New Aircraft Carrier to be Christened as First in Class

On Saturday, November 9, 2013, Newport News Shipbuilding will christen the nation’s newest aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) during a ceremony on-site where the ship is being constructed. President Gerald R. Ford was the 38th President of the United States. His daughter, Susan Ford Bales, will serve as the ship’s sponsor, performing the traditional honor of breaking a bottle of American sparkling wine across the ship’s bow during the ceremony.

Susan Ford Bales, ship’s sponsor for the Pre-Commissioning Unit Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), observes the flooding of Dry Dock 12 at Newport News Shipbuilding, during floating operations for the first in class aircraft carrier. Photo by: Official U.S. Navy Page – CC BY 2.0

Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) is the first of a new class of aircraft carriers, the first new design since USS Nimitz, which was launched in 1972. Redesigned from keel to mast, the ship will be able to launch aircraft more quickly while costing less to maintain, saving the Navy a projected $4 billion over the ship’s 50-year life span.

The Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) christening will be webcast on Navy Live on Nov. 9 at 11 a.m EST. After a series of sea trials and tests, a commissioning ceremony is planned for 2016.


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