Navy to Christen Aircraft Carrier Gerald R. Ford
The Navy will christen its newest aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford, Saturday, Nov. 9, during an 11 a.m. EST ceremony at the Huntington-Ingalls Industries Newport News shipyard, Newport News, Va.
Senator Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee will deliver the ceremony's principal address. Susan Ford Bales, daughter of the 38th President Gerald R. Ford, will serve as the ship's sponsor, break a champagne bottle against a plate welded to the hull, and officially christen the ship Gerald R. Ford.
The Gerald R. Ford, designated CVN 78, honors the late president who guided the nation through the end of the Vietnam War and the Bicentennial of American Independence. President Ford served aboard USS Monterey (CVL-26) in the Pacific during World War II, and was the first President to serve aboard an aircraft carrier.
“The christening of USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) marks an important milestone in both the life of this ship and the development of our future fleet; a fleet built on the innovation that makes our Navy and Marine Corps team the finest expeditionary fighting force the world has ever known,” said Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus.
Gerald R. Ford is the lead ship of the Gerald R. Ford class, the first new aircraft carrier design in more than 40 years. The Gerald R. Ford class will eventually replace all Nimitz-class aircraft carriers. The Ford class is designed to provide increased warfighting capability with approximately 700 fewer crewmembers for decreased total ownership cost.
Ford will be the first aircraft carrier to deploy with the electromagnetic aircraft launching system, advanced arresting gear, dual band radar, and all electric auxiliaries. Gerald R. Ford is designed for a 50-year service life with one mid-life refueling complex overhaul.