USS KITTY HAWK
CV 63
  
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The second Kitty Hawk (CVA 63) was laid down by the New York Ship Building Corp., Camden, N.J., December 27, 1956; and launched May 21, 1960 sponsored by Mrs. Neil H. McElroy; and commissioned April 29, 1961 at Philadelphia Naval Shipyard , Capt. William F. Bringle in command.

Following shakedown in the western Atlantic, the aircraft carrier departed Norfolk August 11, 1961. After a brief stop at Rio de Janeiro, where she embarked the Secretary of the Brazilian Navy for a demonstration of exercise at sea with five Brazilian destroyers, the attack carrier rounded Cape Horn Oct. 1. She steamed into Valparaiso Bay on 13th and then sailed, two days later, for Peru, arriving Callao Oct. 20 where she entertained the President of Peru.

She entered San Francisco Naval Shipyard Nov. 23 for alterations. Following operations out of San Diego, she sailed from San Francisco, September 13, 1962. CVA 63 joined the 7th Fleet Oct. 7, relieving USS Midway (CVA 41) as flagship.

After participating in the Philippine Republic Aviation Week Air Show, the carrier steamed out of Manila Harbor November 30. The ship visited Hong Kong early in December and returned to Japan, arriving at Yokosuka January 2, 1963. During the following two months, she visited Kobe, Beppu, and Iwakuni before returning to San Diego April 2, 1963.

Following a series of strike exercises and tactics reaching along the California coast and off Hawaii, she again sailed for the Far East. On October 17, 1963 USS Kitty Hawk departed San Diego for the Far East and her second tour of duty with the Seventh Fleet.

Enroute to the western Pacific, the aircraft carrier received her Operational Readiness Inspection in Hawaiian waters. While approaching Japan, she learned an assassin had shot President Kennedy. Flags were at half mast as she entered Sasebo Harbor Nov. 25 the day of the President's funeral and, as senior ship present, she had the sad honor of firing memorialsalutes.

Following initial Seventh Fleet port visits to Buckner Bay, Okinawa, and Sasebo, Japan, in November, CVA 63 headed south to Taiwan to participate in Exercise Big Dipper. After Big Dipper, the Kitty Hawk visited Kobe, Japan, for a four-day port call. On 23rd, the carrier moored at Yokosuka, Japan, for a two-week Christmas visit. On January 5, 1964 she was seaward again for operations. During that at-sea period, she held joint operations with the carrier USS Oriskany (CVA 34).

USS Kitty Hawk returned to Yokosuka February 10 for a two-week upkeep period. Because of inclement weather before entering port, many airplanes due to be launched to nearby NAS Atsugi for maintenance were left on board. But on Feb. 12 more than 20 planes were catapulted off while the ship was moored in an unusual demonstration of the flexibility of the carrier and her aircraft. USS Kitty Hawk visited Hong Kong February 20-26, 1964 and hosted many visitors aboard the ship.

In late February, she headed south again to Taiwan, this time to participate in the amphibious Exercise Back Pack. As in Big Dipper, her aircraft provided air support and aerial reconnaissance for the Seventh Fleet Marines assaulting the beach. Following Back Pack, the attack aircraft carrier spent a week at Sasebo followed by an Easter weekend visit to Buckner Bay, Okinawa.

On April 6 Rear Adm. Thomas Winfield South III was relieved by Rear Adm. William F. Bringle as Commander Carrier Division Seven aboard USS Kitty Hawk. The ship then visited Hong Kong from April 10-17.

After departing Hong Kong, Capt. John "L" Butts, Jr. relieved Capt. Horace H. Epes, Jr. as Commanding Officer of USS Kitty Hawk on April 20, 1964. The carrier then conducted operations in the South China Sea until departed that area to arrive at Yokosuka on May 6 for a three-day stay. Following this, the ship and air group engaged in joint operations with HMS Victorious on May 10 and 11th.

During the period between May 18 and June 10, CVA 63 was again engaged in special operations in the South China Sea off the coast of Vietnam. While conducting photo reconnaissance flights over Communist Laotian territory, two carrier pilots were downed by ground fire. Cmdr. D.W. Lynn, Executive Officer of VF-111, went down under Communist fire on June 7, but was rescued and returned to the ship next day. Also at this time, Lt. C.F. Klusmann of the VFP-63 detachment aboard Kitty Hawk was shot down and captured by Communist forces in Laos. After almost three months in his prison camp, Lt. Klusmann managed his escape and was returned to the United States in mid-September.

The ship arrived in Yokosuka, Japan, on June 14 after 36 continuous days at sea. On 15th in an impressive Change of Command ceremony aboard USS Kitty Hawk, Vice Adm. Thomas H. Moorer was relieved by Vice Adm. Roy L. Johnson as Commander Seventh Fleet. Almost two years earlier, in October 1962, Adm. Moorer had assumed command of the Seventh Fleet in a ceremony also held on board the Kitty.

On June 29 the aircraft carrier departed Yokosuka for operations south of Japan and returned on July 5 to make final preparations for the return trip to the United States. The ship departed Yokosuka on 7th, leaving a day early to avoid a threatening typhoon. The Kitty Hawk arrived in San Diego July 20 after a deployment that lasted over 9 months.

