The USS Gerald R. Ford is an American aircraft carrier that was completed in 2017 for a cost of just under 13.2 billion dollars. In 2018, Johnathan J. Cummings was named the commanding officer for the USS Gerald R. Ford. Specs of the ship include its height, which is about 250 feet, and its displacement is currently at 100,000 tons. The USS Gerald Ford has 2,600 crewmembers, 508 commissioned officers, and 3,789 enlisted men. The carrier has two A1B Nuclear reactors used for its internal power. Lastly it has four propulsion shafts. The Super Carrier, as it’s been called, is considered to be the largest aircraft carrier in the world. The carrier is named after the 38th President of the United States, Gerald R. Ford.
Behind the specifications of this impressive ship, is a crew who is willing to go above and beyond the call of duty to serve our nation during a time of great uncertainty. They are dedicated to ensuring that improvements are being continued on the carrier. John Cummings ensured that precautions were in place to protect the crew from coronavirus exposure. His exemplary leadership has ensured that operations are not grinding to a halt during this unprecedented pandemic. As a result of the early actions taken by Capt. Cummings and the crew/service members, there has been no reported Covid-19 on the USS Gerald R. Ford. Captain Cummings mentioned that even though they battle tested, they are taking precautions to ensure the safety of the crew on board. There has not even been a single instance of fever on board the Ford.
Precautions taken include closing the ship’s barber shop, knowing it is a hot spot for the spread of disease. The crew also took continued early action by minimizing large gatherings and requiring crew and service members to wear masks. They have even closed the ship’s coffee shop as it could present an undue opportunity for disease to spread. Crew also have easy access to sanitation supplies. These precautions have proven to be effective; as mentioned above there have been no cases of coronavirus on the ship. This can be attributed to the hard work and dedication of the crew on board the Ford.
In a video addressing his crew, Captain Cummings explained that even though there has been a pandemic, the crew on the ship have carried on with normal business. In his words, they’ve carried on their mission “as if there was no pandemic.” In his video, the Captain addressed all of the families who allowed Navy service members to fulfill their responsibilities; without them, the crew could not do the jobs they are so rightfully paid to do. He is correct, Navy families, or any families who have loved ones who serve in the military, often have to pick up the pieces and forge ahead on the homefront. Those who answer the call to service are a special class of people who will forever be the nations best and brightest.
According to an article in Navy Magazine, his crew has completed 237 catapult launches and 244 arresting gear landings. The members of Gerald Ford are meeting their goals daily. On May 10th, it completed its carrier qualifications with what the article called “a healthy crew.” It was the only aircraft carrier to be able to carry out carrier qualification assessments on the East Coast. Because of the leadership on board this ship, the crew has only had to deal with minor interruptions. Despite those minor interruptions, the Gerald R. Ford will continue to carry out future missions as well. Captain Cummings said that they are currently testing 17 different aircraft pilots for carrier qualifications. The Ford is also continuing to “embark on carry wing” according to the WTRK article and it will bring an additional 1200 servicemembers aboard the Ford. Additionally they are looking to add an additional advanced weapons elevator. These are just some of the initiatives the crew and their commander, John Cummings, have been able to complete during this unprecedented pandemic. At a time when just about everything in American life is trying to recover from COVID-19, the USS Gerald R. Ford is continuing with a business as usual mindset while successfully preventing widespread outbreak aboard the carrier.
If quick Decisive was not taken, officers like Chief Petty Officer Moses Brathwaite would not be able to find logistical solutions to keeping the USS Gerald R. Ford well supplied, with increased room for more supplies from the renovations being made. He claims the new improvements have made his job easier on the ship. “In my opinion, the store elevators on Ford have doubled or tripled the efficiency of the Nimitz-class storage elevators,” Brathwaite pointed out. The crew remained mission-ready and continued to carry out their responsibilities on the ship. Like Chief Petty Officer Brathwaite, there are many others on the ship who, despite the uncertainty in the world, are ready and willing to carry out the ship’s duties. Other officers like Commander Carl Koch who is the current Supply Officer for the Ford, has praised the impressive addition to the Nimitz-class carrier. People are able to conduct daily business and much needed carrier renovations have continued on schedule without delay. While other carriers still are combating the virus, the USS Gerald R. Ford is a model for avoiding the virus and the crew is able to conduct missions and hit its daily goals as needed. Another service member who has been able to continue his work because of the early interventions of his commanding officer, is Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Connor Leossin. He has been able to complete vertical supply missions for the aircraft carrier.
If there was an outbreak on the carrier, servicemembers like Moses Brathwaite, Carl Koch, and Connor Leossin would not be able to do their jobs. Capt. Cummings has clearly displayed exemplary leadership in ensuring the carrier is a safe place to work and remains battle tested for the future. Amidst worldwide chaos, the crew is able to conduct daily missions as needed to continue to meet the carrier’s daily goals. This is an encouraging situation in a world where everything seems bleak. Our nation’s finest continually deliver for us when we need them the most. I, for one, am proud to say this gives a nation desperate for good news some light at the end of a dark tunnel.
Capt. Cummings Addresses Crew for Armed Services Day:
Navy Military News: https://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=112982
Navy Military News (2):https://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=112952
Wtkr 3 News: