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Carrier Ford departs on first official deployment

Aircraft carrier USS Gerald R Ford departed Norfolk, Virginia, on 4 October for its first official deployment. (Janes/Michael Fabey)

The US aircraft carrier USS Gerald R Ford (CVN 78) departed Norfolk, Virginia, a bit after 1300 h local time on 4 October for its first official deployment.

The deployment was scheduled for 3 October, but had to be delayed because foul weather forced the halting and curtailment of port operations in Hampton Roads, US Navy (USN) officials said.

Ford will not be deployed as part of the USN's Global Force Management deployment like most of the other service ships in service. Instead, the carrier will be sent on a Retained Service deployment, Vice Admiral Daniel Dwyer, commander of United States 2nd Fleet and Joint Force Command, said on 26 September during a media briefing about USN plans for the carrier.

The ship's first Global Force Management deployment is slated to take place in 2023, Vice Adm Dwyer said.

The type of deployment is determined in a large part by command-and-control, USN officials said. The deployed force reports to the geographic combatant commander for Global Force Management deployments. For service-retained deployments, Admiral Michael Gilday, the chief of naval operations, maintains operational authority.

Captain Paul Lanzilotta, Ford commanding officer, said on 29 September during a pierside press conference in Norfolk, Virginia, in front of Ford , β€œWe're going to use the entire Atlantic as our playpen.”

Vice Adm Dwyer said, β€œThe deployment of USS Gerald R Ford's carrier strike group is the natural progression of our renewed commitment to the Atlantic.”

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