Friday, October 2, 2015

New carrier Ford adds more crew comforts

New carrier Ford adds more crew comforts: Just when you thought its crew comforts couldn’t get better, the Navy’s new supercarrier added a few new extras.

Life aboard the Gerald R. Ford is the envy of Norfolk’s waterfront. It is not hard to imagine why. The flattop has 6,800 square feet of gym space, wider p-ways, a mess decks design that cuts down line length, fewer racks and private heads in the berthing areas, and more than 1,000 flat screen TVs with 30 high-definition channels (instead of the eight snowy channels common to most ships).

“This is a carrier built around the needs of the people,” said Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Launch/Recovery) 1st Class (AW) Jernelle Smith, who has been aboard for one year. “It’s very different from anything I’ve seen.”

Navy Times toured the ship on Sept. 23 to see the crew's progress in moving aboard and finishing spaces. Though still in construction, roughly 1,700 of 2,700 spaces have been turned over. Everything on the main deck and below is owned by the crew. Power cables and ventilation tubes no longer snake through most passageways. Steel bulkheads and decks are now covered with fresh paint and tile — and one berthing area added a unique twist.