Washington, D.C. The Navy said Tuesday its next aircraft carrier will be named the USS Gerald R. Ford in honor of the late president, a tribute to his love of the Navy.
Ford, who served in the Navy during World War II, died Dec. 26 at his home in Rancho Mirage, Calif., at 93. Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had said the Navy was planning the honor during a eulogy at Ford's funeral.
Susan Ford Bales said her father had mentioned the impending honor in a letter to a friend shortly before his death. He wrote, "In my life, I have received countless honors, but none was greater than the opportunity to wear the uniform of lieutenant commander of the United States Navy."
The 1,092-foot-long aircraft carrier, with capacity for a crew of 4,660, is the first in a new line of carriers and is expected to be commissioned in seven to eight years, officials said.