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    The Last Voyage: Farewell to the USS Kitty Hawk

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    The USS Kitty Hawk, an iconic warship and the last oil-powered aircraft carrier in the U.S. Navy, has met its end not amid celebratory fanfare, but with the subdued conclusion of being sold for scrap.

    On January 15, 2022, the storied Kitty Hawk embarked on her last voyage, leaving Bremerton, en route to a scrapyard in Texas, marking an end of service that spanned from the Vietnam War to operations during the Iraq War.

    Commissioned in 1961, the USS Kitty Hawk quickly distinguished itself as a formidable asset in the U.S. Navy’s carrier fleet.

    It notably received the Presidential Unit Citation in January 1969 for the pivotal role its crew and Carrier Air Wing Eleven played during the intense combat of the Vietnam War.

    Even as the dawn of the new millennium brought advanced technology and new classes of carriers, the Kitty Hawk remained a crucial platform for military operations, notably during Operation Southern Watch in the early 2000s.

    Despite its storied past and the memories forged aboard its decks, the USS Kitty Hawk and its sister ship, the USS John F. Kennedy—another oil-powered giant of the seas—were sold for a paltry sum, one cent and one penny respectively.

    The vessels’ fates were sealed as their utility and operational conditions waned following decommission.

    The Kitty Hawk, after over a decade in limbo at a shipyard in Puget Sound, and the John F. Kennedy, decommissioned two years prior to Kitty Hawk, were destined to be dismantled alongside each other, their historic contributions not enough to save them from the cutters’ torches.

    The USS Kitty Hawk’s journey to the scrapyard was a testament to the logistical challenges and the end-of-life considerations for such massive vessels.

    Aerial port stern view of the U.S. Navy Aircraft Carrier USS KITTY HAWK (CV 63) as it prepares to commence cyclic flight operations off the coast of Australia on Aug. 18, 2006. Currently underway in the 7th Fleet area of responsibility, KITTY HAWK demonstrates power projection and sea control as the Navy’s only permanently forward-deployed aircraft carrier. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Stephen W. Rowe) (Released)

    It was too large to pass through the Panama Canal and therefore made a 16,000-mile trip, arriving in Texas five months later.

    USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) steams in formation during a joint photo exercise during exercise Valiant Shield 2007 while at sea Aug.14, 2007. The joint exercise consists of 28 naval vessels, more than 300 aircraft, and approximately 20,000 service members from the Navy, Army, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Stephen W. Rowe) (Released)

    This once mighty ship, capable of 30 knots and home to a crew of 4,582, had to be towed by tugboats due to non-operational steam boilers and turbines.

    A starboard amidships view of the aircraft carrier USS KITTY HAWK (CV 63) while the ship is underway.

    Throughout its life, the carrier played host to a variety of aircraft, ranging from the A-1 Skyraider to the F-14 Tomcat, symbolizing the evolution of naval air power.

    Related image you might interested

    Relevant articles:
    Why This U.S. Aircraft Carrier Was Sold For Only 1 Cent, slashgear.com
    The Navy Will Scrap the First Nuclear, popularmechanics.com
    R.I.P. USS Kitty Hawk, the Navy’s Last Conventionally-Powered Aircraft Carrier, Popular Mechanics
    Former Carrier Kitty Hawk Arrives in Brownsville for Scrapping, USNI News, Jun 1, 2022

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