By Capt. John J. Cummings, Commanding Officer, USS Gerald R. Ford
Today, the mighty warship USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) returned home to Naval Station Norfolk for the first time in 15 months, marking the official completion of our post-shakedown availability (PSA) at Huntington Ingalls Industries-Newport News Shipbuilding.
Fifteen months. For nearly 500 days, the combined Navy-Newport News Shipbuilding team collectively expended hundreds of thousands of manhours pierside making our amazing warship stronger, more capable, and more reliable. The team’s tremendous efforts culminated this past week in six days of sea trials, an opportunity to finally get our ship to sea and evaluate our efforts.
Now I could bore you with piles of statistics, technical data, and engineering mumbo-jumbo, but what I really want you to know is this:
‘Warship 78’ is a capable, lethal, and innovative warfighting platform… and she works.
Not only was our sea trial successful – we crushed it! We ran our ship through the paces and she passed with flying colors – in some cases surpassing expectations. I couldn’t be happier with the performance of the ship, or of our Sailors who continue to impress me with their dedication, resilience, and tenacity. It is their blood, sweat, and tears that are building our ship and the Ford-class program and that serve as the bedrock to our success of this technological marvel.
Our work was validated and sets the stage for a busy 2020. In the next year we will return to the fleet and take our ship to sea as many times as we possibly can. We will aggressively conduct independent steaming exercises, prepare our ship for further testing and certifications, and work towards our ultimate goal of sailing this 100,000 ton steel beast over the horizon and answering our nation’s call to preserve freedom and democracy around the world.
For USS Gerald R. Ford, the future is bright. Support us – jump on the bandwagon and enjoy the ride. I assure you, you won’t be disappointed. WE ARE WARSHIP 78!