The U.S. Navy’s next-generation supercarrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) set sail from Naval Station Norfolk on Tuesday on its first combat deployment.
The Gerald R. Ford is the lead ship in the Navy’s Gerald R. Ford-class of nuclear powered aircraft carriers and the capital ship of the Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group (GRFCSG). The strike group comprises over 6,000 Sailors, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 2, the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60), and the Information Warfare Commander. The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Ramage (DDG 61), USS McFaul (DDG 74), and USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116) make up the ships of DESRON 2.
“This strike group is the cornerstone of our Navy’s forward operations, capable of meeting any tasking provided by regional combatant commanders to ensure peace and stability at sea,” said Rear Adm. Greg Huffman, Commander, Carrier Strike Group 12. “Our presence at sea throughout the deployment will provide reassurance to our partners and Allies that sea lanes will remain open and our joint operations will demonstrate our commitment to interoperability and maritime stability.”
Following a two-month deployment in the U.S. 2nd and 6th Fleet areas of operation in fall 2022, this marks the Gerald R. Ford’s second deployment and its first with a combat focus.
“The Sailors of Gerald R. Ford are ready and able to perform because of the strenuous training they have put in to get this ship ready to deploy, and also in large part to the support of their families and friends,” said Capt. Rick Burgess, Ford’s commanding officer. “This ship and crew are actively reshaping the face of our Navy’s capabilities and strengthening the future of naval aviation.”
The deployment comes nearly six years after its delivery from Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Newport News Shipbuilding and subsequent commissioning in 2017, marking the first new-design aircraft carrier delivered to the Navy since USS Nimitz (CVN 68) in 1975. It is also the first aircraft carrier to join the fleet since USS George H. W. Bush (CVN 77) delivered in 2009.
As the inaugural Ford-class aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford represents a significant leap forward in the U.S. Navy’s ability to project power globally, boasting a host of new technologies, such as the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System, Advanced Arresting Gear, and Advanced Weapons Elevators.
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