Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced yesterday the next Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier will be named USS John F. Kennedy.
The selection John F. Kennedy, designated CVN 79, honors the 35th President of the United States and pays tribute to his service in the Navy, in the government, and to the nation.
“President John F. Kennedy exemplified the meaning of service, not just to country, but service to all humanity,” said Mabus at the president’s namesake library in Boston on what would have been Kennedy’s 94th birthday.”I am honored to have the opportunity to name the next aircraft carrier after this great sailor and inspirational leader, and to keep the rich tradition and history of USS John F. Kennedy sailing in the U.S. Fleet.”
Born in Brookline, Mass., May 29, 1917, Kennedy graduated from Harvard in 1940, and entered the Navy in October 1941. During World War II, Kennedy took command of PT 109 at Tulagi Island in the Solomons, with a mission to intercept Japanese ships attempting to resupply their barges in New Georgia.
In the early morning hours of Aug. 2, 1943, Kennedy’s boat was struck by an enemy ship and split in half. During the course of the next six days, Kennedy led his crew members to safety and an eventual rescue. Kennedy received the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for the rescue of his crew and a Purple Heart for injuries he sustained when his ship was struck.
After his military service, Kennedy became a congressman representing the Boston area, he was elected to the Senate in 1953, and in 1961 became the youngest person to be elected president.
One previous ship, USS John F. Kennedy, CV 67, was named in his honor and was decommissioned in 2007, after nearly 40 years of service, including Operation Desert Storm. She is berthed at the NAVSEA Inactive Ships On-site Maintenance facility in Philadelphia.
The new ship will be constructed at Newport News Shipbuilding, Va., a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries.
The carrier is scheduled to enter the fleet in 2019. It is the second ship in the Gerald R. Ford class. The first-in-class Ford is under construction and scheduled to be delivered in 2015.