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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 473-03
July 01, 2003

Navy Commissions Aircraft Carrier Ronald Reagan (CVN 76)

The Navy’s newest nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) will be commissioned Saturday, July 12, 2003, during an 11 a.m. EDT ceremony at Norfolk Naval Station, Va..

Vice President Richard Cheney will deliver the ceremony’s principal address. Nancy Reagan, wife of the ship’s namesake, will serve as ship’s sponsor. In the time honored Navy tradition, she will give the order to "man our ship and bring her to life!"

Capt. J. W. Goodwin of Dublin, Ga., is the first commanding officer of a ship named to honor America’s 40th president Ronald Reagan who was born in Tampico, Ill., Feb. 6, 1911. With a crew of more than 5,500 men and women, including embarked air wing personnel, Ronald Reagan will be homeported in San Diego as a member of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

Construction of the ninth Nimitz class ship took place at Northrop Grumman Newport News,Va., starting with the ship’s keel laying Feb. 12, 1998, and christening Mar. 4, 2001.

Ronald Reagan towers 20 stories above the waterline, displaces approximately 95,000 tons of water, has a flight deck width of 252 feet, and at 1,092 feet long, is nearly as long as the Empire State Building is tall. This floating airfield has a flight deck that covers 4.5 acres. Reagan’s two nuclear reactors are capable of more than 20 years of continuous service without refueling, providing virtually unlimited range and endurance, and a top speed in excess of 30 knots.

The ship will support a wide variety of aircraft, including the F/A-18 Hornet and F/A-18 Super Hornet strike fighters, the F-14 Tomcat fighter, the E-2 Hawkeye airborne early warning aircraft, the C-2 Greyhound logistics aircraft, the S-3 Viking anti-submarine aircraft, the EA-6 Prowler electronic warfare aircraft and the multi-role SH-60 and MH-60 helicopters.

Plans are in progress to broadcast the ceremony live by satellite, live to on-site media, and live via streaming video to the web, through the Naval Media Center. Satellite coordinates will be available in early July.

For more information about media coverage of Ronald Reagan, contact the public affairs officer by e-mail pao@reagan.navy.mil or call (757) 443-8354 or 444-3373. Information about Ronald Reagan is available at www.reagan.navy.mil. Information about the commissioning ceremony is available at www.ussronaldreagan.org[link no longer available].

Information on Nimitz-class carriers can be found by visiting: http://www.chinfo.navy.mil/navpalib/factfile/ships/ship-cv.html.