KITTY HAWK History
history of USS KITTY HAWK closely parallels the course of naval aviation over the past 37
years. Built in Camden, NJ, KITTY HAWK was heralded as the first in a new class of
"super carrier" at her commissioning at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard on April
The 86,000-ton ship departed her homeport of San Diego on her first Western Pacific (WESTPAC) deployment in 1962. Since that time, KITTY HAWK and a variety of Carrier Air Wings have completed 18 deployments in support of operations including Vietnam, the Iranian hostage crisis, Operation Restore Hope in Somalia and air strikes against Iraq. As leader of the joint, coalition offensive strike launched in response to increasing Iraqi violations of United Nations sanctions.
KITTY HAWK underwent three overhauls in the Bremerton, Wash., Naval Shipyard in 1977, 1982 and 1998. The ship's most significant maintenance period, however, was a Service Life Extension Program (SLEP) in the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard beginning in 1987. That rigorous four-year overhaul added an estimated 20 years to the planned 30-year life of the ship. KITTY HAWK displayed the long reach of carrier aviation by completing a world cruise on the way to Philadelphia and returned by rounding the southernmost tip of South America.
The Hawk set sail on its 17th deployment on June 24, 1994. During the six-month cruise,KITTY HAWK, and Carrier Air Wing Fifteen, under the direction of the Commander, Cruiser Destroyer Group FIVE, provided a stabilizing influence in the Western Pacific during a time of great tension in the Far East.
Soon after KITTY HAWK's return from deployment, the ship was awarded the Battle Efficiency Award, or Battle "E," given yearly to the best carrier in the Pacific Fleet.
In October, KITTY HAWK welcomed aboard the proud members and imposing airpower of Carrier Air Wing Eleven, fresh off a deployment to the Persian Gulf aboard the USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN (CVN 72).
KITTY HAWK and Carrier Air Wing ELEVEN, refined thier teamwork during workups, enjoying a very successful participation in Exercise Rim of the Pacific '96, a multi-national exercise taking place around the Hawaiian Islands involving the maritime forces of Canada, Japan, South Korea, Chile and Australia, in preparation for deployment in October 1996.
KITTY HAWK began its 18th deployment Oct. 11, 1997. En route to the Arabian Gulf, the KITTY HAWK/CVW-11 team made port calls in Hong Kong and Singapore. Christmas was celebrated inport Bahrain, and two Gulf port calls were made to Jebel Ali, U.A.E. Returning from a successful tour at the "tip of the spear," the crew enjoyed liberty in Fremantle, Australia and Hobart, Tasmania. After a brief stop in Hawaii, KITTY HAWK returned to San Diego April 11, 1997Throughout her illustrious career, KITTY HAWK has demonstrated the range, sustainability, flexibility and capability that are the hallmark of carrier aviation. With her excellent material condition and top-notch crew, KITTY HAWK will serve the United States with distinction well into the next century.