So long, Indy
The retired Forrestal-class supercarrier ex-USS Independence (CV-62) has left mothballs, in Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, on her last cruise, and leaves a big void at her former long-term dock. She is the last of her class afloat.
A red-and-orange offshore tug towed the 58-year-old “Indy” on a two-month trip to oblivion. They’ll sail around South America to International Shipbreaking in Brownsville, Texas, where the flattop will be dismantled like several before it. USS Constellation and USS Ranger, former berth mates at Puget Sound’s Naval Shipyard’s Inactive Ships Maintenance Facility, are already being scrapped there.
Only two fossil-fueled carriers will remain. Still in Bremerton is the USS Kitty Hawk, which the Navy is holding in reserve until the new USS Gerald R. Ford joins the fleet. A Wilmington, North Carolina, group is lobbying to place the ship, decommissioned since 2009, as a floating museum alongside the battleship North Carolina. The USS John F. Kennedy was decommissioned in 2007 and is mothballed in Philadelphia. The Navy placed it on donation hold for use as a museum or memorial.
Indy entered service in 1959 and spent much of her career in the Med.
She completed a single tour off the coast of Vietnam in 1965 and later carried out airstrikes against Syrian forces during the Lebanese Civil War, supported the invasion of Grenada and operations over Iraq during Operation Southern Watch, the enforcement of the no-fly zone over southern Iraq.
USS Independence was decommissioned in 1998 after 39 years of active service. She was ordered in 1954, the year after the Korean conflict went from hot to cold.