This is a sad day for the former sailors, airmen, and Marines who served on the USS Kitty Hawk over the years.
The once great aircraft carrier left Bremerton, Washington today on her final voyage to Brownsville, Texas, where she will be torn up for scrap metal.
As I've noted here before, my late father took me to the Philadelphia Navy Yard for the USS Kitty Hawk's commissioning in 1961.
In 1970, when I was 17, I reported aboard the Kitty Hawk. I served for two years on the aircraft carrier and was aboard for the warship's 5th Vietnam cruise, serving on "Yankee Station" in the Gulf of Tonkin in the South China Sea off North Vietnam.
During the 1970-1971 WESTPAC cruise, the Kitty Hawk made port of calls to Honolulu, Hawaii, Subic Bay in the Philippines, Sasebo, Japan, and Hong Kong.
The Kitty Hawk returned to Philadelphia in 1987 for an overhaul. I was then the civilian administrative officer for a Defense Department command that oversaw the contractors hired for the overhaul, so I went aboard my old ship several times during her Philadelphia stay.
For all of the military who served aboard her and the civilian yardbirds who worked on her, the USS Kitty Hawk will be remembered fondly.
For nearly half a century, from April 29, 1961 to May 12, 2009, the USS Kitty Hawk projected American power around the world and protected America in war and peace. The USS Kitty Hawk will be remembered well in American History.
Note: The above and below photos of the Kitty Hawk being pulled out were taken by Bruce McDugald, who posted the photos on the USS Kitty Hawk Cv-63 Facebook Page.
Below are photos of the USS Kitty Hawk in Philadelphia in 1987, the USS Kitty Hawk passing the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor on the way to the Vietnam War, and a photo of me at sea.
You can read my earlier posts on the USS Kitty Hawk via the below links:
You can click on the above photos to enlarge.