USS Gerald R. Ford --
Brig. Gen. Anthony Henderson, Deputy Commanding General, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force (2nd MEF) and Commanding General, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade (2nd MEB), visited the first-in-class aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) to gain a better understanding of Ford’s tactical capabilities, Oct. 27.
This visit is the General's first to an aircraft carrier, and comes as the U.S. Marine Corps pivots back to its roots as a sea-service fighting force. Throughout his visit the General noted that one of his priorities is to ensure that combined maritime, amphibious and aviation forces are trained to operate together.
“Naval warfighting means that we need to understand each other’s capabilities in order to ensure we are honing and refining our tactics, techniques and procedures to assure seamless integration and interchangeability for any mission that comes before us,” said Henderson.
During his visit, Henderson sat down with several crew members and received briefs from leadership on Ford’s unique flight deck design, advanced weapons elevators, electromagnetic aircraft launch system and advanced arresting gear, and discussed the ship’s unique command and control capabilities.
“To the untrained eye, the biggest difference between Ford-class and Nimitz-class carriers is the placement of the island, but Ford actually introduces a number of new warfighting systems, components and equipment that greatly increase her tactical abilities,” said Capt. Jeremy Shamblee, Ford’s executive officer.
2nd MEB, based out of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina will integrate with Ford during her first employment next year. Henderson believes this visit sets the stage for further strengthening the Marine Corps’ understanding of the unique capabilities Ford brings to the joint fight.
“It is evident that from the flight deck to the command and control suites below decks, USS Gerald R. Ford offers a Marine commander many powerful and modern warfighting capabilities when operating from the sea,” said Henderson. “ I am confident we will be prepared to fight with her forward when called upon.”
Ford is in port at Newport News Shipyard executing her Planned Incremental Availability, a six-month period of modernization, maintenance and repairs.