NewsLocal News


Florida sailors serve on the USS Gerald R Ford, the largest aircraft carrier in the world

USS Gerald R Ford
Posted at 2:30 PM, Feb 19, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-20 10:46:24-05

NORFOLK, Va. — More than 4,000 sailors call the world's largest aircraft carrier home. Some of those sailors are from Florida, and they perform a variety of jobs on the ship.

To the untrained eye, it may look like a normal ship. However, others describe it differently.

"It's like a floating city because we have everything that we need," said Joseph Bordelon, a second-class hospital corpsman from Orlando.

The USS Gerald R Ford is named after the 38th president, who's also a former Navy Lieutenant Commander. The carrier's primary objective is to launch and recover aircraft, such as the F-18. It's meant to protect our waters and allies.

The earth is 70% water and more than 90% of transoceanic data traffic is run through underwater cables, protected by the Navy and sailors like Bordelon.

He takes care of anyone in need whether they are docked or on deployment.

"You are the main medical capability for the sailor and staff on board," Bordelon said.

Some of those sailors include Miami native Jamil Blanco, who's a weapons specialist on the Ford.

"We move bombs and missiles around through the ships and get them through the flight deck so jets can take off with them," he explained.

While out at sea, they can be gone for six to nine months at a time on deployment, leaving family behind in Norfolk and Florida.

"I would definitely love to go back to Florida if I can," Blanco said.

Bordelon says he also has fond memories of Florida and enjoyed his time down here.

It's time now spent in Norfolk whether serving underwater, on a helicopter, or on the water.

"It’s awesome to be working on a ship now as it is," Blanco said.

Each sailor has a story, a purpose, and a place they will always consider home.

If you're a veteran or have a loved one in the military, there are resources out there for you: