Trump, U.S. Navy commission carrier USS Gerald R. Ford

By Sam Howard  |  July 22, 2017 at 12:53 PM
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July 22 (UPI) -- With help from President Donald Trump, the U.S. Navy commissioned the USS Gerald R. Ford on Saturday at Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia.

The Navy's newest vessel is the lead ship in a new class of aircraft carriers. The carrier includes a new reactor plant, integrated warfare systems and dual band radar -- among a slew of technological features Trump praised in his address Saturday morning.

"American steel and American hands have constructed a 100,000-ton message to the world," Trump said. "American might is second to none."

Trump was among a guest list that included Defense Secretary James Mattis, Acting Navy Secretary Sean Stackley, former Vice President Dick Cheney, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and members of Congress.

"There is truly nothing like it in the world today," Stackley said of the new carrier, which is 1,106 feet long. The USS Gerald R. Ford will later be joined by the future USS John F. Kennedy, CVN 79, and the future USS Enterprise, CVN 80, as Ford-class vessels. The Navy expects to spend $43 billion on the ships.

Despite those plans, Trump said, the U.S. government has been stingy and inconsistent with its financial support of its military, prior to his time in office. He specifically called on Congress to pass a proposed budget, which he said will offer greater and more stable funding for the armed forces.

"It's been a very, very bad period of time for our military," Trump said.

The president called the USS Gerald R. Ford "the pride of the United States Navy."

He praised the military members and civilians who worked on developing and building the massive ship, impressing his hope that the carrier serves as "the deterrent that keeps us from having to fight in the first place."

But the new carrier, Trump said, will be key in any fight that may become necessary.

"We demand victory and we will have total victory," Trump said. "Believe me."

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