Caroline Kennedy Christens Ship Dedicated to Dad JFK While Joined by Daughters & Husband

Caroline Kennedy smashed a bottle of sparkling wine across a $11.4 billion ship on Saturday in Virginia, officially christening the new U.S. aircraft carrier named in her father’s honor.

The John F. Kennedy is expected to receive its official “USS” designation when it begins to be formally used by the Navy next year, according to the United Press International. Currently, the ship is “CVN 79,” with the CVN label referring to the fact that it’s a nuclear powered aircraft carrier.

“I’m so proud to be the sponsor of this ship and bring her to life,” Caroline said, the UPI reported. “The CVN 79 crew is fortunate to have such distinguished leaders. This is your day, and our chance to say thank you.”

This is the second time Caroline, now 62, has christened a ship named for her dad, who was in the Navy before becoming a politician, according to the Daily Press.

For the first ship’s christening, in 1967, Caroline was 9. For the second occasion, she was joined by her husband and two daughters.

“I never imagined that one day I would be standing here again in the same spot with my husband, Ed, and my own children, Rose and Tatiana, just as awestruck by the power of the U.S. Navy and the patriotism of what happens here,” she said, the Daily Press reported.

Caroline Kennedy officially christens a U.S. aircraft carrier named in honor of her father, former President John F. Kennedy.

The gigantic ship is about 1,100 feet long and is able to carry up to 90 aircraft, according to UPI.

“Today is the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, a day that forever changed the lives of brave American warriors like John F. Kennedy and transformed the way we fought as a Navy,” Thomas B. Modly, the acting secretary of the Navy, reportedly said Saturday.

“Much has changed over the past 78 years, but our nation, and our world, still needs brave American sailors like the ones who will operate and serve on this ship,” he continued. “Kennedy knew what it meant to serve, to lead, and to sacrifice and his legacy will continue with you.”

According to the UPI, the ship’s construction began with a “first cut of steel” ceremony in 2011 and has had more than 3,000 shipbuilders working on it throughout the last eight years.

Caroline Kennedy smashes a bottle of sparkling wine on the new John F. Kennedy ship during a ceremony Saturday.
Caroline Kennedy smashes a bottle of sparkling wine on the new John F. Kennedy Navy ship.

The John F. Kennedy is expected to have a working lifespan of about 50 years, according to UPI. Its seal “displays future naval aviation capabilities that the aircraft carrier will likely support throughout its estimated 50-year service life,” according to Cmdr. Jennifer Cragg of Naval Air Force Atlantic.

The ship is currently three months ahead of schedule and is expected to see use from the Navy as soon as next year, according to UPI.

UPI reported that the John F. Kennedy is the second in the Navy’s new Gerald Ford class of aircraft carriers, which are replacing the current class of ships and will reduce spending with modern technologies onboard.

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