On August 10 USS Kitty Hawk departed San Diego for a three-day trip to Bangor, Wash. While enroute on Aug. 12, the icebreaker USS Staten Island (AGB 5) towed the carrier for several hours off Newport, Ore., to test this capability. CVA 63 spent two days at Bangor offloading ammunition and departed on 15th for the one day trip to the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Wash. During this short inland sea cruise, local dignitaries and their families were invited aboard. On next day an open house was conducted at Bremerton during which approximately 25,000 people streamed aboard. This was the largest crowd to visit her in a single day. On Aug. 16 the eight month overhaul and modification period began with several major modifications being installed in Kitty Hawk. These include the Naval Tactical Data System (NTDS), Integrated Operational Intelligence Center (IOIC), Automatic Handing System (AN/SPN-10), and the Airborne System Support Center (ASSC). On September 4 she moved into Dry Dock Number 6, the world's largest dry dock, and thus provided the first full capacity load for this dry dock.

The aircraft carrier returned to San Diego in May 1965, following her extensive yard period in Bremerton. She immediately began four weeks of intensive Refresher Training during which time she achieved the highest rating ever given an aircraft carrier.

From May until September, USS Kitty Hawk spent many long weeks at sea conducting exercises and carrier qualifications, including more than 7,000 aircraft launches and landings. From August 7-8 she was in San Francisco which afforded her crew an opportunity to sight-see in that interesting city. For one period of two weeks, she acted as a testing facility for the Naval Air Test Center, Patuxent River, Md. During this time, a number of successful computer-controlled "no hands" landings were conducted a "first" for the ship.

September 20, Rear Adm. Maurice F. Weisner relieved Rear Adm. Edward C. Outlaw, as Commander Carrier Division One, during a change of command ceremony held aboard the Kitty Hawk in San Diego.

October 19, 1965 USS Kitty Hawk departed San Diego for its third western Pacific cruise.

On October 26th she began its Operational Readiness Inspection under the control of Fleet Training Group and Commander Fleet Air Hawaii. In the early morning hours of Nov. 8, after four days of rest and relaxation in Hawaii, USS Kitty Hawk departed for Subic Bay in the Philippines to join the U.S. Seventh Fleet.

November 26th will always be a day in the history books for the Kitty Hawk. It was the first time her aircraft lifted off the Flight Deck for combat operations. On that day, her aircraft flew 90 attack sorties against the VC, unleashing more than 140 tons of ordnance. While at Yankee Station on Dec. 6, a fire swept one of the large main engine room spaces. Despite the seriousness of the fire, the carrier was able to continue full air operations on schedule.

CVA 63 departed Yokosuka, enroute Yankee Station, on January 9, 1966 conducting refresher flight operations and nuclear weapons loading exercises enroute. On 11th CVW-11 aircraft, under control of CTG 70.4, conducted attacks on a USS Hornet (CVS 12) towed sled in close proximity to a USSR Task Unit near Bashi Channel. RA5C aircraft from RVAH 13 obtained photo coverage on all surface units. Her aircraft commenced Tiger Hound, Steel Tiger, Blue Tree and in-country operations on Jan. 14. The Tet (Vietnamese Lunar Holiday) stand-down resulted in increased sortie requirements for CVW-11 on January 21 and 23rd but provided a break in routine on 22nd.

On Jan. 31 an F-4 Phantom from VF 114 crashed near the aircraft carrier after complete hydraulic failure due to combat damage. On February 1st an A1 from VA-115 was shot down in the Steel Tiger area. Crewmembers, both aircraft, recovered uninjured. On 3rd an RA-5C Vigilante from RVAH 13 was downed by enemy fire off the NVN coast just south of Cape Bouton. A major SAR effort, including excellent shore bombardment by USS Waddell (DDF 24) and the USS Brinkley Bass (DD 887) failed to recover the crew. CVA 63 departed Hong Kong Feb. 15 after a four-day port call, enroute to Yankee Station.

USS Kitty Hawk arrived in Yankee Station February 17, operating there through Feb. 20 then moved south to Dixie Station from in-country operations from Feb. 22 to March 5. Extremely low ceilings and visibility throughout the area seriously limited air operations. The majority of Rolling Thunder missions after 17th was completed by A6A Intruder aircraft from VA 85 using radar system deliveries through the overcast. On Feb. 18 an Intruder was lost when it failed to complete pullout from a glide bombing attack. There were no survivors. During the period Feb. 22 through March 5th, her aircraft averaged 100 direct air support sorties per day in support of friendly forces in South Vietnam. The aircraft carrier returned to Yankee Station March 6 conducting air operations while enroute. On 5th, an F4B Phantom from VF 114 was lost after being hit by enemy ground fire during in-country operations. The crew ejected due to loss of hydraulic pressure and control effectiveness. Both pilot and RIO were recovered safely by SAR helicopter. On March 11, an A1H of VA-115 was lost shortly after catapult launch. The pilot was recovered on board with only minor injuries. On 14th, aircrafts and SAR helicopters participated in the daring rescue of two USAF air crewmen after their aircraft had been shot down. Both crewmen were rescued within range of NVN shore batteries, returned to Kitty Hawk, and treated.

CVA 63 departed Yankee Station on March 16 and arrived in Subic Bay on 17th for an upkeep period. She departed on 29th and arrived in Dixie Station March 31. Aircraft from CVW-11 provided Iin-country and Operation Jackstay support and averaged 100 sorties per day on enemy targets.

