Jordan Dalton

In February, Machinist’s Mate (Nuclear) 2nd Class Jordan Dalton (front) and Machinist’s Mate (Nuclear) 3rd Class Nick Debartolo, from Elk Grove Village, Ill., are seen exercising in the hangar bay of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71). (USN file photo)

LEXINGTON -- No one was surprised to see a photo of Jordan Dalton working out aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt halfway around the world.

The former Lexington High School wrestler is a nuclear-trained machinist's mate currently deployed with the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group that departed San Diego for a scheduled Indo-Pacific deployment on Jan. 17.

The U.S. Navy sent a photo of Dalton lifting weights in the carrier's hanger bay, prompting Richland Source to contact the second-class petty officer via Facebook for an update.

"I went to Baldwin-Wallace University to continue wrestling, but ended up joining the Navy during my first semester," Dalton said. "I'm a nuclear-trained machinist mate and went to an 18-month school before arriving at my ship."

Dalton, an Ohio Cardinal Conference champion and district qualifier while wrestling for coach Brent Rastetter at Lexington, will mark his fifth year with the Navy in June.

"My job consists of standing watch in the propulsion plant and my division manages all the water systems that directly affect the (nuclear) reactor," Dalton said.

He has qualified as the chief reactor watch and supervises  five watchstanders in the reactor auxiliary room.

"We also do maintenance on those systems, which can be as basic as small valve maintenance or as complex as taking radiological controls and entering the reactor compartment," Dalton said.

USS Theodore Roosevelt

Nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt. (U.S. Navy file photo)

The Theodore Roosevelt and Pinckney arrived in Guam for a port visit this weekend.

Rastetter, now coaching at Otterbein University, said Dalton was the ultimate team wrestler for his Minutemen.

"He came in and put the work in and never complained," Rastetter said. "It paid off his senior year with a conference title and a trip to the districts. He was a fun kid to watch because he had great hips and could hit a big move out of nowhere."

Dalton's father, Mike, is a Navy veteran (1987-1991), who served aboard the USS Ranger, a conventionally-powered carrier. He worked on the flight deck and then was trained to work in aviation hydraulics.

"Jordan got a high ankle sprain right before wrestling season started at Baldwin-Wallace and that left him pretty frustrated," Mike Dalton said. "He didn't think college life was right for him (at that time)."

While home over Christmas break, the young man explored his options and decided to join the Navy, as a friend had recently done.

"Things went pretty quickly after that," Mike Dalton said. "He passed the physical, scored high on the ASVAB  (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) and then scored well on the test to get into the nuclear program."

Thanks to social media and other improved communication, Jordan Dalton can stay in touch with family and friends at home.

"When I was (aboard the Ranger), we'd get mail every six weeks or so," Mike Dalton said with a laugh. "He is able to stay in touch with us so we don't have to constantly worry or wonder where he is.

"He called me from Vietnam (on Thursday), which was pretty neat."

The sailor, on his second deployment, recently re-enlisted early and is likely headed to shore duty when his current cruise ends. Mike Dalton said his son's nuclear training will provide many career options at that point.

Shipboard life is something Jordan Dalton said he has gotten used to. The current cruise is expected to conclude sometime in June.

"The schedule has been extremely fluid as of late so it might be earlier or later," Dalton said.

"I'm not going to lie, I'm excited to start shore duty at the end of this year," he said. "I really don't like being away from home and my wife, Josephine."

While in Guam, Theodore Roosevelt and Pinckney are planning to conduct multiple community relations projects, shipboard tours and sporting events. Sailors will also have the chance to experience highlights of the area and local sights through tours organized by the ships’ Morale, Welfare, and Recreation programs.

More than 6,000 sailors assigned to the strike group's ships and units are proving provide maritime security, maintain freedom of the seas in accordance with international law and customs, and operate with international partners and allies to promote regional stability and prosperity.

"The U.S. Navy carrier strike group serves as the centerpiece of deterrence, providing our national command authority with flexible deterrent options and a visible forward presence," said Rear Adm. Stu Baker, commander, Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 9. “The Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group trained hard, performed well, and is now ready to execute whatever missions we are assigned.”

TRCSG consists of Carrier Strike Group 9, USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11, the Ticonderoga class guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG 52), Destroyer Squadron 23, and the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Russell (DDG 59), USS Paul Hamilton (DDG 60), USS Pinckney (DDG 91), USS Kidd (DDG 100) and USS Rafael Peralta (DDG 115).

“I’m excited to lead this outstanding crew out on deployment," said Capt. Brett Crozier, Theodore Roosevelt's commanding officer. "Carrier Strike Groups bring unparalleled naval combat power to the fight. No other weapon system has the responsiveness, endurance, battle space awareness, and command and control capabilities of a carrier and its embarked air wing.”

The TRCSG last deployed for a seven-month deployment supporting Operations Inherent Resolve and Freedom’s Sentinel, as well as maritime security cooperation efforts in U.S. 5th and 7th Fleet areas of operations October 2017 to May 2018.

The Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group is part of U.S. 3rd Fleet, which leads naval forces in the Pacific and provides the training necessary for an effective global Navy.

U.S. 3rd Fleet constantly coordinates with U.S. 7th Fleet to plan and execute missions based on their complementary strengths to promote ongoing peace, security, and stability throughout the entire Pacific theater of operations.

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City editor. 30-year plus journalist. Husband. Father of 3 grown sons and also a proud grandpa. Prior military journalist in U.S. Navy, Ohio Air National Guard. -- Favorite quote: "Where were you when the page was blank?"