St. George sailor serves aboard Navy’s newest carrier

Airman Apprentice Jared Pace, Date and Location not given | Photo courtesy of Navy Office of Community Outreach, St. George News

NORFOLK – A 2010 Desert Hills High School graduate and St. George native is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the aircraft carrier PCU Gerald R. Ford –CVN 78.

The Honorable Dr. Ernest Moniz, secretary of U.S. Department of Energy, Rear Adm. Frank Caldwell, director of Naval Reactors, Pre-Commissioning Unit Gerald R. Ford's (CVN 78) commanding officer Capt. John F. Meier and distinguished visitors view "no-load" testing aboard the ship's flight deck during a scheduled visit to the ship. Ford is scheduled to commission in 2016. Newport News, Virginia, March 7, 2016 | U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Patrick Grieco/Released, via USS Gerald R. Ford - CVN 78 - via Facebook page with posted note "This image was altered for security purpose by blurring out security badges"; St. George News
The Honorable Dr. Ernest Moniz, secretary of U.S. Department of Energy, Rear Adm. Frank Caldwell, director of Naval Reactors, Pre-Commissioning Unit Gerald R. Ford’s (CVN 78) commanding officer Capt. John F. Meier and distinguished visitors view “no-load” testing aboard the ship’s flight deck during a scheduled visit to the ship. Ford is scheduled to commission in 2016. Newport News, Virginia, March 7, 2016 | U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Patrick Grieco/Released, via USS Gerald R. Ford – CVN 78 – via Facebook page with posted note “This image was altered for security purpose by blurring out security badges”; St. George News

Airman Apprentice Jared Pace is an aviation boatswain’s mate (handling) aboard the Ford-class aircraft carrier operating out of Norfolk, Virginia.

A Navy aviation boatswain’s mate (handling) is responsible for maintaining a state of readiness for firefighting and salvage operations on the flight deck.

“I really enjoy the drills we do as a part of my rate,” Pace said. “It gets me psyched for my job.”

Named after the 38th president, Gerald Rudolph Ford Jr., the Ford-class aircraft carrier is 1,092 feet long and hosts a wide array of quality-of-life improvements and state-of-the-art upgrades from a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier.

New technology, including a new reactor plant, propulsion systems, electric plant, electromagnetic aircraft launch system, advanced arresting gear and integrated warfare systems enables the Navy to operate the ship with less manpower, contributing to the Navy saving approximately $4 billion in total ownership costs over the ship’s 50‐year life when compared to Nimitz-class.

“I love the people at this command,” Pace said. “The senior people here really care about you and want to see you succeed.”

Pre-Commissioning Unit Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) Sailors, assigned to the ship's Combat Systems department, practice loading an inert-dummy RIM-162 Evolved SeaSparrow Missile into the portside-aft NATO Sea Sparrow Missile System launcher. Training with inactive and dummy rounds helps prepare these Sailors for later evolutions involving the loading of live ordnance. Ford is scheduled for commissioning in 2016. Newport News, Virginia, March 9, 2016 | U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Patrick Grieco/Released, via USS Gerald R. Ford - CVN 78 - via Facebook page; St. George News
Pre-Commissioning Unit Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) Sailors, assigned to the ship’s Combat Systems department, practice loading an inert-dummy RIM-162 Evolved SeaSparrow Missile into the portside-aft NATO Sea Sparrow Missile System launcher. Training with inactive and dummy rounds helps prepare these Sailors for later evolutions involving the loading of live ordnance. Ford is scheduled for commissioning in 2016. Newport News, Virginia, March 9, 2016 | U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Patrick Grieco/Released, via USS Gerald R. Ford – CVN 78 – via Facebook page; St. George News

Approximately 170 officers and 2,000 enlisted men and women make up the ship’s company, each highly specialized and operating in a number of jobs ranging from managing shipboard telecommunications networks and damage control systems to maintaining machinery and weapons.

With more than 40 new or modified systems, Ford sailors are unique in their training as many are among the first in the fleet to train on and operate the ship’s cutting edge technology.  The crew continues to explore innovative training solutions as sailors prepare to take ownership of equipment and systems from contractors and shipbuilders.

“The true weapon system of this ship is the crew,” Capt. John F. Meier, the aircraft carrier’s commanding officer, said. “Our Sailors are earning quite an impressive reputation on the waterfront for our passion, enthusiasm and dedication. There is no doubt this is a crew that is well led, trained and wholly committed to bringing this great ship into service.”

While Ford has yet to conduct its first mission abroad, those serving aboard this ship will experience things that most sailors don’t get to, being a part of a the ship’s initial crew.

Sailors learn how to properly fight a fire during a general quarters drill aboard Pre-Commissioning Unit Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78). This ship-wide general quarters drill focused on damage control and emergency responses. Newport News, Virginia, March 10, 2016 | U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ryan Litzenberger/Released, via USS Gerald R. Ford - CVN 78 - via Facebook page; St. George News
Sailors learn how to properly fight a fire during a general quarters drill aboard Pre-Commissioning Unit Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78). This ship-wide general quarters drill focused on damage control and emergency responses. Newport News, Virginia, March 10, 2016 | U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ryan Litzenberger/Released, via USS Gerald R. Ford – CVN 78 – via Facebook page; St. George News

The crew must be highly motivated and adapt quickly to changing conditions to ensure the ship is ready to defend America at all times when called upon. There are high expectations for this ship and its sailors; however, the crew is thriving under pressure.

“The Navy has taught me to apply the idea of being ‘ship-shape’ to all aspects of my life,” Pace said.

As a member of the U.S. Navy’s newest aircraft carrier, Pace and other Ford sailors are part of the crew that will take this advanced war-fighting vessel on its first voyage to protect the United States on the world’s oceans.

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