US Navy Aircraft Carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) Set to Depart on First Deployment
US Navy Aircraft Carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) Set to Depart on First Deployment

US Navy Aircraft Carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) Set to Depart on First Deployment

The U.S. Navy’s newest and most advanced aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) will deploy and operate alongside a coalition of allied forces together in the Atlantic area of operations, Monday, October 3. Ford is the flagship of the Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group (GRFCSG) and their first operational deployment will include air, maritime, and ground assets from NATO Allies and partner nations. The strike group will set sail from Norfolk, Virginia, and will operate in the Atlantic Ocean. Innovation and interoperability are the key focal points of the GRFCSG’s deployment, allowing allied and partner nations to strengthen the collective defense of the Atlantic as well as to mature integration for future operations.

“The Atlantic is an area of strategic interest. Our primary goal is to contribute to a peaceful, stable, and conflict-free Atlantic region through the combined naval power of our Allies and partners. The deployment of USS Gerald R. Ford’s carrier strike group is the natural progression of our renewed commitment to the Atlantic,” said Vice Adm. Dan Dwyer, commander, U.S. 2nd Fleet.

“The USS Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group will deploy, integrating with Allies and partners, to demonstrate its unmatched, multi-domain, full-spectrum lethality in the Atlantic. This trans-Atlantic deployment will strengthen our relationships, capacity, and trust to forge a more peaceful and prosperous world by leveraging the ‘One Atlantic’ Command and Control Concept,” said Adm. Daryl Caudle, commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command.

An F/A-18E Super Hornet, attached to the “Gladiators” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 106, approaches USS Gerald R. Ford’s (CVN 78) flight deck during flight operations, Sept. 17, 2022. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seamen Apprentice Daniel Perez)

USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) is the lead ship of her class of United States Navy aircraft carriers. The ship is named after the 38th President of the United States, Gerald Ford, whose World War II naval service included combat duty aboard the light aircraft carrier Monterey in the Pacific Theater. Construction began on 11 August 2005, when Northrop Grumman held a ceremonial steel cut for a 15-ton plate that forms part of a side shell unit of the carrier. The keel of Gerald R. Ford was laid down on 13 November 2009. Originally scheduled for delivery in 2015, Gerald R. Ford was delivered to the Navy on 31 May 2017 and formally commissioned by President Donald Trump on 22 July 2017.

Along with Allies and partners, the GRFCSG will focus training on air defense, anti-subsurface warfare, distributed maritime operations, mine countermeasures, and amphibious operations. The deployment involves approximately 9,000 personnel from nine nations, 20 ships and 60 aircraft. The nine participating nations are: U.S, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, and Sweden. The U.S. commands and units participating in the Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group (GRFCSG) deployment include Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 12, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 2, USS Normandy (CG 60), USS Ramage (DDG 61), USS McFaul (DDG 74), USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116), USNS Joshua Humpreys (T-AO 188), USNS Robert E. Peary (T-AKE 5), and USCGC Hamilton (WHEC 715).