Saturday, May 1, 2010

On Yankee Station: A Look Back At The Aircraft Carrier USS Kitty Hawk During The Vietnam War, 1970-1971

My role in the Vietnam War was a minor one.

I served as an 18-year-old seaman on the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk.

The Kitty Hawk performed combat operations on "Yankee Station" off the coast of Vietnam in 1970 and 1971. During the Kitty Hawk's Vietnam deployment, the carrier's aircraft dropped a record 22, 540, 051 tons of ordnance on the enemy.

We brought it to the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong positions, military installations and supply routes in support of American and South Vietnamese troops.

Air combat operations are fast-paced and precarious as the carrier launches and recovers aircraft around the clock. With vast amounts of jet fuel, bombs, missiles and rockets on board, an accident or a fire on a carrier can be a truly deadly affair.

Although we put in hard, long and dangerous hours, we knew our constant pounding of the communists kept our brothers "in-country" alive. And thanks in part to naval air power, we never lost a battle over company strength during the entire course of the war.

Below are some photos of the USS Kitty Hawk's air operations. The pages are from my 1970-1971 cruise book:



I'm proud of the small role I played on this great warship.

The USS Kitty Hawk retired from active duty on January 31, 2009.

You can read my Counterterrorism magazine piece on the Vietnam War via the below link:

Note: You can click on the above photos to enlarge.


  1. I'm a veteran of the USS KITTY HAWK CVA63 WestPac 64,65,66.I was discharged Oct.66,when I walked away from that ship I had mixed emotions,yes I was headed home but I was leaving a part of my life I'll never forget,3yrs of adventure as a kid 18-21,looking back now seems very short,experiencing a lot of places in this world including the Vietnam War. I to am very proud to have served on this great warship.Thanks Paul

  2. Great one Paul. Thanks. I was on the Kitty in 1992. Bobby

  3. Artie,

    Yes, it was an adventure that I will never forget.

    Thanks, shipmate.


  4. Your article and photos evoke many memories. I was there in the legal office beginning in '82 for three years as a newly commissioned LDO/JAGC. I had a love-hate relationship with the ship that will be with me forever.

  5. R.T.,

    I'll always remember my WESTPAC cruise on the Kitty Hawk.

    Thanks for writing, shipmate.


  6. Was there from 66-71. Any one remember how close we came to shore?

  7. Hello Shipmate. I just found this article and really enjoyed it. I say shipmate as I was a MM2 assigned to #2 Main ER during the 70/71 cruise. (My picture is in the cruise book). I left the Hawk in December 71 when I was separated from active duty. That period was one of the best of my life. I will always remember the good times and great shipmates. God Speed and welcome home. Jerry Edwards.

  8. Jerry, ole shipmate,

    Glad you liked the piece and glad it brought back some fond memories (and I didn't even go into our good liberty times in Olongapo, Hong Kong or Sasebo - Ha).

    Thanks for writing.


  9. This comment has been removed by the author.