The first chapter of the book on USS Gerald R. Ford has now been written; a story of hard work, dedication, pride and an effort to strive for excellence. What began on a drawing board as “science fiction” quickly turned into “science fact” because of visionary engineers, skilled craftsmen and a crew of the world’s greatest Sailors.
On Sunday, July 15, CVN-78 was towed up the James River to Newport News Shipyard, officially ending her first year of naval service. Ford will now undergo a maintenance period to correct any issues that were identified during CVN-78’s post-delivery shakedown and modernize the systems of the world’s already most technologically advanced aircraft carrier. When the ship emerges from this necessary maintenance period, she will be an even greater asset to our Navy and our nation; especially as we once again enter another era of great power competition on the world’s oceans.
Since commissioning one year ago this month, the accomplishments of the ship and her crew are many; nearly 750 aircraft launched and recovered, fixed-wing aircraft/helicopter integration and compatibility testing, air traffic control center certification, JP-5 fuel system certification, underway replenishment capability demonstration, Dual Band Radar testing, and propulsion plant operations. No nation on earth can match the capability of USS Gerald R. Ford; a class of ship which will lead our Navy well into the 21st century.
Lastly, I would like to congratulate Ford’s commanding officer, Capt. Richard “Reddog” McCormack, who will soon be departing the ship after an extremely successful tour. Under his outstanding leadership, Ford spent 81 days at sea during eight independent steaming events. I’m confident the ship’s namesake, a former University of Michigan football player, would take great pride in knowing the flawless job done by Reddog to advance the Wolverines down the field.
From the designers to the builders to the Captain and crew – job well done!