Home Americas US Navy‘s newest carrier Ford begins first combat deployment

US Navy‘s newest carrier Ford begins first combat deployment

Photo: Dvids

USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), the first-in-class aircraft carrier of the Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group (GRFCSG), departed Naval Station Norfolk on May 2 for a routine deployment.

The second deployment of the flagship Ford marks its initial combat mission, after a two-month deployment to the US 2nd and 6th Fleet regions in the fall of 2022.

With three full ship shock trials under its belt, the GRFCSG offers a versatile naval force that can deploy across combatant commands, adapt to emerging missions, deter adversaries, assure allies and partners, bolster security, and ensure the unhindered flow of global commerce.

Comprising CSG 12 staff, Carrier Air Wing 8, DESRON 2 staff and units, Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60), and the Information Warfare Commander, the GRFCSG deploys over 6,000 sailors across all platforms to respond globally to combatant commander’s tasking, with Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Ramage (DDG 61), USS McFaul (DDG 74), and USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116) serving as part of DESRON 2.

The squadrons of CVW-8 on the Gerald R. Ford include the Tridents, Bear Aces, Rawhides, Ragin’ Bulls, Blacklions, Golden Warriors, Tomcatters, Gray Wolves, and Spartans, each with its own unique name and location, such as Virginia Beach and Whidbey Island, and specialized capabilities in areas like logistics support, electronic attack, and maritime strike.

“The sailors of Gerald R. Ford are ready and able to perform because of the strenuous training they have put in to get this ship ready to deploy, and also in large part to the support of their families and friends,” said Capt. Rick Burgess, Ford’s commanding officer. “This ship and crew are actively reshaping the face of our Navy’s capabilities and strengthening the future of naval aviation.”

Rear Adm. Greg Huffman, commander, Carrier Strike Group 12 said “Our presence at sea throughout the deployment will provide reassurance to our partners and Allies that sea lanes will remain open and our joint operations will demonstrate our commitment to interoperability and maritime stability.”

As the lead ship of the Ford-class, CVN 78 represents a step forward in the navy’s global power projection capabilities as showed during the combat systems qualification trials. Introducing 23 new technologies, including the electromagnetic aircraft launch system, arresting gear, and weapons elevators, the Ford-class carriers enable higher sortie rates with a 20% reduction in crew size compared to Nimitz-class carriers.