NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — The future John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) marked another milestone leading up to the christening of the second Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier as Huntington Ingalls Industries-Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) flooded the ship’s dry dock on Oct. 29.
The John F. Kennedy has been under construction at NNS in Newport News since 2015 and continues to prepare for its christening, which is scheduled for Dec. 7.
The JFK’s launching occurred about three months early, according to the original schedule for the carrier. Other milestones had been reached leading up to the dry dock flooding, including laying of the ship’s keel on Aug. 22, 2015, and placement of the 588-metric-ton island superstructure on May 29.
Capt. Todd Marzano, JFK’s commanding officer, and its crew participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony Oct. 1 to officially establish the crew and designate the building where the Sailors will work during the carrier’s continued construction.
Ensign Cheyenne Scarbrough, a John F. Kennedy crew member from San Francisco, brings a plethora of skillsets and experience to include the honor of being a double plank owner.
“Being assigned to the future John F. Kennedy allows me another chance to start from ground zero, streamline processes and bring the ship to life,” said Scarbrough, who has served 17 years in the U.S. Navy and received her commission in March. Scarbrough has served on USS Enterprise (CVN 65), USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) and USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78).
While Scarbrough brings experience on both Nimitz and Ford-classes of aircraft carriers, Senior Chief Logistics Specialist David Adkins brings his experience serving on board the first USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67).
“I embarked on board USS John F. Kennedy while assigned to VFA-81 in 2004,” said Adkins, an 18-year veteran from Jacksonville, Florida. “For me being part of ship’s company now is definitely a point in my career where I have gone full circle.”
Marzano, who served on board USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) while it underwent maintenance at NNS as future John F. Kennedy’s keel was laid, emphasized his perspective in leading his crew throughout the ship’s construction.
“CVN 79 has come a long way since I first observed initial construction in the dry dock back in 2015 following the keel laying,” Marzano said. “At that point I had no idea I’d be fortunate enough to be the ship’s first commanding officer, and I’m incredibly honored, humbled and excited to be given the opportunity to lead such an amazing team of high-quality crew members.”