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Wednesday, July 6, 2022

“Kitty Hawk” .. “Dora” of the US Navy bids farewell to its laurels

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It was a symbol of American power in the Indo-Pacific and tasted battles from Vietnam to the Persian Gulf, surviving a collision with a Soviet submarine.

This is the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk, the “superhero” that makes its last trip (16,000 miles) from the state of Washington to Texas, where it will be crushed and sold for scrap, according to CNN.

Last year, a local company in Brownsville, Texas, bought the ship for a penny from the US Naval Systems Command, which oversees the disposal of decommissioned warships.

The chain indicated that the aircraft carrier, which measures 1,047 feet long and 252 feet wide, is too large to pass through the Panama Canal, so it will be dragged along the coast of South America in the coming months. and across the Gulf of Mexico. to her final destination.

The aircraft carrier, “Kitty Hawk,” was launched in 1960 and is named after the area of ​​North Carolina from where the Wright brothers first flew a powered aircraft and served in the US Navy for nearly 50 years before after his service ended in 2009.

America’s last oil-powered aircraft carrier, the Kitty Hawk, is a relic of a time before the advent of the nuclear-powered Nimitz-class carriers.

For a decade since the early 1960s, Kitty Hawk has been the cornerstone of US forces off the coast of Vietnam.

At times, its planes flew more than 100 sorties over Vietnam from what was called “Yanqi Station,” an area of ​​the South China Sea where US Navy ships sailed to attack North Vietnamese and US forces. Viet Cong.

The ship and its air wing received the Presidential Unit Medal, an honor for exceptional heroism, for what they did in Vietnam from December 1967 to June 1968, including supporting American and South Vietnamese forces during the Tet Offensive. from North Vietnam. 1968.

Kitty Hawk witnessed her last combat battles in Vietnam in 1972, but during her last mission she became the “sad chapter in Navy history,” as congressional investigators described it.

Ethnic unrest erupted on the ship amid rising tensions after its deployment to Vietnam was extended following a port visit in the Philippines, according to reports on the Naval History and Heritage Command website.

Accounts vary as to the cause of the riots, with some saying it started when a black sailor was investigated for a fight in a Filipino bar the night before it was published.

Others say things heated up after a swarthy sailor was denied an extra sandwich.

CNN noted that the riots and racial tensions aboard the Kitty Hawk were undoubtedly a reflection of “the blatant racial inequality in American society at the time.”

Reports showed that black sailors made up less than 10% of Kitty Hawk’s crew of 4,500, and five of her 348 officers were black, according to a Naval History Command report.

And in the 1990s, another social issue emerged was the addition of women to the fleet, with retired Captain James Fannell saying that when he first put to sea in 1987 aboard another aircraft carrier, the USS Coral Sea, there were no women on board but after the time contract when he was posted to kitty hawk there were 8 female squad and intelligence officers working for him out of 11 officers.

Women now make up more than 20% of the US Navy’s active duty force.

In the years between the riots and the assimilation of women, Kitty Hawk engaged in a heated confrontation with a Soviet nuclear-powered submarine, which ended with the US aircraft carrier removing a piece of the Soviet submarine, which turned out to be a Victor K-314. . , trapped in her hull.

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