NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) marked another milestone leading up to the christening of the second Ford-class aircraft carrier as Huntington Ingalls Industries-Newport News Shipbuilding (HII-NNS) flooded the ship’s dry dock Oct. 29.
PCU John F. Kennedy has been under construction at its Newport News location since 2015 and continues to makes preparations for its christening, which is scheduled for Dec. 7.
The launching of CVN 79 today is approximately 3-months early to the original schedule. Several milestones have been completed leading up to the dry dock flooding, including laying of the ship's keel on Aug. 22, 2015, and placement of the 588-metric ton island superstructure on May 29, 2019.
Capt. Todd Marzano, PCU John F. Kennedy’s commanding officer and crew participated in a ribbon cutting ceremony Oct. 1 to officially establishing the ship’s crew and designate the building where Sailors will work during the ship’s construction.
Ensign Cheyenne Scarbrough, a PCU John F. Kennedy crewmember from San Francisco, brings a plethora of skillsets and experience to include the honor of being a double plank owner.
“Being assigned to the future John F. Kennedy allows me another chance to start from ground zero, streamline processes, and bring the ship to life,” said Scarbrough, who has served 17 years in the Navy, and received her naval commission in March 2019. Scarbrough has previously served on USS Enterprise (CVN 65), USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), and USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78).
While Scarbrough brings experience on both Nimitz and Ford-classes of aircraft carriers, Senior Chief Logistics Specialist David Adkins, brings his experience serving on board the first USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67).
“I embarked on board USS John F. Kennedy while assigned to VFA-81 in 2004,” said Adkins, an 18-year veteran from Jacksonville, Florida. “For me being part of ship’s company now is definitely a point in my career where I have gone full circle.”
Marzano, who served on board USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) while undergoing maintenance at Newport News Shipbuilding during the same time the keel of the future John F. Kennedy was laid, emphasized his perspective in leading his crew throughout the ship’s construction.
“CVN 79 has come a long ways since I first observed initial construction in the dry dock back in 2015 following the keel laying,” said Marzano. “At that point I had no idea I’d be fortunate enough to be the ship’s first commanding officer and I’m incredibly honored, humbled, and excited to be given the opportunity to lead such an amazing team of high quality crewmembers.”