NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (AP) — John F. Kennedy’s daughter Caroline has christened a new aircraft carrier that is named after the 35th U.S. president.
Caroline Kennedy smashed a bottle across the USS John Kennedy carrier’s hull Saturday at the shipyard in Newport News, Virginia. She is the sponsor of her father’s namesake ship.
The Kennedy’s keel was laid in 2015. The dry dock was flooded in late October.
Guests at the christening ceremony included former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. Also in attendance, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA).
In Saturday remarks, Sen. Warner recognized Virginia’s strong defense community, including the more than 14,000 men and women who support the Commonwealth’s shipbuilding industry, and applauded the more than 800 ships built by Newport News Shipbuilding since its founding in 1886.
“We are gathered today in celebration of the Kennedy’s entrance into America’s storied carrier program but also in recognition of what it took to get here. I want to commend the nearly 5,000 shipbuilders each of whom played an indispensable role in building this ship. They truly are the greatest shipbuilders in the world,” said Sen. Warner in his remarks.
The John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) is the first aircraft carrier in the Ford Class to utilize electric power, replacing many legacy steam‐powered systems, and is the second aircraft carrier built by Newport News Shipbuilding named after JFK.
The ship’s design will reduce necessary maintenance by 30 percent and is estimated to save the Navy more than $4 billion over the ship’s 50‐year life.
The ship is the second of the U.S. Navy’s new Ford-Class of aircraft carriers. The first was the USS Gerald R. Ford, which was commissioned last year.