THE NAVY LEAGUE OF THE UNITED STATES HAMPTON ROADS
Supporting the Sea Services
The Navy League has grown from its roots to become the foremost citizens’ organization to serve, support, and stand with all U.S. sea services – the Navy, Marine Corps, the Coast Guard, and the U.S. Flag Merchant Marine. Decade after Decade, the Navy League has demonstrated its leadership in advocating superior sea power to safeguard U.S. national security, protect American economic interests, and ensure freedom of the seas.
- To support the men and women of the sea services and their families
- To support policies and legislation that strengthen the Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and the U.S. Merchant Marines.
- To educate and motivate U.S. citizens about naval matters
- To educate government officials on important naval issues
Founded in 1902, the Navy League supports a strong Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and Merchant Marine as integral parts of a sound national defense. Through a number of programs, the Navy League educates and informs the American people about sea power in the nuclear age, works to better the conditions under which members of the sea services live and serve, supports he Reserve forces, and educates our youth in the customs and traditions of the Navy, the Marine Corps, the Coast Guard and the Merchant Marine through the means of the Naval Sea Cadet Corps. Along with many other programs supporting the sea services, the Navy League sponsors commissionings, which are not funded by the U.S. defense budget, of warships such as USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78).
Christening and commissioning are two very different ceremonies. Once a vessel is christened with the traditional champagne, she slides down into the water and enters the final phases of construction. After the vessel has completed rigorous testing and sea trials, the shipbuilder then deems the ship capable of performing her designed mission and prepared to join the fleet. Attended by heads of state, dignitaries, public officials and media, the grand commissioning ceremony culminates with raising the commissioning pennant to the masthead. For all purposes of law and tradition, the vessel then becomes a United States Ship. The Commanding Officer and crew come aboard and are entrusted with the responsibility of maintaining and operating their ship in peacetime and under conditions of war. This time-honored tradition for a crew- member to be pronounced a plankowner of a newly commissioned ship is a distinct honor and privilege.
In 2016, the U.S. Navy will commission the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), first of a new class of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers for the Fleet. The Ford will represent the first new class of aircraft carriers sinceUSS Nimitz (CVN 68) was commissioned in 1975, fittingly by President Gerald R. Ford. The Gerald R. Fordwill pioneer new technologies such as electromagnetic catapults and arresting gear, a new island structure, expanded flight deck that will allow aircraft to be launched faster than ever before, 250 percent more electrical power, two next-generation nuclear reactors, and 500 fewer crewmembers. We welcome you to be part of history in the making, in honoring the Gerald R. Ford and Crew.