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USS Gerald R. Ford construction update

11:53 AM, Jan 26, 2013   |    comments
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NEWPORT NEWS SHIPBUILDING, VA. (WZZM)-A new aircraft carrier named after President Ford is one step closer to completion.

Saturday morning, the navigation bridge and flight operations center were placed on the USS Gerald R. Ford. Michael Ford and Susan Ford Bales took part in the ceremony in Virginia. Before the "island landing" was complete, Bales slipped a specially made coin underneath. The coin contained sandstone from the same rock used to build the White House, and seals for the Navy, U.S. House of Representatives and White House; all areas her father served in.

"This morning we celebrate a wonderful milestone in the life of this aircraft carrier and the new Ford class of carriers. And also we remember and pay tribute to an extraordinary President and I'm very proud in equally to say a very special dad," said Bales, who began tearing up during her Saturday morning speech.

With a new nuclear power plant, electromagnetic catapults and an enhanced flight deck, the USS Ford represents the first major carrier design change since the 1960s. It's scheduled to go into active service in 2015.

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - The construction of the new aircraft carrier, USS Gerald R. Ford, is drawing closer to completion.

At 11 am, the Ford Museum will stream live video of the "Island Landing" which is the installation of the carrier's navigation bridge and flight operations center at Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia.

Joe Calvaruso, Director of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation said, "The Island Landing is significant because it is a big part of the ultimate ship.  It signifies most of the real construction and then going back and doing the other parts of the ship."

The Ford represents the first major carrier design change since the 1960s when the Nimitz Class was introduced.  The ship itself isn't scheduled to go into active service until 2015.

The public is invited to view the ceremony and celebrate afterward with free admission to the museum and cake.

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