Trump commissions USS Gerald R. Ford in Virginia

USS Gerald R. Ford CVN 78
In this photo provided by the U.S. Navy, the USS Gerald R. Ford embarks on the first of its sea trials to test various state-of-the-art systems on its own power for the first time Saturday, April 8, 2017. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ridge Leoni/Released)

NORFOLK, Va. — Something happened on Saturday in Virginia that hasn’t happened in more than 49 years.

The world’s newest aircraft carrier had its flagship commissioned, named after West Michigan native Gerald R. Ford.

“I hereby place United States Ship Gerald R. Ford in commission,” President Donald Trump said, as he officially commissioned the most technologically advanced warship in the U.S. Navy. “May God bless and guide this warship and all who shall sail in her.”

Acting Secretary of the Navy Sean Stackley said it was available for the President’s use.

“Mr. President, one of your predecessors famously remarked, ‘Speak softly and carry a big stick.’ We offer you sir, a big stick,” Stackley said.

When the ship is fully operational, as many as 75 aircraft will be stored in the hanger bay where the event was held. On the flight deck, a plane can be launched every 60 seconds.

In Grand Rapids, hundreds of people spent the morning at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum to watch a free viewing of the ship’s commissioning.

Attendees were also given the opportunity to take a free tour of the museum and write letters to crew members that will work aboard the vessel.

The USS Gerald R. Ford is expected to be put into service almost immediately.