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Newport News Shipbuilding Celebrates the Keel-Laying of Aircraft Carrier John F. Kennedy (CVN 79)

Meet the Ship's Sponsor

Caroline Kennedy

Ship's Sponsor

John F. Kennedy (CVN 79)

Caroline B. Kennedy was sworn in as U.S. Ambassador to Japan on November 12, 2013.

Ms. Kennedy is a lawyer, author, education advocate, and lifelong supporter of the arts. Ms. Kennedy has served as the Vice Chair, Board of Directors and Honorary Director for the Fund for Public Schools in New York City since 2002. From 2002 to 2004, she served as the Chief Executive of the Office of Strategic Partnerships for the New York City Department of Education. Ms. Kennedy is on the Board of Directors for New Visions for Public Schools, the New Visions Charter School for Advanced Math and Science, and the New Visions Charter School for the Humanities.

To honor the legacy of her family, Ms. Kennedy works as the President and Director of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation where she helped to create the annual Profile in Courage Award. Ms. Kennedy is the Chair of the Senior Advisory Committee of the Institute of Politics at Harvard University and also serves as the Chairman of the Program Committee of the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation, which seeks to improve the lives of those with intellectual disabilities.

Ms. Kennedy attended Sotheby’s Institute of Art in London, England from 1975-1976. She earned a B.A. in Fine Arts from Harvard University in 1980. Ms. Kennedy received her J.D. from Columbia University Law School in 1988.

The Keel Laying Tradition

Laying the keel is the symbolic beginning of building the ship, originating from the large structural beam (or keel) that serves as the foundation or spine of the ship's hull. Although modular construction techniques mean that the ship is no longer built from the bottom up, the keel laying is still celebrated as a momentous event in the ship's construction.

Photo: the keel is laid out during early construction of an aircraft carrier at Newport News Shipbuilding in 1949.