A 2014 South Dade High School graduate and Homestead native is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the aircraft carrier, PCU Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78).
Seaman Kristopher Allen is a boatswain’s mate aboard the Ford-class aircraft carrier operating out of Norfolk, VA.
A Navy boatswain’s mate is responsible for making sure that the ship is docked and refueled.
“I enjoy the people I’m surrounded by and the hands-on nature of the work,” Allen said.
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 (EMALS), 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 like that the ship is still in the shipyard and I can see my friends every so often,” Allen said.
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.
“It is the sailors who serve onboard Gerald R. Ford who comprise the weapons system of this ship,” said Capt. John F. Meier, Gerald R. Ford’s commanding officer. “Their enthusiasm and the commitment to excellence has created an infectiously positive command climate and they remain wholly committed to delivering this much needed asset to the fleet.”
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 do — being a part of a the ship’s initial crew. 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 be more disciplined,” Allen said. “It also has made me realize every thing we do is important to me.”
As a member of the U.S. Navy’s newest aircraft carrier, Allen and other Ford sailors are excited to be a part of the crew that will take this advanced war-fighting vessel on its first voyage to protect this country on the world’s oceans.