NEWPORT NEWS -- Newport News Shipbuilding began flooding dry dock 12 Friday morning, where the aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford has been under construction since November 2009.

Susan Ford Bales, daughter of the ship's namesake, was in attendance.

With the push of a dozen buttons, Ford Bales initiated the flow of more than 100 million gallons of water into the dry dock.

'Flooding of the dry dock, floating of the ship, and transfer to the outfitting pier all represent the successful completion of a tremendous amount of hard work by our talented shipbuilders,' said Rolf Bartschi, NNS' vice president of CVN 78 carrier construction. 'The shipbuilding team has taken great pride in building this first-of-class ship, and we all look forward to the next phase of ship construction and testing that will occur at the pier.'

The ship's christening is scheduled for November 9.

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