Sailors aboard the soon-to-be commissioned USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) celebrated their namesake’s birthday July 14.
“It’s fitting that we take time today to honor the legacy of a great American who devoted his life to serving his country – as President, as Vice President, as a Michigan Congressman, and as a Sailor in the United States Navy,” said Capt. Rick McCormack, Ford’s commanding officer. “Today we celebrate his birthday. And in just a few more days when his daughter, Susan, our ship’s sponsor, gives the traditional command to “Man our ship and bring her to life,” Ford’s legacy will continue as we officially enter active-duty service. The best way we can honor our namesake is to follow President Ford’s example and provide a warship and crew that is capable, trained, and ready to serve our nation.”
The Gerald R. Ford is the first of the Ford-class carriers. The Navy’s newest aircraft carrier, named in honor of the nation’s 38th president, will be commissioned July 22 and will provide the nation with fifty years of service.
Gerald R. Ford was born in 1913 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and served aboard the light aircraft carrier USS Monterey (CVL 26). In 1943, he was sent to the South Pacific and took part in the battles for Truk, Guam, Formosa, Marianas, and the Philippines. After being honorably discharged in 1946, Ford returned to Grand Rapids and became partner at a prestigious law firm before beginning the first of 13 terms in the House of Representatives. Ford became Vice President of the United States in 1973, and President in 1974 following President Nixon’s resignation.
“I’ve been aboard since November 2014,” said Yeoman 3rd Class Shane Morgan, from Venus, Texas, assigned to Ford’s administration department. “I’ve seen a lot of great milestones, to include the first meal onboard, and I look forward to seeing and being a part of this upcoming commissioning and all the great milestones we have yet to set.” “It’s been a long journey getting here,” said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Careese Charlesboughter, from New York City, assigned to Ford’s medical department. “I am proud to be a Gerald Ford Sailor, I am proud to be a plankowner, and I’d like to believe that if Gerald Ford was alive today he’d be happy to see what we’re doing on the ship that bears his name.”