Photo by Ashley Cowan

Time Capsule Installed on Kennedy

Published May 17, 2022

Shipbuilders welded a time capsule last month inside the flight deck control room of John F. Kennedy (CVN 79). The time capsule contains coins that were placed under the 588-ton island by NNS and Navy leaders during a ceremonial island landing event in
May 2019.

“As shipbuilders, and as a project team, this entire ship is our gift to the future. We have our hands all over this and our hearts all in it,” said Dave White, CVN 79 topside construction director. He called the time capsule “an opportunity to send a message to the future warfighters who will serve on this ship.”

In addition to coins from the 2019 mast-stepping ceremony during the island landing, the time capsule includes a letter from Caroline Kennedy, former President John F. Kennedy’s daughter who serves as the ship’s sponsor, to Capt. Todd Marzano, the aircraft carrier’s first commanding officer. Mast-stepping recognizes an ancient maritime custom of placing a coin at the base of a mast of a ship under construction to bring good fortune.

The time capsule also includes other letters to future ship leaders, miscellaneous leadership coins and memorabilia – including a face mask to represent the COVID-19 pandemic.

John Leigh (X11) and Cyrus Canty (X18) fitted and welded the time capsule during the ceremony. “I’ve been working on the island most of my career in the shipyard, so it was actually very important for me to be a part of this ceremony today,” said Leigh, who has worked at NNS for about five years.

A shipbuilder for 10 years, Canty said he looks forward to seeing Kennedy join the Navy’s fleet. “Participating in this event means a lot to me. I feel like I’m a part of history,” he said.

Speaking just before the time capsule was placed and welded into CVN 79 by Canty and Leigh, Marzano – whose aviator wings are included in the time capsule – said serving as Kennedy’s first commanding officer was “an absolute honor and privilege.”

“It’s always an honor when I get to participate in these milestone events, which signify great progress as we prepare to deliver this ship to the fleet so it can serve our nation for many generations to come,” he said. Earlier this month, Capt. Colin P. Day assumed command of CVN 79 from Marzano.

The time capsule is set to be opened during Kennedy’s mid-life refueling and complex overhaul. Watch a video of the time capsule ceremony on MyNNS.