ATLANTIC OCEAN (NNS) -- U.S. Representative Robert Wittman (R-VA) became the first elected official to visit USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) while the ship is underway Nov. 5-6.
Wittman, the chairman of the House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, flew aboard to meet Sailors and to observe Ford-class carrier operations.
Upon arrival, the congressman was welcomed aboard by Ford's Commanding Officer, Capt. Richard McCormack; the ship's Executive Officer, Capt. Brent Gaut; and the ship's Command Master Chief Laura Nunley.
Throughout the visit, Wittman and his party received an extensive tour of the ship.
"I saw how the medical service corps officers on the USS Ford are dedicated to keeping Sailors healthy and have the requisite facilities to do so," Wittman said on his Facebook page. "I watched from the landing signals officer shack as the USS Ford and her crew launched and recovered aircraft during night flight operations."
The visit also gave Ford Sailors a chance to highlight some of the improvements in the carrier's design, including the re-designed hangar deck.
"I received a brief on efficiencies of the hangar's new layout and how it is designed to make repairs and maintenance on aircraft more productive," said Wittman.
The visit also allowed Wittman to live like a Sailor, to eat what they eat and sleep where they sleep. He commented on the efforts of every culinary specialist aboard Ford to feed the entire crew.
"Our sailors are well taken care of thanks to the great work by the USS Ford's culinary specialists," he said.
During a visit to a damage control repair locker, Wittman had the opportunity to demo some of the equipment that Sailors use when fighting fires, including the Naval Infrared Firefighting Thermal Imager (NIFTI).
Other areas toured include the pilothouse, primary flight control, jet maintenance shop advanced weapons elevators, medical bay and forecastle.
Ford is currently underway conducting test and evaluation operations.
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