NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – On Dec. 7, 2019, Huntington Ingalls Industries celebrated the christening of the U.S. Navy’s newest aircraft carrier, which is named after the 35th U.S. president, John F. Kennedy. Once commissioned, John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) will be the U.S. Navy’s second Ford-class aircraft carrier.
A crowd of more than 20,000 shipbuilders, suppliers, community members and elected officials attended the event to witness the ship’s sponsor, Caroline Kennedy, christen the carrier. Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of John F. Kennedy and former U.S. ambassador to Japan, said “this ship will represent the ideals he lived by – courage, sacrifice and belief in freedom – and it will help make real his vision of a more just America and a more peaceful world. I’m so proud to be sponsor of this ship and to join with all of you to bring her to life.”
Charles Frank Bolden Jr., a retired U.S. Marine Corps major general as well as a former NASA administrator and astronaut, served as the principal speaker at the event.
“This magnificent vessel we see before us today is a symbol of our nation’s strength, of our technical achievements and of the critical service our men and women in uniform provide for this nation and the entire world,” Bolden said.
The Kennedy’s christening ceremony also represents nine years of shipbuilding and more than 5,000 shipbuilders who used parts, services and support from suppliers across 46 states in the construction of the Kennedy.
PaR Marine, ABB, CIRCOR Leslie, Hillman Brass & Copper, TW Metals, RIX Industries, Graham Corporation, and KITCO Fiber are just a few of the suppliers that contributed to this accomplishment. Their contributions range from construction support on the vessel to supplying the raw materials including plates, sheets, rods and tubes.
Newport News Shipbuilding continues to make progress on Kennedy’s construction. While the shipbuilders are proud of the strides made, the construction wouldn’t be possible without the industrial base’s contributions and support. The member companies of the Aircraft Carrier Industrial Base Coalition contribute not only to the Aircraft Carrier program but also supply thousands of jobs and make an economic impact of $4.1 billion to the U.S. economy.