Presented by WGVU News Makers, this documentary provided information regarding the newest class of U.S. Navy Aircraft Carrier, the Ford Class. The first to be commissioned will brandish the name of President Gerald R. Ford who served as a naval officer in the Pacific Theater during WWII, where he served aboard the U.S.S. Monterey.
The new class will have the same hull lines and number of decks as its predecessor, the Nimitz Class. The Ford Class will feature a new overall layout to increase efficiency for on board technologies, making it the equal of no other oceangoing vessel. The ship stretches 1,100 feet in length and will have a top speed of 30 knots while holding up to 75 aircraft. The U.S.S. Gerald R. Ford has been designed to produce more electrical power, increase flexibility and will be propelled by nuclear power to allow for a 50 year life span.
Susan Ford Bales, daughter of President and Mrs. Ford, served as the ships authenticator and sponsor. She remarked on her father’s feelings of being the name sake of not only an aircraft carrier, but a new class of them.
Chairman of the Armed Services Committee and Michigan Senator Carl Levin gave the main address. He compared the keel of the ship to President Ford “a sturdy beam who held our Nation together. The ship will bare the name of the man who assumed office at a time of great confusion and doubt. At a time of great danger, Jerry Ford took the helm. During a time of instability (he) kept our country on an even keel”.
To authenticate the ship, Ford Bales chalked her initials on a piece of the keel that were then welded into place. An overhead door to the facility was lifted revealing the fire piece of the U.S.S. Ford being lifted into place.
Bales ended the ceremony by addressing the crowd stating that the “spirit of this carrier will be deeper, much deeper”. She then recognized the shipbuilders and their families present in the audience by asking them to stand up and receive a round of applause.