WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Secretary of the Navy Donald C. Winter announced Jan. 16, the selection of Gerald R. Ford as the name of the first aircraft carrier in what will be the Gerald R. Ford class of carriers.
The selection honors the 38th President of the United States and pays tribute to his lifetime of service in the Navy, in the U.S. government and to the nation.
"President Gerald R. Ford provided the United States great leadership at a time of constitutional crisis," said Winter. "I am honored to have the opportunity to name the first ship in the new class of aircraft carriers after this great Sailor, this great leader, this great man."
Born in Omaha, Neb., in 1913, Ford grew up in Grand Rapids, Mich. He starred on the University of Michigan football team where he was a center and team most valuable player in 1934. After graduation he attended Yale Law School, where he served as assistant football coach while earning his law degree.
During World War II he attained the rank of lieutenant commander in the Navy, and served on the light carrier, the USS Monterey. After the war he returned to Grand Rapids, where he began the practice of law, and entered political life.
Ford was the first Vice President chosen under the terms of the Twenty-fifth Amendment and, in the aftermath of the Watergate scandal, succeeded the first President ever to resign; serving as the 37th Vice President (1973-1974) and the 38th President of the United States (1974-1977). Prior to becoming Vice President, he served for more than eight years as the Republican Minority Leader of the House of Representatives as a representative from Michigan's 5th congressional district.
USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) will be the premier forward asset for crisis response and early decisive striking power in a major combat operation. The carrier and the carrier strike group will provide forward presence, rapid response, endurance on station, and multi-mission capability.
Gerald R. Ford and subsequent Ford class carriers will provide improved war fighting capability, quality of life improvements for sailors and reduced acquisition and life cycle costs.
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