The USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) floated out of dry dock on 11 October and will commission at Newport News on 9 November. Founders Brewery of Grand Rapids, MI (US Navy veteran Ford represented the Congressional district from 1949 to 1973) will be sending 40 cases of beer with special commemorative labels to the commissioning ceremony.
Founders creates special label beer for USS Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier christening
GRAND RAPIDS, MI — When the nation’s newest aircraft carrier is christened this weekend, Founders Brewing Co. will be there.
The Grand Rapids brewery is shipping about 40 cases of a special label edition beer to Newport News, Va., for private consumption at the ceremony for the christening of the USS Gerald R. Ford on Saturday, Nov. 9.
The beer, the same dry-hopped pale ale Founders has been brewing for years, has essentially received a packaging makeover for the christening ceremonies.
Dave Engbers, Founders vice president and co-founder, said it’s always been company policy not to do special contract brews, but this situation is unique.
“When the government calls and they have a contract like this honoring your hometown president… it wasn’t a long conversation at Founders,” he said. “We’re like, ‘absolutely, we’ll do it.’”
The aircraft carrier, (CVN-78), was named for Gerald R. Ford based on the 38th president’s service aboard the light carrier Monterey in the Pacific Theater during World War II. A first-in-class carrier, it replaces the USS Enterprise.
On Saturday, Ford’s daughter, Susan Ford Bales, will break a bottle of sparkling wine over the ship’s bow. The hull then will be released from dry dock and set afloat.
Engbers said the brewery was contacted by the Newport News Shipbuilding team this summer about the special label beer. The beer will be served at a private party on Friday night, and Engbers said the ship building team wanted to make sure there were enough bottles for everyone to take home.
The pale ale will be served on draft with a commemorative postcard at several locations in Newport News this week.
The carrier team visited the brewery and asked specifically for the pale ale, he said.
“It’s an honor for us to be included,” said Engbers.
A photo and video montage of the nuclear powered aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN-65) during her first five years, 1961-1966.
Apropos of the Big E’s inactivation, here’s a photo I took of her on 19 June 2013 at Naval Station Norfolk. She was towed across to Huntington Ingalls at Newport News the next day.
Navy and shipyard sign $745 million Enterprise contract
June 29, 2013|By Michael Welles Shapiro, email@example.com | 757-247-4744
What does it cost to defuel and take apart one of the Navy’s most famed ships?
About $750 million, it turns out.
The Navy and Huntington Ingalls Industries came to terms on a contract for the inactivation of the USS Enterprise. The cost-plus-incentive fee contract allows for the ultimate price tag to be adjusted based on a formula under which the Navy and the shipbuilder would both share some of the burden of cost overruns.
The work will be done at Newport News Shipbuilder, the sole builder of U.S. aircraft carriers, which built the Big E and has handled its spent nuclear fuel rods in the past.
The 51-year-old Enterprise is the country’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, and as a result the contract is the first inactivation of such a ship.
“Although Newport News Shipbuilding has defueled and refueled many ships, including Enterprise, this is the first inactivation of a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier,” said Chris Miner, the shipyard’s vice president, of in-service aircraft carrier programs.
“Our shipbuilders know Enterprise well, and have enjoyed working on her over her decades of service,” Miner said in a news release. “We are extremely proud of her great legacy, so it is with heavy hearts that we will work to retire this one-of-a-kind ship.”
More than 1,000 shipyard workers are expected to support the inactivation, and the work in Newport News is set to run through September 2018, according to a contract award description posted by the Naval Sea Systems Command.
At that point, the ship will be towed to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Wash., which according to the Navy is the only yard that can dispose of the Enterprise’s eight nuclear reactors.
The reactors will be cut out of the hull of the ship and barged to the desert of Eastern Washington, for burial at a Department of Energy site.
The Enterprise was towed to Newport News Shipbuilding on June 20 from Naval Station Norfolk.
That voyage capped off a career that spanned more than half a century.
The flat top was the only ship in its class, and was built before the Nimitz-class carriers that now make up the U.S. carrier fleet.
Built by Newport News shipbuilders, the Big E aided in the naval blockade of Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis and took part in operations Enduring Freedom and New Dawn.
The ship once steamed through the seas with 200,000 horsepower and became one of four carriers in naval history to record 400,000 arrested landings of jet aircraft.
Enterprise completed its final combat deployment in November and was removed from military service the following month.
Since then, sailors have worked to prepare the ship for its eventual decommissioning.
The combat crew of 2,500 sailors has been whittled down to about 1,300. Eight gaping holes were visible in its hangar bay during its tow to Newport News.