On April 3rd, Lt. Felix Templeton of VF-114, flying an F4B Phantom, became Kitty Hawk's first triple Centurian by making his 300th arrested landing aboard ship, and on 9th, Lt. j.g. A. E. Johnson of VA-113, flying an A4C Skyhawk, made the 10,000th landing on the carrier since commencement of this WestPac deployment on October 19, 1965.

USS Kitty Hawk departed Dixie Station on April 11, 1966, and arrived at Yankee Station on 12th. Air Wing Eleven aircraft delivered an average of 100 tons of ordnance per day on enemy targets while conducting Rolling Thunder, Blue Tree, and Steel Tiger operations. On April 12, a KA-3B Skywarrior (a tanker) with four crewmembers aboard, enroute Kitty Hawk from NAS Cubi Point, was overdue and missing. Crewmember status was undetermined. On April 15, a UH2 helicopter from HC 1 Detachment Charlie was lost over the side after experiencing control difficulties soon after lift-off. One crewmember was killed and one man killed and four injured on the aircraft carrier flight deck by flying shrapnel from the helicopter's rotor blades. Also the same day, aircrafts responding to a SAR effort launched for a downed USAF F4C, and silenced one 57MM and two 37MM AAA sites in the vicinity of the downed aircraft. On 17th, an A-4C Skyhawk from VA-113 crashed into the sea immediately following launch. The pilot ejected and was recovered safely aboard with no injuries. Also an A-6A Intruder from VA-85 experienced hydraulic failure in flight and crashed at sea. Both the pilot and NFO ejected and were rescued at sea in good condition. An A1H aircraft from VA 115 was also downed on 17th. Extensive SAR efforts were negative. On April 20, an A4C Skyhawk from VA 113, while orbiting a downed pilot, was also hit by ground fire. The pilot retired seaward, ejected two miles from the carrier, and was recovered safely on board after spending approximately one minute in the water. On 21st, an A-6A Intruder from VA 85 disappeared form radar scopes at weapons release point. His wingman observed a large flash at this time, which could have been weapons detonation. Both crewmembers were missing. On April 22, an A-6A Intruder was observed to crash in the water while retiring from the target. There were no survivors. On 26th, an F-4B Phantom was hit in the vicinity of the starboard engine by enemy ground fire while on a bombing mission. Both pilot and RIO ejected near USS Kitty Hawk and were recovered aboard in good condition by her helicopter. On April 27, 1966 an A-6A Intruder, while on armed reconnaissance, received numerous small arms hits, one of which severely wounded the pilot. The pilot, with the NFO's assistance, flew his aircraft seaward where they both ejected and were recovered by helicopter. For this action, the NFO, Lt. j.g. B.E. Westin, USNR, received the Navy Cross. On April 28, an F-4G Phantom was hit by enemy ground fire. Both pilot and RIO ejected at sea and were recovered safely.

CVA 63 departed Yankee Station April 29 and after a port visit to Subic Bay, Philippines, returned to station on May 8. Air Wing aircraft averaged delivery of 110 tons of ordnance per day on enemy targets while conducting Rolling Thunder, Steel Tiger, and Blue Tree operations. On May 15, an A6A Intruder from VA 85 was lost following fuel exhaustion due to inability to receive fuel from tanker aircraft. Both pilot and NFO ejected and were recovered safely. The pilot, Lt. Cmdr. John Ellison, was rescued by embarked helicopter detachment, HC1 Detachment CHARLIE. This was the 14th rescue made by this detachment this deployment. On May 11, CVA 63 and USS Pyro (AE 24) set a new ordnance transfer rate record by averaging 237.66 standard tons per hour. On 18th, an F4B while flying RESCAP for a downed aircraft was hit by small arms fire. The pilot and RIO ejected and were recovered uninjured by helicopter. On next day, an A1J suffered engine failure, suddenly and completely, following deck lift-off and crashed into the sea. The pilot was recovered uninjured by a helicopter. On 23rd, USS Kitty Hawk departed Yankee Station in the South China Sea and commenced the long voyage homeward after completing operations on her third western Pacific deployment. The ship had conducted 9,223 combat sorties and 1,485 support sorties.

After brief stops in Subic Bay on 24 and 25th and Yokosuka, Japan, May 29-June 3, she sailed for the United States and arrived in San Diego on June 13, 1966. At this time she entered a much needed Restricted Availability (RAV) period for maintenance and repairs.

Kitty Hawk's post-deployment RAV ended August 22nd and she commenced local operations in the southern California operating area operating in and out of San Diego.

USS Kitty Hawk was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation for exceptionally meritorious service from November 26, 1965 to May 14, 1966 while participating in combat operations against the insurgent Communist guerrilla forces in the Republic of Vietnam. The valiant men of her Carrier Air Wing 11 flew over 10,000 sorties and delivered over 10,700 tons of ordnance against enemy forces.

On November 4th CVA 63 again deployed to serve the cause of freedom and national security in waters of Southeast Asia. She arrived at Yokosuka, Japan, on 19th to relieve the Constellation as flagship for Rear Adm. David C. Richardson, Commander Task Force 77. On Nov. 26 she departed Yokosuka for Yankee Station via Subic Bay, and on Dec. 5 aircrafts from the carrier began their around-the-clock missions over North Vietnam.

The "Battle Cat" departed Subic Bay May 28 and returned to San Diego June 19 and a week later entered the naval shipyard at Long Beach for maintenance. USS Kitty Hawk returned to San Diego August 25.

