( Video provided by Newport News Shipbuilding http://www.thefordclass.com/events.html begins at the 05:45 mark)
The USS Gerald R. Ford CVN 78 Christening Ceremony was held on November 9, 2013 at the Newport News Shipbuilding shipyard in Newport News, VA. Attendees included Ship Sponsor Ship Sponsor Susan Ford Bales, her brothers Jack, Mike, Steve and Ford Family Members; Gerald R. Ford’s brother Dick; Foundation Trustees; former Ford White House Chief of Staff Dick Cheney; former Ford Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld; Executives of Huntington Ingalls Industries and Newport News Shipbuilding; numerous elected officials; US Navy and CVN 78 service members; and over 20,000 attendees. Honored guests included USS Monterey CVL 26 crew members of Gerald R. Ford during World War II.
Following the Presentation of the Colors, the Invocation was delivered by U.S. Navy Chaplain Commander Jerome Hinson. Remarks were provided by President of Newport News Shipbuilding Matt Mulherin, U.S. Congressman Bobby Scott, President and CEO of Huntington Ingalls Industries Mike Petters, Director of Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program Admiral John Richardson, Trustee Donald Rumsfeld, Trustee Dick Cheney, Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Navy Sean Stackley, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Jonathan Greenert, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services U.S. Senator Carl Levin and USS Gerald R. Ford Ship Sponsor Susan Ford Bales. During her remarks, Ford Bales relayed her father’s and her family’s honor in having CVN 78 named for Gerald R. Ford and believed that the crew and officers would perform their duties fully in accordance with the ship’s motto “Integrity at the Helm”.
Following the remarks, Susan Ford Bales was joined on the christening platform by Captain John Meier, US Senator Carl Levin and Matt Mulherin. After reciting “I christen thee United States ship Gerald R. Ford, may God bless this ship and all who sail her”, Ford Bales broke the ceremonial bottle on the ship’s haul. Following the ceremony, CVN 78 crew members presented Ford Bales with pieces of the bottle as a family memento. Members of the Ford family and guests took pictures with attendees and then proceeded on a tour of the USS Gerald R. Ford. Later that evening, the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation hosted a special reception in honor of the christening, which included remarks from Trustee Doug DeVos, Trustee Dick Cheney and Trustee Henry Kissinger. Susan Ford Bales was presented with a painting by artist Brian Murphy who captured the ceremony as it was underway.