Hii Main Logo


What:Newport News shipbuilders will lift and place the 555-metric ton island onto
 the flight deck of Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), the first of the next-generation class of 
 nuclear-powered aircraft carriers. The ship’s sponsor and President and 
 Mrs. Gerald R. Ford’s daughter, Susan Ford Bales, will participate in the event. 
 Please note that this event by invitation only and is not open to the public.
When:Saturday, Jan. 26
 11 a.m. EST
 Media to arrive no later than 10 a.m.
Where:Media parking will be reserved in the shipyard’s North Yard parking lot. Media must 
 arrive no later than 10 a.m. to cover the ceremony. Transportation to the carrier will 
 be provided. 
 –  From I-64 (either westbound or eastbound)–
 –  Take Exit #264 to Interstate I-664 toward Downtown Newport News/ Suffolk
 –  Take Exit #5 (35th Street) to Warwick Blvd.
 –  Travel approximately 3 miles on Warwick Blvd.
 –  Immediately after 69th Street, make a U-turn on to Huntington Ave.
 –  Merge into the right lane and continue to bear right on to Shipyard Drive
 –  Continue downhill and stay straight, then follow signs to media parking 
RSVP: Please RSVP by noon on Wednesday, Jan. 23. Media must RSVP in advance to 
 gain access to the shipyard. You must present a photo ID and be a U.S. citizen 
 to be admitted to the event. 
 Christie Miller
 (757) 380-3581
 [email protected]
A webcast of the event will be provided at A live,
multi-camera satellite broadcast of the event also will be provided. Satellite information is as follows:
Satellite: GALAXY 3C
Transponder: K06 (slot A18)
Downlink Frequency 11805.5 Mhz
Downlink Polarity: Horizontal
FEC: 3/4
Symbol Rate: 14.385617 Mbps 
Video Format: 1080i 59.94 MPEG2 4:2:0
Service Channel: 3
Close Caption: NO
Truck Technical # 757-705-3198
Window Start: 10:30 a.m. (ET)
Window End: 12:30 p.m. ET +30 min. (approx)
Attire:Because this event will take place on the carrier flight deck, long pants and 
 comfortable, flat closed-toed shoes are required.

The landing of the island, the ship’s command center for flight deck operations, is a milestone in the modular construction of this nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. This step is part of a lengthy process in which smaller sections of the ship are welded together to form large structural units and then lifted into the dry dock. The 60-foot long, 30-foot wide island will be hoisted onto the flight deck using Newport News Shipbuilding’s (NNS) 1,050-metric ton gantry crane.

The ship’s sponsor will be joined by her husband and daughters, as well as her brother, Michael Ford, and his family. Other principals participating in the event will include CVN 78’s Prospective Commanding Officer Capt. John Meier; NNS President Matt Mulherin; and CVN 78 shipbuilders and sailors.

The island landing ceremony has also been referred to as a mast-stepping and dates back to ancient Rome where coins were put into the mast of a ship to ensure safe passage and good luck. The Ford island landing ceremony will continue this tradition. Each ceremony speaker has selected special mementos that will be placed under the island and will later be permanently welded inside it.

Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) designs, builds and maintains nuclear and non-nuclear ships for the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard and provides after-market services for military ships around the globe. For more than a century, HII has built more ships in more ship classes than any other U.S. naval shipbuilder. Employing nearly 38,000 in Virginia, Mississippi, Louisiana and California, its primary business divisions are Newport News Shipbuilding and Ingalls Shipbuilding. For more information, visit:

what are you looking for?


Satellite: GALAXY 17 (91 degrees west)      

Transponder: Ku Digital 10 – Ch.C (9 Mhz)

Downlink Frequency: 11904.5 

Downlink Polarity: Vertical

FEC: 2/3

Symbol Rate: 7.5

DVBS2, 8PSK TRANSMISSION, 4:2:0, 1080i

Window: 9 a.m.-1 p.m. EST on Saturday, Nov. 19

Note: The six minute video that begins the ceremonial keel laying for Arkansas (SSN 800) includes copyrighted materials from HII/Newport News Shipbuilding and others.

©2022 Huntington Ingalls Industries/All Rights Reserved