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    Ship’s Sponsor Addresses Media Onboard CVN 78

    Ship's Sponsor Tours Memorial Room

    Photo By Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew Fairchild | NORFOLK, Va. (July 19, 2017) -- Susan Ford Bales, the sponsor for future USS Gerald...... read more read more



    Story by Ensign Corey Todd Jones 

    USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78)     

    NORFOLK, Va. (July 19, 2017) Susan Ford Bales, daughter of President Gerald R. Ford and USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) ship sponsor addressed the media onboard the aircraft carrier Wednesday, July 19.

    Ford Bales sat in her father’s presidential chair at the desk of the ship’s commanding officer, Capt. Richard McCormack, in his in-port cabin, where she met with reporters to discuss the carrier’s upcoming commissioning Saturday.

    During the media availability, Ford Bales discussed the legacy of her father and the significance of being the ship’s sponsor.

    “My dad was a very humble man and he was astounded and excited when he found out that this carrier was going to be named after him,” said Ford Bales. “Honor your country and have integrity. Let’s remember, the motto is ‘Integrity at the Helm’ and I think that’s what he would want them [the Sailors] to do.

    Ford Bales pointed out various memorabilia throughout McCormack’s cabin to include family heirlooms, photographs and paintings, newspaper clippings, autographed books and the folded American flag that once draped over President Ford’s coffin.

    Pieces of Ford’s legacy are spread throughout the ship, which is meant to help Sailors identify with the humanity of the late president, said Ford Bales.

    The media was also offered an opportunity to tour the newly constructed presidential tribute room that displays memorabilia and information honoring the ship’s namesake, himself a former naval officer.

    Over time, Ford Bales has been a steady presence throughout the development of the ship.

    “I think the biggest thing is to have fun with it and to be involved. I did what I thought my dad would have done, which is to be involved,” said Ford Bales. “I have tried to be here for all of the important things and it has made a difference in my life and I have had a great time doing it.”

    Ford Bales officially christened the ship, attended the commanding officer’s change of command ceremony, and also unveiled her father’s statue onboard, to list a few examples.

    The statue of Gerald R. Ford depicts her father holding a sextant looking out over the horizon, and is displayed on Ford’s ceremonial quarterdeck. The statue’s foot rests on a symbolic scupper, which saved Ford’s life during a WWII typhoon when he was nearly swept overboard, according to Ford Bales.

    Ford began his U.S. Navy service as an ensign in April 1942. He served aboard the light aircraft carrier USS Monterey from May 1943 to December 1944, excelling as the ship’s director of physical training, gunnery officer and assistant navigator. He was honorably discharged in January 1946 at the grade of lieutenant commander.

    Ford would go on to serve 13 terms in the House of Representatives, as Vice President, and as the nation’s 38th President.

    U.S. Navy Story by Public Affairs Officer Ens. Corey T. Jones



    Date Taken: 07.19.2017
    Date Posted: 07.19.2017 15:43
    Story ID: 241788
    Location: NORFOLK, VA, US 

    Web Views: 118
    Downloads: 1