She again deployed from San Diego for a western Pacific deployment and Vietnam cruise on November 18, 1967 returning home on June 28, 1968. Subsequent WestPac deployments were from December 30, 1968 to September 4, 1969 and November 6, 1970 to June 17, 1971. On this latter deployment, by Jan. 31 USS Kitty Hawk, USS Hancock, and USS Ranger, alternating on Yankee Station, flew a total of 3,214 sorties during the month, of which 3,128 deliverect ordnance in Laos. A-6 and A-7 aircraft were particularly effective in attacking truck traffic, the enemy having put a seasonally high number of trucks on the road, averaging close to 1,000 per day.

On Yankee Station on March 10 CVA 63 and CVA 61 set a record of 233 strike sorties for one day and went on during the ensuing six-day period to mark up a strike effectiveness record that exceeded record performances by TF-77 during the previous three-year period.

Again, on February 17, 1972 USS Kitty Hawk deployed to the waters off Southeast Asia. By March 30, Naval Air attack sorties in South Vietnam had dropped from 733 in February to 113 during March. The carriers on Yankee Station when North Vietnam invaded on March 30 were Hancock and Coral Sea. Aircrafts from the Kitty Hawk, as well as Hancock, Coral Sea, and Constellation, were involved in Operation Freedom Train beginning April 5. On 16th aircrafts from Kitty Hawk, Coral Sea, and Constellation flew 57 sorties in the Haiphong area in support of U.S. Air Force B-52 strikes on the Haiphong petroleum products storage area. This operation was known as Freedom Porch. Operation Linebacker I began May 10, 1972 and consisted of heavy strikes of targets in most of North Vietnam, which evolved and lasted until restrictions on operations above 20°N were imposed October 22. USS Kitty Hawk returned to San Diego on November 28.

On January 23, 1973 a cease fire in Vietnam went into effect. The San Diego-based aircraft carrier was on deployment again to the western Pacific from November 23, 1973 to July 9, 1974.

Just prior to Kitty Hawk's next WESTPAC deployment on May 21, 1975 the carriers: USS Midway, USS Coral Sea, USS Hancock, USS Enterprise and USS Okinawa (LPH 3) responded April 19 to the waters off South Vietnam when North Vietnam overran two-thirds of South Vietnam. Ten days later, Operation Frequent Wind was carried out by U.S. Seventh Fleet forces. Hundreds of U.S. personnel and Vietnamese were evacuated to waiting ships after the fall of Saigon to the North Vietnamese.

On October 28, 1979 the Kitty Hawk and its escort ships were directed to operate south of the Korean peninsula in response to the assassination of South Korean President Park Chung Hee on Oct. 26. Kitty Hawk's cruise was extended two and a half months to support contingency operations in the North Arabian Sea during the Iranian hostage crisis.

On November 21st USS Kitty Hawk and her escort ships were directed to sail to the Indian Ocean to join the Midway and her escort ships which were operating in the northern Arabian Sea. She arrived on station on Dec. 3 and the two carrier forces provided the U.S. with A-6 Intruder and A-7 Corsair II attack aircraft and F-4 Phantom and the modern F-14 Tomcat fighter aircraft, which could respond to a variety of situations if called upon during the Iranian hostage crisis. This was the first time since World War II that the U.S. Navy had two carrier task forces in the Indian Ocean in response to a crisis situation. USS Kitty Hawk returned to San Diego February 25, 1980.

April 1, 1981 CV 63 departed homeport for its 13th deployment to the western PacifIc. In January 1982, the aircraft carrier pulled to Bremerton for another year-long overhaul.

On January 13, 1984, following the comprehensive overhauland a vigorous training period with Carrier Air Wing NINE (CVW-9), USS Kitty Hawk deployed as the flagship for Battle Group Bravo.

March 21, During exercise Team Spirit '84, in the Sea of Japan, the "Victor"-class Soviet submarine K-314 surfaced directly under USS Kitty Hawk, causing a collision, with minor damage to both vessels. At the time of the accident, the Kitty Hawk is estimated to have carried several dozen nuclear weapons, and K-314 probably carried two nuclear torpedoes. CV 63 went to the U.S. Naval Base at Subic Bay in the Philippines for repairs. One of K-314's propellers was embedded in Kitty Hawk's hull.

August 1, The Kitty Hawk returned to San Diego after traveling more than 62,000 miles and remained on station in the North Arabian Sea for more than 60 consecutive days.

July 24, 1985 USS Kitty Hawk once again deployed as flagship for Battle Group Bravo, responding to tasking from the California coast to the Gulf of Aden. During the remainder of 1985, the ship executed a hallmark cruise, completing her second consecutive fatality-free deployment while accumulating 18,000 flight hours and 7,300 arrested landings.

The "Battle Cat" began 1987 with a farewell to San Diego. On January 3rd the ship departed her homeport of 25 years and set out on a six-month world cruise. During the world cruise, the Kitty Hawk and CVW-9 crewmen again showed their commitment to safety by conducting a third fatality-free deployment. She spent 106 consecutive days on station in the Indian Ocean and arrived to Philadelphia Naval Shipyard on July 3.

Six months later, she began a Service Life Extension Program (SLEP) overhaul. USS Kitty Hawk emerged from the yards on March 29, 1991, her deck modified to accommodate the F/A-18 Hornet. The overhaul was estimated to have added 20 years of service to the life of the ship. The ship departed PNSY on July 30.

