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    Secretary of Defense Visits USS Gerald R. Ford

    SECDEF Visit

    Photo By Petty Officer 3rd Class Maxwell Orlosky | U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin III, speaks to Sailors aboard the world’s...... read more read more



    Story by Petty Officer 3rd Class Triniti Lersch 

    USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78)           

    MEDITERRANEAN SEA– The 28th U.S. Secretary of Defense, Lloyd J. Austin III visited the world’s largest aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), Dec. 20, 2023.
    During his visit, Secretary Austin addressed the Sailors aboard Gerald R. Ford, emphasizing the mission and its importance to security in the region.
    “When the call came, the Sailors of this ship answered. After the assault on October 7, the Ford was the first ship on station,” said Secretary Austin. “I know first-hand how difficult it is to be deployed from home… that’s why I wanted to be here with you and thank you for your patriotism and professionalism. I deeply, deeply appreciate it, and so does the President of the United States.”
    In the ship’s hangar bay, amid aircraft attached to the embarked Carrier Air Wing 8, Austin visited with Sailors, answered their questions, and presented coins to crew members in recognition of their outstanding performance throughout deployment.
    "The crew aboard Gerald R. Ford is resilient and motivated, and meaningfully contributing to the broader mission of strengthening regional deterrence," said Capt. Rick Burgess, Commanding Officer of USS Gerald R. Ford. "Though we remain on station in service to our nation, the love and support we receive from families and loved ones back home both sustains and inspires us to focus on our mission, and to perform at our best."
    Before departing, Austin toured the flight deck to witness aircraft launch from Gerald R. Ford’s state-of-the-art Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS), which replaced the steam catapults on Nimitz-class aircraft carriers.
    The Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group (GRFCSG) is conducting a scheduled deployment in U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. Sixth Fleet area of operations, demonstrating the commitment and power projection capability of the Navy’s globally deployed force. The GRFCSG provides an inherently flexible naval force capable of deploying across combatant commands to meet emerging missions, deter potential adversaries, reassure allies and partners, enhance security and guarantee the free flow of global commerce. In total, the GRFCSG is deployed with more than 5,000 Sailors across all platforms ready to respond globally to combatant commander tasking.
    For more information about the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), visit and follow along on Facebook: @USSGeraldRFord, Instagram: @cvn78_grford, Twitter: @Warship_78, DVIDS and LinkedIn at USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78).



    Date Taken: 12.20.2023
    Date Posted: 12.21.2023 17:00
    Story ID: 460555

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