Rep. Rob Wittman visits USS Ford at sea

Congressman Rob Wittman (R-Va.) speaks with Culinary Specialist 1st Class Naomi Jackson, assigned to USS Gerald R. Ford's (CVN 78) supply department, during a tour of the ship. Ford is underway conducting test and evaluation operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Connor D. Loessin)

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — U.S. Representative Rob Wittman (R-1st District of Virginia) became the first elected official to visit USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) while the ship was underway in the Atlantic Ocean.

Wittman flew aboard the ship to meet sailors and observe Ford-class carrier operations Nov. 5 through Nov. 6.

Congressman Rob Wittman (R-Va.) is greeted by Capt. Richard McCormack, USS Gerald R. Ford’s commanding officer, before beginning a tour of the ship. Ford is underway conducting test and evaluation operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Connor D. Loessin)

The congressman is the chairman on the House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee.

He was welcomed aboard by Ford’s Commanding Officer, Capt. Richard McCormack, Executive Officer Capt. Brent Gaut and the Command Master Chief Laura Nunley.

Wittman got the opportunity to extensively tour the ship and live and eat like a sailor. He commented on the efforts of the culinary specialists aboard Ford to feed the entire crew.

He also got to test out some of the equipment the sailors use when fighting fires, including the Naval Infrared Firefighting Thermal Imager (NIFTI), while visiting a damage control repair locker.

Sailors got an opportunity to highlight some of the improvements in the carrier’s design, including the redesigned hangar deck.

Ford is currently underway conducting tests and evaluation operations.