With the return of CVW-15 to its decks, CV 63 began its second cruise around 'the Horn' of South America to its original homeport of San Diego on December 11, 1991.

On August 1, 1992, the Kitty Hawk was appointed as Commander, Naval Air Forces, Pacific's 'ready carrier.' The ship embarked the Commander, Cruiser-Destroyer Group Five flag staff, the Commander, Destroyer Squadron 17 staff and Carrier Air Wing 15 for three months of work-ups before deploying to the western Pacific on November 3, 1992.

November 22, The F-18A Hornet from VA-97 crashed into Pacific Ocean during a night take‑off from carrier. The pilot safely ejected and was recovered.

While on deployment, USS Kitty Hawk spent nine days off the coast of Somalia supporting U.S. Marines and coalition forces Involved in Operation Restore Hope. In response to increasing Iraqi violations of the United Nations sanctions, the ship was subsequently rushed to the Arabian Gulf on on Dec. 27.

January 13, 1993 USS Kitty Hawk, with 35 of her CVW-15 aircrafts, led a joint coalition offensive strike against missile sites in southern Iraq. Her battle group was relieved by the USS Nimitz BG on March 18 and headed for home, after having operated in the Indian Ocean and Arabian Gulf and participated in Operations Restore Hope and Southern Watch.

USS Kitty Hawk departed it's homeport of San Diego for the 17th time June 24, 1994 for a scheduled deployment to the western Pacific. Late on the evening of July 11, as it approached for an arrested landing, an F-14 fighter jet struck the ramp and exploded, turning the flight deck into a sea of flames and wreckage. The jet's pilot, who, along with his radar intercept officer, had ejected seconds after impact landed in the flames. Five flight deck personnel immediately advanced into the flames, rescued the pilot and extinguished the fire.

In the early summer of 1996, CV 63 participated in Exercise Rim of the Pacific '96 (RIMPAC 96). The "Battle Cat" then departed San Diego on its next six-month deployment to the western Pacific on October 11, 1996. USS Kitty Hawk BG spent three months in the Gulf in support of Operation Southern Watch and U.N. sanctions in the region. During that period, Air Wing Eleven aircraft flew 1,775 sorties, accumulating 4,065 flight hours. Battle Group ships conducted Maritime Interception Operations (MIO) in which crew members boarded and searched merchant ships believed to be carrying cargo in violation of U.N. sanctions against Iraq. The aircraft carrier and it's battle group returned to homeport on April 11, 1997.

July 18, 1998 USS Independence turned over forward-deployed duties in Yokosuka, Japan, to USS Kitty Hawk while the two aircraft carriers were in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. By this time, CV 63 had added new computer technology, making it compatible with the Navy's latest advancements in information technology for the 21st century, or IT-21. Upon reaching Japan, she took on a new air wing. Carrier Air Wing Five (CVW 5) had operated as a forward-deployed unit out of Atsugi Naval Air Station, Japan, since 1973. She arrived in her new homeport of Yokosuka, Japan, on August 11, 1998.
USS Kitty Hawk became the third aircraft carrier to be permanently forward deployed to Japan, after USS Midway (CV 41) and USS Independence (CV 62).

USS Kitty Hawk participated in Exercise Foal Eagle '98, the largest joint/combined exercise in the world, which began October 24 and ran through November 4 off the coast of Korea. It was during this at-sea period that the carrier lost a petty officer first class on Oct. 17. He apparently was lost at sea while the ship was conducting routine operations in the Pacific Ocean approximately 345 miles east of Okinawa.

On November 20, having returned from Foal Eagle '98, CV 63 received the First Navy Jack during ceremonies in Yokosuka, Japan, designating the 37-year-old aircraft carrier as the oldest ship in the fleet. This distinction allowed her to display the First Navy Jack in place of the Union Jack flown aboard other Navy ships. The First Navy Jack, a flag consisting of 13 horizontal, alternating red and white stripes with a rattlesnake across the center, bears the motto, "Don't Tread On Me". Conceived in 1775 by Commodore Esek Hopkins of the Continental Navy, the flag was first used as a signal among ships to engage the enemy. In 1977, the Secretary of the Navy directed the ship with the longest total period of active service to display the First Navy Jack until decommissioned or transferred to the inactive reserve.

USS Kitty Hawk departed on 19th deployment, the first since arriving in Yokosuka, on March 2, 1999. The aircraft carrier and its embarked Carrier Air Wing Five, participated in Exercise Tandem Thrust with port visit to Agana, Guam. During its visit to Agana, having just completed Exercise Tandem Thrust, the Kitty Hawk was visited by Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jay L. Johnson on April 3. The CNO delivered the news that Kitty Hawk was being then directed to the Arabian Gulf along with USS Chancellorsville (CG 62) and USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54) after President Clinton ordered the USS Theodore Roosevelt battle group to the Adriatic Sea to support NATO forces in Yugoslavia instead of relieving the USS Enterprise battle group who were completing a regularly-scheduled deployment to the region.

On April 20, the Kitty Hawk, Curtis Wilbur and Chancellorsville transited the Strait of Hormuz, relieving the Enterprise's battle group in the Arabian Gulf to participate in Operation Southern Watch, enforce the "no-fly zone' over southern Iraq and conduct Maritime Interception Operations supporting United Nations sanctions.

