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Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78)

2017–

The first U.S. Navy ship named for Gerald R. Ford Jr., the 38th President of the United States. For additional information on the President’s life and his naval service during World War II see Gerald Rudolph Ford, Jr

(CVN-78: displacement more than 90,000; length 1,092'; beam 256'; draft 39'; speed 30+ knots; complement 4,297; armament RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM), RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM), and Phalanx Close-in Weapon System (CIWS); aircraft more than 75; class Gerald R. Ford

Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) was laid down on 14 November 2009 at Newport News, Va., by Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding; launched on 17 November 2013; sponsored by Mrs. Susan E. Ford Bales, daughter of the ship’s namesake; stood out for her builder’s sea trials on 8 April 2017; delivered to the Navy on 31 May 2017; and was commissioned on 22 July 2017, at Naval Station Norfolk, Va., Capt. Richard C. McCormack in command.


The ship’s crest incorporates symbols reminiscent of President Ford’s life and legacy. A fleur-de-lis on the compass points north and symbolizes his rank of Eagle Scout. Thirty-eight stars surround the emblem to represent his tenure as the 38th President. Twenty six stars are a different color to note his service on board small aircraft carrier Monterey (CVL-26) during World War II. The crest’s colors include blue and maize for his undergraduate alma mater, the University of Michigan, and blue and white from his time at Yale law school.
Caption: The ship’s crest incorporates symbols reminiscent of President Ford’s life and legacy. A fleur-de-lis on the compass points north and symbolizes his rank of Eagle Scout. Thirty-eight stars surround the emblem to represent his tenure as the 38th President. Twenty six stars are a different color to note his service on board small aircraft carrier Monterey (CVL-26) during World War II. The crest’s colors include blue and maize for his undergraduate alma mater, the University of Michigan, and blue and white from his time at Yale law school.

Gerald R. Ford includes the new Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) and is slated to eventually replace aircraft carrier Enterprise (CVN-65), which was decommissioned on 3 February 2017. On 15 May 2015, the Navy announced that it had conducted the first shipboard, full-speed catapult shots using EMALS during trials on board the ship.

"This is a very exciting time for the Navy," Rear Adm. Thomas J. Moore, Program Executive Officer for Aircraft Carriers, explained. "For the first time in over 60 years, we've just conducted 22 no load test shots using electricity instead of steam technology."


Tugs shepherd Gerald R. Ford as she enters Naval Station Norfolk, Va., for the first time, 14 April 2017. (U.S. Navy Photograph 170414-O-N0101-110, Navy NewsStand)
Caption: Tugs shepherd Gerald R. Ford as she enters Naval Station Norfolk, Va., for the first time, 14 April 2017. (U.S. Navy Photograph 170414-O-N0101-110, Navy NewsStand)

“Congratulations to everyone who has helped bring CVN-78 to this historic milestone,” Rear Adm. Brian K. Antonio, program executive officer for aircraft carriers, said when the Navy accepted the ship’s delivery at Newport News on 31 May 2017. “Over the last several years, thousands of people have had a hand in delivering Ford [Gerald R. Ford] to the Navy -- designing, building and testing the Navy’s newest, most capable, most advanced warship. Without a doubt, we would not be here without the hard work and dedication of those from the program office, our engineering teams and those who performed and oversaw construction of this incredible warship. It is because of them that Ford performed so well during acceptance trials, as noted by the Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey.” 

“Wherever this vessel cuts through the horizon,” President Donald J. Trump observed during the ship’s commissioning on 22 July 2017, “our allies will rest easy and our enemies will shake with fear because everyone will know that America is coming and America is coming strong. Our true strength is our people. Our greatest weapon is all of you. Our nation endures because we have citizens who love America and who are willing to fight for America.”


A Sikorsky VH-3D Sea King and a Bell Boing MV-22B Osprey of Marine Helicopter Squadron 1 (right) land on Gerald R. Ford’s flight deck during her commissioning, 22 July 2017. Note the ship’s distinctive island superstructure, one of the features that identify her from Nimitz (CVN-68) class carriers. (MC2 Andrew J. Sneeringer, U.S. Navy Photograph 170722-N-WS581-072, Navy NewsStand)
Caption: A Sikorsky VH-3D Sea King and a Bell Boing MV-22B Osprey of Marine Helicopter Squadron 1 (right) land on Gerald R. Ford’s flight deck during her commissioning, 22 July 2017. Note the ship’s distinctive island superstructure, one of the features that identify her from Nimitz (CVN-68) class carriers. (MC2 Andrew J. Sneeringer, U.S. Navy Photograph 170722-N-WS581-072, Navy NewsStand)

Gerald R. Ford completed her post-delivery testing and evaluations and, on 15 July 2018, she arrived at Huntington Ingalls Industries – Newport News Shipbuilding to begin a year-long post-shakedown availability/selective restricted availability.

Detailed history pending. 

Mark L. Evans
17 July 2018

Published: Tue Jul 17 11:21:00 EDT 2018