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USS Gerald R. Ford

December 20, 2022

The USS Gerald R. Ford visited Halifax recently. I was fortunate since it left shortly after I photographed this magnificent vessel. Shore crew were just loading up from harbour tour vessels.

It was generous of the US Navy to position some of their air complement on the deck.

The trick with photographing ships in Halifax Harbour is finding a viewpoint that isn't cluttered with buildings and power lines. Most of the harbour front is restricted for safety and security reasons except for the nice public walk on the Halifax side and a smaller public walk on the Dartmouth side.

Courtesty of Wikipedia:

USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) is the lead ship of her class of United States Navy aircraft carriers. The ship is named after the 38th President of the United States, Gerald Ford, whose World War II naval service included combat duty aboard the light aircraft carrier Monterey in the Pacific Theater.[15]

Construction began on 11 August 2005, when Northrop Grumman held a ceremonial steel cut for a 15-ton plate that forms part of a side shell unit of the carrier.[16] The keel of Gerald R. Ford was laid down on 13 November 2009.[4] She was christened on 9 November 2013.[6] Gerald R. Ford entered the fleet replacing the decommissioned USS Enterprise (CVN-65), which ended her 51 years of active service in December 2012.[17][18] Originally scheduled for delivery in 2015,[19] Gerald R. Ford was delivered to the Navy on 31 May 2017[2] and formally commissioned by President Donald Trump on 22 July 2017.[3][20][21] The Navy announced that the carrier will sail on her first deployment sometime during 2022.[22] As of 2017, she is the world's largest aircraft carrier, and the largest warship ever constructed in terms of displacement.[23]

Naming

 
Ford in U.S. Navy uniform, circa 1945.

In 2006, while Gerald Ford was still alive, Senator John Warner of Virginia proposed to amend a 2007 defense-spending bill to declare that CVN-78 "shall be named the USS Gerald Ford."[24] The final version, signed by President George W. Bush on 17 October 2006,[25] declared only that it "is the sense of Congress that ... CVN-78 should be named the U.S.S. Gerald R. Ford."[26] Since such "sense of" language is typically non-binding and does not carry the force of law, the Navy was not required to name the ship after Ford.[27]

On 3 January 2007, former United States Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld announced that the aircraft carrier would be named after Ford during a eulogy for President Ford at Grace Episcopal Church in East Grand Rapids, Michigan.[28] Rumsfeld indicated that he had personally told Ford of the honor during a visit to his home in Rancho Mirage a few weeks before Ford's death. This makes the aircraft carrier one of the few U.S. ships named after a living person. Later in the day, the Navy confirmed that the aircraft carrier would indeed be named after the former president.[29] On 16 January 2007, Navy Secretary Donald Winter officially named CVN-78 USS Gerald R. Ford. Ford's daughter Susan Ford Bales was named the ship's sponsor. The announcements were made at a Pentagon ceremony attended by Vice President Dick Cheney, Senators Warner (R-VA) and Levin (D-MI), Major General Guy C. Swan III, Bales, Ford's other three children, and others.[30]

The USS America Carrier Veterans Association (CVA) had pushed to name the ship USS America. The CVA is an association of sailors who served aboard USS America (CV-66). The carrier was decommissioned in 1996 and scuttled in 2005 in the Atlantic, as part of a damage test of large deck aircraft carriers.[31] The name "America" was instead assigned to USS America (LHA-6), an amphibious assault ship commissioned in 2014.[32][33]

 

USS Gerald R. Ford

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