After spending over twelve years in the shipyard in Newport News, the US Navy‘s largest aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78), has recently departed from its naval homeport for its first global deployment.

The lead ship of her class, the USS Gerald R. Ford, previously conducted operations and training exercises in the Atlantic Ocean following its commissioning in 2017. She replaced the decommissioned USS Enterprise (CVN-65), which ended her over half-a-century active service in December 2012. The massive aircraft carrier returned to Naval Station Norfolk in late 2022 after her two-month maiden deployment to undergo refit and rest for its crew.

By May, Ford had completed its preparations for its second deployment and, together with the Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group (GRFCSG), left its homeport to join the US Pacific Fleet on Thursday, May 2.

Embarking on a 7-month-long Deployment

During the departure ceremony, Commander of Carrier Strike Group 12 (CSG-12), Rear Admiral Greg Huffman, highlighted the importance of the GRFCSG in maintaining peace and stability at sea and reassuring American partners and Allies of its commitment to “interoperability and maritime stability,” particularly in the Pacific region.

This second deployment of Ford also marks the flagship’s first combat deployment and will “operationalize” new technologies installed during the last two months of refitting.

At the ceremony, Ford’s commander Captain Rick Burgess expressed his confidence in the ship’s crew and their readiness for the upcoming seven-month-long deployment. He emphasized how the crew’s rigorous training and support from their families and friends have prepared them for this mission.

USS Gerald R. Ford Deployment 2023
USS Gerald R. Ford’s second deployment ceremony (Image source: DVIDS)

Moreover, Burgess highlighted the significance of Ford and her crew’s contribution to “the future of naval aviation” and how they “are actively reshaping” the capabilities of the US Navy by expanding its scope in preparation for future challenges.

The CSG-12, established in early 2022, is the Navy’s newest strike group led by the aircraft carrier Ford. It is a highly versatile and “inherently flexible naval force” capable of rapid deployment to different regions of the world—as needed. It strives to handle emerging missions, deter potential adversaries, reassure allies and partners, enhance security, and ensure the free flow of global commerce.