95.3 / 88.5 FM Grand Rapids and 95.3 FM Muskegon
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

USS Gerald R. Ford commissioning celebration Saturday at Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum

Wikimedia Commons

Tomorrow at Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia the USS Gerald R. Ford will be commissioned. The first of the new super class carrier is a $13 billion marvel that will officially be placed on active duty Saturday.

In Grand Rapids, the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum is hosting commissioning ceremony events.

“Well, it’s not every day that someone has an aircraft carrier named after them.”

That’s Joel Westphal, Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum and Library Deputy Director.

“There are only a number of aircraft carriers in service at any given time and some of them, of course, are named after presidents and it’s a great honor for President Ford to have this carrier named after him.”

Westphal describes his emotions in anticipation of Saturday’s commissioning.

“Well, I think this is a great event. It’s a great honor to President Ford. The carrier itself is a marvel of engineering. The fact that it’s going to allow the kind of force projection that the navy needs and also to be able to provide it with, my understanding, is 1,000 less crew members which is certainly an undertaking. We have a very large event going on at the museum on the 22nd. It begins here at 9:30 AM where we’ll have a lot of family friendly activities going on. We are also having a very special guest, Admiral Patrick Walsh. Now Admiral Patrick Walsh, in my world being from the Navy, is what we call a rock star. He was the Vice Chief of Naval Operations, which was the number two guy on the military side in the U.S. Navy, and then went on to be Commander of the Pacific Fleet. He will be talking, we’re going to have the Salvation Army Band here. Other special events we’re going to have a live stream from Norfolk for the commissioning.”

Admission at the museum will be free of charge.

WGVU.org will also stream events live through our LZ Michigan page.

Patrick Center, WGVU News.

Patrick joined WGVU Public Media in December, 2008 after eight years of investigative reporting at Grand Rapids' WOOD-TV8 and three years at WYTV News Channel 33 in Youngstown, Ohio. As News and Public Affairs Director, Patrick manages our daily radio news operation and public interest television programming. An award-winning reporter, Patrick has won multiple Michigan Associated Press Best Reporter/Anchor awards and is a three-time Academy of Television Arts & Sciences EMMY Award winner with 14 nominations.