Former US President John F. Kennedy’s daughter Caroline christened a new aircraft carrier, named after her father, at Newport News Shipbuilding on December 7. Caroline, the former US Ambassador to Japan, christened the Ford-class aircraft carrier, John F. Kennedy (CVN 79), in her father’s name for the second time. In 1967, she had launched a carrier named John F. Kennedy (CV 67) that served through the Vietnam war and into the post 9/11 era.
"I'm so proud to be the sponsor of this ship and bring her to life. The CVN 79 crew is fortunate to have such distinguished leaders, this is your day, and our chance to say thank you," said Caroline. She also thanked the Navy, Newport News Shipbuilding, the leadership and crew of Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) John F. Kennedy The Huntington-Ingalls Industries' Newport News Shipbuilding (HII-NNS) division ceremony was attended by more than 20,000 people.
While addressing the ceremony, Caroline talked about the legacy of the aircraft carrier named after the 35th US President and said that it will continue to represent her father proudly.
"Having a chance to get to know the people who served on the USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67), really gave me insight into who he was, and what kind of leader he was in a way that I wouldn't have had any other way,” she said.
“And, I know that's going to be just as true now with a whole new generation," she added.
The christening of the aircraft carrier comes at a time when China is planning to build another carrier to boost its fleet. The United States has been wary of China’s growing domination in the South China sea and recently decided to provide Vietnam with another coast guard cutter to boost patrol in the disputed region. While announcing the decision, the US Defense Secretary had deplored China’s unilateral effort to assert illegitimate maritime claims in the region which threatens other nations to access natural resources.