The commemorative items, placed under the island of the aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) during the island landing event in January, will be permanently welded into the ship in honor of President Gerald R. Ford’s 100th birthday, at 10 a.m. Thursday, July 11, 2013. The ceremony will take place at Newport News Shipbuilding.
On Jan. 26, commemorative items were placed by U.S. Navy leadership and Susan Ford Bales, the ship’s sponsor and daughter of the late president, under the aircraft carrier’s island prior to its placement onto the ship. Among the items was a sandstone piece cut from the same stone used in the construction of the White House and the U.S. Capitol. The piece, placed by Ford Bales, was embedded with a unique coin she designed, as well as five official seals representing her father’s service to the nation.
The items will be welded permanently into the ship’s newly designed island to remain during Ford’s 50 years of service for the U.S. Navy.
Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) will be christened on November 9, 2013 at Newport News Shipbuilding, where the ship is currently under construction. Prior to the ceremony, the dry dock in which CVN 78 was structurally built will be flooded, preparing the ship for launch in the days following her christening. The christening ceremony will be held in front of the ship’s bow.
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 lifespan.
Press Release, July 9, 2013; Image: HII