President Donald Trump is championing what he describes as America’s return to global military prominence.
Trump spoke Saturday at the official commissioning of the aircraft carrier the USS Gerald Ford at Norfolk, Virginia.
Trump said there has been “a shortfall in military readiness” and decries “a very, very bad time” for the US military” in previous years.
Trump hails the $12.9 billion next-generation aircraft carrier as symbolic of a new era when “everyone will know that America is coming and America is coming strong.”
He declared that the most advanced aircraft carrier to join the US Navy will cause America’s enemies to “shake with fear” whenever they see its form cutting across the horizon.
“I hereby place United States Ship Gerald R. Ford in commission,” Trump said after delivering a speech in which he praised the U.S. military and the American labor that went into building the 100,000 ton, $12.9 billion warship.
“May God bless and guide this warship and all who shall sail in her,” Trump said.
He was followed shortly by Susan Ford Bales, the ship’s sponsor and daughter of the 38th president, whom the ship honors.
“There is no one, absolutely no one, who would be prouder of the commissioning of this mighty ship than the president of the United States, Gerald R. Ford,” she said. “I am honored to give the command: ‘Officers and crew of the United States Gerald R. Ford, man our ship and bring her to life.'”
Docked at Naval Station Norfolk, the USS Ford eventually will house about 2,600 sailors, 600 fewer than the previous generation of aircraft carriers. The Navy says that will save more than $4 billion over the ship’s 50-year lifespan.
The air wing to support the Ford could add more personnel to the ship, which is designed to house more than 4,600 crew members.