On June 15, two aviators were rescued from the waters of the Arabian Gulf after they ejected safely from an F-14 Tomcat. The aircraft was returning to carrier when the crew declared a mechanical emergency. USS Kitty Hawk BG was relieved by the USS Theodore Roosevelt BG, and departed the Arabian Gulf on July 19, having launched more than 5,400 sorties during her three months in the Gulf. On her return to Yokosuka, Japan, she made port visits to Perth, Australia, and Phattaya, Thailand, and was back at Yokosuka in late August.

After participating in October in the multi-national Exercises Foal Eagle '99 and ANNUALEX-11G off the Korea Peninsula and Japan, CV 63 returned to Yokosuka on Nov. 10. Following a period of an aggressive regiment of repairs, upgrades and personnel training, the carrier returned to sea the morning of February 23, 2000 for 12 days of sea trials.

During her next regularly-scheduled two-month deployment to the western Pacific, USS Kitty Hawk participated in Exercise Cobra Gold 2000 following a port call to Pattaya, Thailand, on May 17, 2000. The exercise ran from May 9-23 and is a regularly scheduled joint/combined U.S.-Thai military exercise designed to ensure regional peace and strengthen the ability of the Royal Thai armed forces to defend Thailand or respond to regional contingencies. In addition to flying from the carrier, her embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing Five, flew F/A-18 Hornets and F-14 Tomcats from Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base, approximately 165 miles northeast of Bangkok.

USS Kitty Hawk and Carrier Air Wing Five again participated in the annual Exercise Foal Eagle in the Sea of Japan. She joined the exercise on October 25, 2000 as the striking arm of Battle Force 7th Fleet. From November 7-17, the carrier trained with the Japanese Self Defense Force in Exercise Keen Sword. Following the exercise, the battle group returned to Yokosuka on Nov. 20 for the holiday leave and maintenance period during which approximately 118,000 square feet of fresh non-skid was applied on the flight deck, the number three catapult's launch valve was replaced, and one of the ship's boilers received a five-year overhaul. Following six days of sea trials in mid-February, CV 63 remained in port until the morning of March 2, 2001 when she and her battle group got underway for her next routine, scheduled three-month deployment. During this deployment, the BG participated in the annual Tandem Thrust exercise beginning on May 10.

In the wake of the terrorists' attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City and on the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., on September 11, the aircraft carrier was once again order to sea in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, getting underway on October 1 after an accelerated sea trials and carrier qualifications period, carried out on short notice following the events of 9/11. The ship transited more than 6,000 miles in 12 days, and reported on station in the North Arabian Sea, where it served as an afloat forward staging base for U.S. joint forces. While on station, pilots from CVW 5 flew more than 600 missions over Afghanistan in support of the United States' war on terrorism, including more than 100 combat sorties.

November 10, Machinist's Mate Fireman Apprentice Bryant L. Davis was declared deceased after falling overboard the Kitty Hawk on Nov. 7. Search and rescue efforts continued for more than two days before being halted on Friday.

The beginning of December brought a close to Kitty Hawk's missions in the North Arabian Sea. After 74 consecutive days at sea, the crew made a port visit to the island of Phuket, Thailand, 13 through 15 December for rest and relaxation. They then continued on to their forward-deployed port of Yokosuka, Japan, arriving December 23, 2001 after 83 days at sea in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Following an intensive 11-week Ship's Restricted Availability (SRA) period, receiving upgrades to its defensive systems and scheduled maintenance to its flight deck and engineering plant, CV 63 departed Yokosuka March 12, 2002, to begin four days of sea trails in preparation for the ship's scheduled upcoming extended sea period. After a two-day in port period, she stood out to sea again on March 18, this time to complete scheduled carrier qualifications (CQ) and integrated battle-group training near Guam, returning to Yokosuka on April 1. The aircraft carrier departed Yokosuka again about three weeks later for another period of underway training.

During this underway period, USS Kitty Hawk made port visits to Hong Kong, Singapore and Guam, the latter on May 28. The ship celebrated its 41st birthday just prior to pulling into Hong Kong, and before pulling into Singapore, the Kitty Hawk/CVW 5 team conducted military maneuvering drills with the Singapore navy and air force. She returned to its forward-deployed port of Yokosuka, Japan, June 5th.

In a rare move, the Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, Vice Adm. Robert F. Willard, relieved the commanding officer of CV 63, Capt. Thomas Hejl, on September 3, citing a loss of confidence in Capt. Hejl's ability to lead his crew and carry out essential missions and taskings. Capt. Hejl was temporarily assigned to the Naval Air Forces, Pacific staff in San Diego.

USS Kitty Hawk left its forward operating port of Yokosuka, Japan, October 25, for a scheduled underway period in the western Pacific. During this seven-week at-sea period, the carrier and it's crew joined other U.S. Navy units and units of the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) November 1-22 by participating in ANNUALEX 14G. The aircraft carrier returned to homeport Dec. 13 for the holiday leave and maintenance period.

The Navy's oldest active warship once again got underway for a routine deployment on January 23, 2003. At noon (EST) on Feb. 8, during this at-sea period, the crews of USS Kitty Hawk and Carrier Air Wing Five reached a milestone, when the ship's bow catapult team launched an aircraft from carrier's No. 1 catapult for the 150,000th time in the ship's nearly 42 years of service. The deployment turned out not to be routine for on February 12 the ship was directed to the Arabian Gulf to once again deal with the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq. The aircraft carrier and her embarked air wing, arriving Feb. 22, spent more than 100 consecutive days underway in support of Operations Southern Watch and Iraqi Freedom. While operating in the Gulf, the ship lost two officers. Lt. Tom Adams, a recently transferred crew member of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 115, died in a helicopter crash during the opening hours of Iraqi Freedom as he was participating in a military foreign exchange program, and Lt. Nathan D. White, of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 195, was killed in combat action during a night close-air support mission April 2. He was hit by two U.S. Patriot Missiles in a "friendly fire" accident in the area near Kerbala, Iraq.

