New Aircraft Carrier Marks Construction Milestone

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US Vice President Dick Cheney looks at a scale model of the new US Navy aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford (Photo credit: JASON REED/AFP/Getty Images)

US Vice President Dick Cheney looks at a scale model of the new US Navy aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford (Photo credit: JASON REED/AFP/Getty Images)

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NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — The Navy is marking a major milestone in the construction of its newest aircraft carrier.

The USS Gerald R. Ford is scheduled to be delivered to the Navy in 2015. On Saturday, civilian shipbuilders in Newport News placed the aircraft carrier’s island onto the ship’s flight deck.

The island serves as the command center for the ship’s flight operations and helps give the aircraft carrier its signature look. The Gerald R. Ford is the first aircraft carrier in its class and will replace the USS Enterprise, which was inactivated in December.

With shipbuilders and some of the ship’s future crew looking on, a crane hoisted the 555-metric ton island into place. In a long-standing tradition, commemorative mementos were placed under the island and will later be permanently welded inside it.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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