Crowds gather to witness christening of new aircraft carrier

Navy

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) – Chairs were filled with people admiring the future aircraft carrier, USS John F Kennedy.

This is the second aircraft carrier to honor President Kennedy.

The ship, built by Huntington Ingalls Industries Newport News Shipbuilding division, incorporates advanced technology such as a new propulsion system, machinery control, radars and integrated warfare systems.

During Saturday’s ceremony, Newport News Shipbuilding President Jennifer Boykin talked about the amount of work put into the ship.

“Since the first cut of steel nine years ago, thousands of shipbuilders have brought integrity, skill, and innovation to bear around the clock,” said Boykin.

Admiral Frank Caldwell, Director of the Navy Nuclear Propulsion Program, spoke about the future of the ship.

“Kennedy will be the envy of every other navy in the world with the most capable design, built by the very best, and operated by the finest sailors in our navy,” said Admiral Caldwell.

Former NASA Administrator, Major General Charles F. Bolden Jr., delivered the ceremony’s keynote address.

“President Kennedy faced the daunting geopolitical situation when he entered the White House, but he left us and energize space program and also formed the Peace Corps and worked to limit nuclear testing among many other accomplishments. All of these things contribute today to the relative peace that service members preserve, protect and strengthen,” said Major General Bolden.

Caroline Kennedy, President Kennedy’s daughter and sponsor of the ship, also gave a speech about what today would have meant to her father.

“The ship will represent the ideals he lived by. Courage, sacrifice, belief in freedom, and it will help make real his vision of a more just America and a more peaceful world,” said Kennedy.

To wrap up the ceremony, Caroline Kennedy smashed a bottle of sparkling wine across the ships hull.

“I christen the United States Ship John F. Kennedy. May God bless this ship and all who sail in her,” said Kennedy.

She was then given the bottle as a keepsake.

Caroline Kennedy, daughter of former President John F. Kennedy., smashes a bottle on the bow of the ship as she christens of the nuclear aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy at Newport News Shipbuilding in Newport News, Va., Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

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