USS Gerald R. Ford Commissioned as Navy's Newest Carrier

USS Gerald R. Ford Commissioned as Navy's Newest Carrier

In a military ceremony on Saturday, Trump said the USS Gerald R. Ford - named after the USA president from 1974-77 - was "a 100,000-tonne message to the world" and would be a valued asset in the United States fleet. Released from active duty in February 1946, Ford remained in the Naval Reserve until 1963.

"I was with you four months ago and I knew that I had to be here today and I told you I'd be back to congratulate you and the crew and everybody involved in commissioning the newest, largest and most advanced aircraft carrier in the history of this world", Trump said Saturday.

The first of three Ford-class carriers ordered by the Navy - whose combined cost is expected be close to $42 billion - the USS Gerald Ford's innovative features have been touted as one of its biggest assets but testing those unproven systems has, at times, yielded growing pains.

The president, who is commander-in-chief of the US armed forces, likened the $12.9 billion warship to "an incredible work of art" and boasted about the American labor that went into building a vessel that eventually will house thousands of sailors and crew members.

The aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford began to build in 2009.

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"American steel and hands have constructed a 1,000-ton message to the world that American might is second to none", Trump said. "Win, Win! We're going to start winning again".

A commissioning is a day of celebration, and honors the dedication, team work, and collaboration of Sailors, legislators, shipbuilders, program managers, and the ship's sponsor in delivering the ship to the fleet.

Ford still must go through various tests and trials of its cutting-edge technology, including new systems to launch and land fighter jets.

He praised the military members and civilians who worked on developing and building the massive ship, impressing his hope that the carrier serves as "the deterrent that keeps us from having to fight in the first place".

Also attending the ceremony were Susan Ford Bales, daughter of the late president; former Vice President Dick Cheney, wearing a navy blazer and cowboy hat; former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld; Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe; Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, and several lawmakers.

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And with those few words, the ship was brought to life.

"This ship can basically drive itself", Triana said, pointing to a touch-screen navigation display that has replaced the traditional throttle system used to power and steer the US Navy's older carrier classes.

The technology of the USS Gerald R. Ford, albeit impressive McCormack said, will never be better than the crew.

The vessel was built at Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia.

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