During Kitty Hawk's participation in Operation Iraqi Freedom, the air wing flew 5,375 sorties during 11,800 flight hours, and expended 864,860 pounds of ordnance. Approximately 39 million gallons of water were produced, and 9 million gallons of fuel were expended. With the successful conclusion of the naval portion of Operation Iraqi Freedom, CV 63 Strike Group departed the Gulf on April 16 and returned to their forward-deployed port of Yokosuka, Japan, on May 6.

May 20, The "Battle Cat" moved into dry dock at Fleet Activities Yokosuka for a scheduled maintenance period.

October 13, USS Kitty Hawk gets underway from drydock after completing a five month overhaul by Ship's Repair Force Yokosuka, Japan.

November 26, The forward-deployed aircraft carrier pulled to Apra Harbor, Guam, for a brief port call.

December 5, Capt. Patrick Driscoll make his last arrested landing as Commander of the CVW-5. He was relieved by Capt. Joseph Aucoin.

February 18, 2004 USS Kitty Hawk and elements of her Strike Group departed Yokosuka for a spring underway period.

February 19, Lt. Cmdr. Stephen Higuera and Capt. Joey Aucoin makes first Super Hornet landing abord the Kitty Hawk. Early on in the deployment, she conducted a two-day missile exercise, called MISSILEX. During this exercise, CVW 5 trained in handling, loading and firing live ordnance. Following the MISSILEX, the Strike Group had the opportunity to be ambassadors during a four day port visit to Hong Kong. On the first day of the Hong Kong port visit, March 6, the Battle Cat hosted a reception for approximately 800 military, government and civilian officials.

CV 63 made a five-day port visit to Busan, Korea, March 15. The aircraft carrier last visited Korea in November 2000. After leaving Busan on March 19, she participated in the annual Foal Eagle exercise. In Foal Eagle, her strike group joined forces with the Air Force, Marines and the ROK to practice integration and operability in real life scenarios. The Battle Cat's next port of call took place in Singapore for a four-day visit beginning on April 12.

April 27, The Kitty Hawk Strike Group departed Fremantle, Australia, after a five-day port visit.

May 24, CV 63 returned to homeport after traveling more than 25,000 nautical miles.

July 19, USS Kitty Hawk departed from Yokosuka Naval Base for a routine summer deployment.

August 19, The aircraft carrier pull to Apra Harbor, Guam, for a port visit to Naval Forces Marianas Support Activities after completing JASEX'04 and the fleet readiness demonstration, Summer Pulse 2004. The "Battle Cat" had initially been scheduled to stay in Guam for several days, but was forced to depart the island early due to the approach of Super Typhoon Chaba, which took a turn directly toward the island.

September 7, USS Kitty Hawk Strike Group returned to her forward-deployed operating base after 48 days underway in support of Summer Pulse ’04, and routine readiness training. JASEX provided a way for the United States to demonstrate its commitment to peace and stability in the western Pacific Ocean in a unique joint training environment. CV 63 completed Tailored Ship’s Training Availability (TSTA) Phase III Aug. 15. The nine-day evolution trained the crew in critical damage control exercises. Upon returning, the carrier will undergo routine repairs during a Selective Restricted Availability.

September 16, The Kitty Hawk began a Ship’s Restricted Availability (SRA) maintenance period that will result in many changes for the ship and its crew, and enable the fleet to maintain high levels of readiness under the Navy’s Fleet Response Plan.

January 11, 2005 USS Kitty Hawk departed Yokosuka for sea trials as the final step of a four-month ship’s restricted availability (SRA) maintenance period.
The aircraft carrier completed sea trials on 15th.

February 1, An F/A-18F Super Hornet assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 102 was involved in an accident on the flight deck of the CV 63 approximately 100 miles southeast of Yokosuka, Japan, Jan. 29 at approximately 6:30 p.m., (Local Time). Lt. j.g. Jon Vanbragt of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 102, who was piloting the aircraft, and weapons systems officer, Lt. Cmdr. Markus Gudmundsson, ejected from their aircraft after a landing attempt when awry. Two pilots were safely recovered. There were six injuries to crew members. None are life threatening.

February 10, USS Kitty Hawk departed homeport for a scheduled winter underway period.

March 1, USS Kitty Hawk departed Hong Kong after a four-day port visit.

March 3, Cmdr. Kevin Mannix rellieved Cmdr. James Bynum as commanding officer of the "Royal Maces" (VFA-27) during, a "fly-by", change of command ceremony over aircraft carrier.

March 14, CV 63 CSG arrived in Busan, Republic of Korea, for a port visit on the anniversary of Kitty Hawk's previous visit in March 2004.

March 23, USS Kitty Hawk Carrier Strike Group is currently participating in the joint exercises Reception, Staging, Onward movement and Integration (RSO&I) and Foal Eagle. The defansive Naval Foal Eagle exercise began March 19, with eight U.S. Navy ships.

