Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) Christening Ceremony

November 9, 2013, 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Watch the christening of America's next-generation aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78). Built at Newport News Shipbuilding by the world's best shipbuilders, the christening marks the beginning of a new class of carriers that will serve for a century.

Watch the replay of the webcast

About the Christening Ceremony

On Saturday, November 9, 2013, Newport News Shipbuilding christened America's next generation aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78). The ship is named for President Ford, the 38th President of the United States. His daughter, Susan Ford Bales, serves as the Ship's Sponsor, performing the traditional honor of breaking a bottle of American sparkling wine across the ship's bow during the christening ceremony.

Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) is the first of a new class of aircraft carriers, the first new design since USS Nimitz, which was launched in 1972. Redesigned from keel to mast, the ship will be able to launch aircraft more quickly while costing less to maintain, saving the Navy a projected $4 billion over the ship's 50-year life span.

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The 21st Century Carrier

Design improvements will allow the ship to load weapons and launch aircraft faster than ever before. Learn more

Ship's Sponsor

Susan Ford Bales is the daughter of President Gerald R. Ford and Betty Ford, and serves as the Ship's Sponsor. Learn more

Building a Giant

Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) is the product of years of construction, and before that, years of planning and design. Learn more

President Gerald R. Ford

He was an Eagle Scout, a college football star, a U.S. Navy sailor, a congressman and the 38th President of the United States. Learn more

The Tradition of Christening

The ceremony involved in naming and launching a naval vessel is based in traditions thousands of years old. Ancient Mediterranean shipbuilders accompanied the launching of their ships with religious ceremonies invoking favor over the ship and her sailors. Today, the tradition has evolved into a ceremony that honors the individuality of the ship and the life ahead of her. The ship's sponsor proclaims, "I christen thee United States ship..." and shatters a ceremonial bottle of American sparkling wine against the bow of the new ship. The ship is then "launched," or undocked, and moved to a pier where outfitting will continue until the ship is ready for delivery.