Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) will host the christening ceremony of U.S. Navy’s second Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier, the future USS John F. Kennedy (CVN 79), on Saturday, Dec. 7.
During the event, Caroline Kennedy, President John F. Kennedy’s daughter and sponsor of his namesake ship, will smash a bottle of American sparkling wine across the ship’s hull ceremoniously christen the Navy’s newest aircraft carrier.
Retired U.S. Marine Corps Major General and former NASA Administrator Charles Frank Bolden Jr., will serve as the principal speaker for the ceremony.
The future USS John F. Kennedy is the second supercarrier in the Navy’s newest Gerald R. Ford-class. On 25 February 2011, the Navy conducted the First Cut of Steel ceremony in Newport News, signaling the formal start of construction. The ship’s keel was laid in Newport News, Virginia on 22 August 2015.
On Oct. 29, the ship’s dry dock was flooded officially launching the aircraft carrier approximately three months early to the original schedule. The seal of the carrier was officially unveiled by Capt. Todd Marzano, commanding officer of Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) on Nov. 6.
Other milestones recently completed include placement of the 588-metric ton island superstructure in May, the installation of the final piece of the flight deck in July and the first time activation of the ship’s crew in October.
More than 3,200 shipbuilders and 2,000 suppliers from across the country are supporting the construction of Kennedy.