Warner celebrates christening of aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy
U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) joined ship sponsor and former U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy, former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, the Navy and the shipbuilding community in celebration of the christening for aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) at the Newport News Shipbuilding facility in Newport News on Saturday.
In today’s remarks, Sen. Warner recognized Virginia’s strong defense community, including the more than 14,000 men and women who support the Commonwealth’s shipbuilding industry, and applauded the more than 800 ships built by Newport News Shipbuilding since its founding in 1886.
“We are gathered today in celebration of the Kennedy’s entrance into America’s storied carrier program but also in recognition of what it took to get here. I want to commend the nearly 5,000 shipbuilders each of whom played an indispensable role in building this ship. They truly are the greatest shipbuilders in the world,” said Sen. Warner in his remarks.
The John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) is the first aircraft carrier in the Ford Class to utilize electric power, replacing many legacy steam‐powered systems, and is the second aircraft carrier built by Newport News Shipbuilding named after JFK. The ship’s design will reduce necessary maintenance by 30 percent and is estimated to save the Navy more than $4 billion over the ship’s 50‐year life.
In October 2017, Sen. Warner joined Newport News Shipbuilding President Jennifer Boykin and shipbuilders on a tour of the main deck of the John F. Kennedy, which was only 60 percent complete at the time.
Sen. Warner has been a strong advocate of Virginia’s defense and shipbuilding community. He has supported a block buy of aircraft carriers, saving billions in taxpayer dollars; and pushed for robust funding for shipbuilding and ship-repair in the annual defense bill. In December 2017, Sen. Warner joined Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) and 15 Senators in a letter to then-Defense Secretary James Mattis to support a block buy. Earlier this week, Sen. Warner praised the Navy’s block buy of nine Virginia-class submarines that is poised to create 25,000 jobs in the region.