To Friends of the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78),

I hope this finds all well with you.

Work on the USS Gerald R. Ford is proceeding in terrific fashion. The crew continues to do amazing work as they bring the many systems and departments to full operation and, most importantly, plan for sea trials.

As many of you may know, every aircraft carrier has a “call sign”, e.g., the USS Theodore Roosevelt’s call sign is “Big Stick”; USS George Washington is “GDub”; USS George H.W. Bush is “Avenger”; USS Ronald Reagan is “Gipper”. The call sign of the USS Gerald R. Ford is perfect:


The crew is already using the Call Sign – the ship’s on board weekly newsletter is “The Wolverine”! The Wolverine call sign would definitely bring a big smile to Dad!

I’ve received updates on the ship’s progress, and wanted to share those with you straightaway. During the summer, the ship’s two Main Turbine Generators (MTG) experienced some testing issues while powering the new first-of-class electrical generation and distribution system. The MTGs generate electricity to support the massive array of ship systems and requirements. The MTG issues were not associated with the nuclear reactor plant and had no impact on safe operation of the reactor.

RADM Brian Antonio, PEO Aircraft Carriers, and his team are laser focused on resolving whatever corrections may be needed. They and the suppliers’ technical personnel are already developing plans and gathering materials for in-place repairs of the MTGs. Of course, their overriding goal remains steadfast — get the Ford safely to sea as soon as possible. In short, the combined Navy and supplier teams are evaluating the best path to complete sea trials, ship delivery, and – most importantly to all of us – set the Commissioning Date. I’m not ready to guess on a commissioning date, but it’s certainly going to be after December 31 of this year. Fortunately, the “moving pieces” to setting the date continue to narrow rapidly.

Of course, as soon as I learn of the commissioning date, you’ll receive an email from me. In the meantime, design and installation of the Commissioning Committee’s extensive accessions to the ship (through your wonderful generosity) are ongoing. The crew is already benefiting from them.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me at the above email address with any questions you might have.

NEW USS Gerald R Ford Sponsor Seal (as of 11-15-15)I hope to see you soon. In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to contact me at the above email ddress with any questions you might have.

On behalf of Dad, thank you from the bottom of my heart!

All the best,

Susan Ford Bales
Ship Sponsor, USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78)

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