USS Ronald Reagan Commissioned
Duprey, Susan, Sea Classics
CVN-76 is the first US carrier named for a living president. Vice President Dick Cheney, speaking at the commissioning ceremony 12 July also praised Reagan, saying today's Navy is in many ways a monument to his vision. By the time the two-term president left office in 1989, the Navy had nearly 600 ships - about twice the ships it has today.
"He came to the presidency with a clear understanding of the tools our Navy would need to protect the American people," Cheney told the crowd.
The Navy invited 20,000 people, from sailors' families to various dignitaries, to attend the ceremony.
The former president, now 92, is living with Alzheimer's disease and rarely appears in public. But former first lady Nancy Reagan, who christened the ship in 2001, was on hand to give the traditional order to "bring her to life" - which sends the sailors racing aboard the carrier.
At nearly 1100-ft-long and towering 20 stories above the waterline, the Reagan is expected to serve the Navy for more than 50 years. …