Blast from the past, first, from a decade ago:
Sailors man the rails aboard the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) as the ship leaves San Diego, Aug. 28 2007. Kitty Hawk is making its final voyage after 47 years of service to Bremerton, Wash., where it will prepare to decommission early next year. Approximately 1,600 Sailors are making the deployment, along with nearly 70 former Kitty Hawk Sailors, including a few dozen of the ship’s original crew, known as plank owners. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Lily Daniels/Released)
Now, from the Kitsap Sun:
The Kitty Hawk (CV 63) will be disposed of by dismantling, according to Naval Sea Systems Command spokeswoman Colleen O’Rourke.
O’Rourke cited an annual report to Congress that outlines the Navy’s five-year shipbuilding plans. In this fiscal year’s edition, released in April 2016, the Kitty Hawk was listed as one of the Navy’s inactive ships slated for scrapping.
The Navy has not yet determined when the Kitty Hawk will depart its berthing in Bremerton, where the ship will go to be dismantled or what company will be awarded the contract, O’Rourke said.
Laid down in 1956, Kitty Hawk became the oldest active warship in the Navy (besides Constitution) in 1998 and held that title for a decade until she was officially decommissioned on 12 May 2009 after almost 50-years in the fleet. Between her launch date and now, 57.4 years have passed.
Kitty Hawk is currently held in Maintenance Category B receiving the highest degree of maintenance and preservation to a retired ship, though with USS Ford entering the fleet, she will likely be downgraded to Category C or X in coming months as the big new carrier moves through a 10-month shakedown and goes through working up for her first deployment. She recently has been used to help train ship-less carrier crews on the West Coast.
Though plans have been floated to look into reactivating “Shitty Kitty” the CNO has downplayed that and she now will most likely head to Texas, where all the conventional carriers in the past few years have gone.
As a result the city of Laguna Vista is set to unveil the Rio Grande Valley’s first ever Aircraft Carrier Memorial. As noted by the Brownsville Herald the memorial will include bollards, or posts that secured the ships, from the USS Independence, USS Ranger, and USS Constellation.
Kitty Hawk will no doubt join the collection in good time.