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
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!