Over the weekend, President Donald Trump participated in the commissioning of the U.S.S. Gerald R. Ford, the U.S. Navy's newest aircraft carrier, which is the largest and most technologically advanced weapons platform in the world.
You can watch the president's full remarks at the commissioning ceremony in the video clip above.
The lead ship of her class, the Ford has a length of 1,106 feet, a beam of 134 feet, and its flight deck is 256 ft. wide. In the water, the 4.6-acre flight deck sits nearly 250 feet above the surface. Her displacement is roughly 100,000 long tonnes (2.2 million pounds) when fully crewed and equipped. Powered by two nuclear reactors designed specifically for her class, she can travel at a top of speed of 30 knots (35 mph) and won't need to be refueled for 20-25 years.
"American steel and American hands have constructed a 100,000-tonne message to the world: American might is second to none and we're getting bigger and better and stronger every day of my administration," the president said. "Wherever this vessel cuts through the horizon, our allies will rest easy and our enemies will shake with fear, because everyone will know that America is coming—and America is coming strong."
The Ford still must undergo additional sea trials—a requirement for all U.S. naval vessels—and won't go on its first deployment until sometime in 2020. When it does, it will carry up to 75 aircraft for a number of different missions and will also be equipped with the following defensive armaments:
- RIM-162 evolved seasparrow system
- RIM-116 rolling airframe system
- Phalanx close-in weapons system
The president had an additional special message for the Ford crew.
"A ship is only as good as the people who serve on it and the American sailor is the best anywhere in the world," he said. "Among you are great welders, radar technicians, machine operators and pilots you take pride in your work and America takes pride in you we love you. We are proud of you ...
"Together you are embarking on a truly great adventure. The journey will require all of your talents all of your efforts and all of your heart. As you know, the sea holds many challenges and threats, but starting today, you will face together as a team aboard this ship, which is your responsibility and your home.
"Three generations of Americans will eventually man these decks, perhaps even some of your own children and grandchildren. Someday you will inspire many more American patriots to follow your lead and to serve.
"One day when you are old and have lived a long—and hopefully happy and successful—life, you may find yourselves back aboard this ship, surrounded by your family to mark its decommissioning. On that day, our entire nation will honor not just this carrier, it will honor you and the role you will have played in keeping America safe, strong and free.
"To every patriot who will serve on this ship today and throughout history, I say this: Keep the watch, protect her, defend her and love her. Good luck and Godspeed."
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