Future Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) sailors complete crew certification

Deck department sailors aboard the pre-commissioning unit (PCU) Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) participate in a boat-drop exercise during crew certification on February 15. Photo: US Navy

U.S. Navy’s newest aircraft carrier, the future USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), completed crew certification on February 16, following a three-day fast cruise.

“It is the crew that brings the ship to life,” said Capt. Rick McCormack, Ford’s commanding officer. “The crew is at the heart of all that we do, and I am extremely proud of their hard work and dedication as we work toward making this warship an operational asset to the fleet.”

Crew certification evaluates mission readiness by assessing basic underway functional areas as medical response, damage control and navigation drills, all of which are required before safely proceeding to sea.

“Crew certification answers the questions: can we fight a fire, and can we save a shipmate if they’re hurt? Can we safely navigate with other traffic?” said Master Chief Fire Controlman Jason Kutsch, training department’s leading chief petty officer.

The crew was evaluated by Afloat Training Group (ATG) Norfolk, a training team that ensures a ship and its crew is fully qualified to go to sea.

As Ford progresses toward delivery and commissioning, the next scheduled milestone is builder’s sea trials, where Ford will go out to sea for the first time.

According to the U.S. Navy, the ship will start builder’s sea trials in March while both the acceptance trials and delivery would take place in April 2017.

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