NEWPORT NEWS, Va.
A Portsmouth, Va., native assigned to Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) participated in the christening of the U.S. Navy’s second Ford-class aircraft carrier during a ceremony in Newport News, Dec. 7.
The Navy christened its newest aircraft carrier on Dec. 7, during a ceremony at the Huntington-Ingalls Industries, Newport News Shipbuilding (HII-NNS) shipyard in Newport News.
Chief Logistics Specialist Dominique Sherrod, who is assigned to PCU John F. Kennedy, discussed the pride in serving on board the second Ford-class aircraft carrier.
“I try to serve with pride every day because I represent the Navy, my family, the Sailors I serve alongside,” said Sherrod, who checked aboard Oct. 1 from the USS George Washington (CVN 73).
Sherrod’s father served in the U.S. Navy as a ship’s servicemen from 1952 to 1972.
On Nov. 6, nearly a month earlier, the crew of PCU John F. Kennedy officially revealed the carrier’s seal. The seal is crafted to integrate elements that honor President John. F. Kennedy, his service to the Navy, and his vision for space exploration.
It features 35 stars located around the outer ring that represent John F. Kennedy as our nation’s 35th president. The 35th star is positioned after his middle initial and the two gold stars placed between CVN and the number 79 symbolize the fact that this is the second aircraft carrier bearing his name and legacy.
The Roman numeral “CIX” or 109, is a tribute to President Kennedy’s heroic naval service as commander of Patrol Boat 109 in the South Pacific. Additionally, the moon backdrop represents President Kennedy’s instrumental role in the nation’s space program.
“John F. Kennedy displayed extraordinary courage, both in combat as a naval officer, and as president of the United States,” said Capt. Todd Marzano, the ship’s first Commanding Officer. “The seal design and ship’s motto are a very powerful and fitting way to honor President Kennedy’s legacy.”
Anchoring these and other elements on the seal is the ship’s motto – Serve with Courage. Sherrod discussed what Serving with Courage means to him.
“To serve with courage, to me, means to overcoming obstacles throughout my career to make it where I am, and I could not have achieved my goals without my mentors and the fellow Sailors I have served with,” said Sherrod.
Other recent milestones PCU John F. Kennedy have completed include the ship’s dry dock was flooded on Oct. 29, officially launching the aircraft carrier approximately three months early to the original schedule. The ship's keel was laid on Aug. 22, 2015, and placement of the 588-metric ton island superstructure was completed on May 29, 2019.
PCU John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) is the second aircraft carrier in the Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78)-class. With its embarked air wing and other carrier strike group assets, CVN 79 will serve as the centerpiece of national defense, providing the core capabilities of forward presence, deterrence, sea control, power projection, maritime security, and humanitarian assistance.