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Keel-laying planned for new aircraft carrier, the JFK

Keel-laying planned for new aircraft carrier, the JFK

Mike Gooding, 13News Now 6:53 p.m. EDT August 19, 2015

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WVEC) — Buddy Yates was there at the very beginning, with Caroline, Jackie and John John.

He was the original commanding Officer of the aircraft carrier named for America’s 35th President, John F. Kennedy.

He did a fantastic job as president of the United States.,” said Yates, now 91 years old, retired, and living in Virginia Beach. “He was certainly one of he greatest presidents we had, I’d say he was in the Lincoln-Washingon category of leaders.”

Now, seven years after the original USS JFK’s 2008 decommissioning, the Navy is getting ready to welcome a new John F. Kennedy, CVN-79. Newport News Shipbuilding, which made the first one, is about to do it again. The keel-laying is Saturday.

Yates says he and fellow JFK plank-owners and alumni can’t wait. He says his time on Kennedy was the highlight of his career.

“I used to ride to work and I’d think, this was the best job I ever had in my life,” he said. “And they’re paying me for it. And I wanted everybody on the ship to feel the same way.”

That keel-laying ceremony will take place Saturday at 10 a.m. at Newport News Shipbuilding. As for the old JFK, it’s currently at the Naval Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility in Philadelphia, Penn.

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