she was just playing with me.”
“I was more excited than she was,” said Danielle as she remembered the day she received her orders to Dwight D. Eisenhower.
The sisters were excited to tell their dad, and although he didn’t say much, they think he is excited for them to be stationed together.
One of the side effects of being at the same command as a sibling is that people mistake them for each other because they look alike and have the same last name.
Ashley was also able to show Danielle around and make sure she was taken care of when she arrived on the ship.
That was three months ago, and they still spend lots of time together. They eat chow together and when they get a minute to take a break, they find each other. They are assigned to the same duty section and live together.
“It’s easier to check in with someone else,” said Danielle. “I was so nervous when I checked into my first ship, but I felt lucky to be with another person I knew from boot camp. I felt the same way when I arrived on Dwight D. Eisenhower, where I had my sister.”