"President John F. Kennedy exemplified the meaning of service, not just to country, but service to all humanity," the Navy Times quoted Navy Secretary Ray Mabus as saying Sunday. "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."
Kennedy joined the Navy in October 1941 and took command of PT 109 in the Pacific Theater during World War II. On a mission to intercept Japanese vessels, his boat was struck by an enemy ship, splitting it in half.
Kennedy led his crew members to safety over the next six days and he received a Purple Heart for the injuries he received when his boat was struck. He was also awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal.
It is the second aircraft carrier to be named after Kennedy. The CV 67 was also named in his honor. It was decommissioned in 2007 after nearly 40 years of service, including Operation Desert Storm.
The Gerald R. Ford-class carrier will be built at Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia. The San Diego Union-Tribune reported the nuclear-powered carrier is to be completed by 2019.