NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- Capt. John F. Meier assumed command of Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), July 8.
Meier, a native of Export, Pa., is the first commanding officer selected for the Navy's newest class of nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, which is currently under construction at Huntington Ingalls Industries - Newport News Shipbuilding (HII-NNS).
"I'm thrilled to be here," said Meier. "I couldn't ask for a better assignment or a greater honor."
Meier believes the dedication focused on constructing the new vessel will culminate in the ship's successful commissioning and marks the beginning of a new class of aircraft carriers that will be in service for nearly a century.
"The crew is about to embark on a challenging and fulfilling tour of duty on the newest and most technologically advanced warship in the world," said Meier. "The Gerald R. Ford is the first in its class, paving the way for the future of sea power projection for decades to come."
The Gerald R. Ford will replace USS Enterprise (CVN 65), which was inactivated Dec. 1, 2012 in Norfolk, Va. Updates to the new carrier include improved warfighing capabilities, lower maintenance, reduced manning requirements and a better quality of life for the Sailors. Highlighted additions include Dual Band Radar (DBR), Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) and Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG), which are designed to leverage technology to improve capabilities and increase combat sortie generation rate.
Meier graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1986 with a Bachelor of Science degree in General Engineering. He completed flight training in Beeville, Texas and was "winged" as a naval aviator in August 1988.
He served with electronic attack squadrons and carrier air wings accumulating more than 4000 flight hours and 675 carrier landings. His assignments include the "Shadow Hawks" of Electronic Attack Squadron VAQ (141); "Vikings" of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 129; Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2; "Fighting Phoenix" of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 128; Navy Personnel Command; Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff; "Gauntlets" of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 136; Chief of Naval Operations; USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75); USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44), and Naval Air Forces, Pacific. His decorations include the Legion of Merit (3 awards) and various other personal and unit level awards.
The ship receives its name in commemoration of the 38th President of the United States, Gerald R. Ford. Before his Presidency, Ford served as a U.S. Naval Officer from 1943 to 1946 as the gunnery division officer aboard the light aircraft carrier USS Monterey (CVL 26).
Upon commissioning, USS Ford 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.
For more information about PCU Gerald R. Ford, visit www.facebook.com/USSGeraldRFord andwww.navy.mil/local/cvn78/.