March 28, CV 63 returned to Yokosuka, Japan, following an eventful seven-week underway period in the western Pacific Ocean, Sea of Japan, and the East and South China Seas.

May 17, The Kitty Hawk gets underway from Yokosuka to conduct precision anchor checks during her post upkeep underway period in the western Pacific Ocean. She returned to homeport May 20.

May 23, USS Kitty Hawk departed Yokosuka Naval Base for its summer underway period.

June 2, During a change-of-command ceremony conducted on the flight deck Capt. Thomas A. Parker was relieved by Capt. Ed McNamee, as commanding officer, after successfully completing a 27-month tour on Kitty Hawk.

June 6, The U.S. Navy's oldest active warship entered the Naval Station Apra Harbor, Guam, for a brief port call.

June 14, CV 63 is currently operating in the Coral Sea off the coast of Australia's Queensland region as part of Exercise Talisman Saber 2005. Talisman Sabre is an exercise jointly sponsored by the U.S. Pacific Command and Australian Defense Force Joint Operations Command, and designed to train the U.S. Seventh Fleet commander's staff and Australian Joint Operations staff as a designated Combined Task Force (CTF) headquarters. U.S. Pacific Command units and Australian forces will conduct land, sea and air training throughout the training area. More than 11,000 U.S. and 6,000 Australian personnel will participate.

July 3, The forward-deployed aircraft carrier pulled to Sydney, Australia, for the the first time since 2001, for a six-day port visit.

July 22, USS Kitty Hawk pulled to Apra Harbor, Guam, for a five-day port call.
Rear Adm. James D. Kelly, outgoing commander of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 5, officially handed over the reins to his successor, Rear Adm. Doug McClain, in a change of command ceremony in USS Kitty Hawk's hangar bay. Kelly's next assignment will be as Commander, Naval Forces Japan, based in Yokosuka. As a pilot, he has flown in support of Operations Desert Storm, Desert Strike and Southern Watch and has more than 1,400 carrier-arrested landings on 12 different aircraft carriers, including more than 500 night-arrested landings. He is also an former Blue Angels pilot who flew as numbers 7, 3 and 4.

July 26, Capt. Gary P. Mace relieved Capt. Joseph Aucoin as commander CVW 5, in a fly-over change of command cerremony held on CV 63.

August 1, Cmdr. Doug McGowan was relieved by Cmdr. Scott Fisher as the commanding officer of VFA-102 “Diamondbacks” during an aerial ceremony. The carrier is currently off the coast of Guam participating in exercise Orange Crush. Exercise Orange Crush tests all of the air wing's capabilities by allowing them to conduct operations with other ships in the Kitty Hawk Carrier Strike Group, as well as Air Force assets based in Guam.

The Carrier Strike Group began activities August 7 in support of JASEX 2005. The exercise, which lasts until August 13, will be conducted in the vicinity of Okinawa and Guam. The naval forces participating include the Kitty Hawk Carrier Strike Group, Destroyer Squadron 15, USS Boxer, USNS Dahl (T-AKR 312), M/V CPL Louis J. Hauge Jr. (T-AK 3000) and forces assigned to Patrol Reconnaissance Force, U.S. 7th Fleet. On the Air Force side, the 18th Wing from Kadena Air Base in Okinawa and the 5th Air Force from Guam will participate. The 1st Marine Air Wing, forward deployed to Okinawa, will represent the Marine Corps.

August 20, USS Kitty Hawk returned to Yokosuka aftre nearly three months deployment in the 7th Fleet Area of Responsibility (AOR).

August 31, The aircraft carrier returned to homeport after a week long routine operations off the coast of Japan.

September 29, Rear Adm. James D. Kelly relieved Rear Adm. Frederic R. Ruehe as Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Japan during a change-of-command ceremony held in the hangar bay of USS Kitty Hawk. Kelly assumes command after completing a tour as the commander of Carrier Strike Group Five.

October 24, CV 63 departed its forward operating base Yokosuka, Japan, to begin its fall underway. Carrier Strike Group Five (CSG 5) will participate in an annual exercise with the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force.

November 12, USS Kitty Hawk transited the Tsugaru Strait as part of a bilateral Annual Exercise 2005. ANNUALEX focuses on improving the military-to-military relationship between the U.S. and Japan. The purpose of ANNUALEX is to improve bilateral interoperability, defend Japan against maritime threats and to improve capability for surface warfare, air defense and undersea warfare.

November 18, USS Kitty Hawk CSG concluded the main event of its fall under way period as Annual Exercise (ANNUALEX) 2005, a joint exercise between the U.S. Navy and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF), came to a close. ANNUALEX, which began Nov. 9, saw a total of 61 naval vessels, including two U.S. submarines, 10 U.S. Navy ships and 49 JMSDF ships, participate in a series of simulated wartime exercises.

November 24, The Kitty Hawk pulled to Victoria Harbor for a port visit to Hong Kong after completing Annual Exercise 2005.

December 12, CV 63 returned to Yukosuka, Japan, after completing a regularly fall underway period.

May 20, 2006 The "Battle Cat" departed pier at Commander Fleet Activates Yokosuka, following a four-month Ship's Restricted Availability (SRA), to conduct sea trials off the coast of Japan.

May 25, USS Kitty Hawk returned to recently upgraded Pier 12 on board Naval Facilities Yokosuka following the completion of a 4-day Sea Trial cruise. The pier was upgraded to accommodate the nuclear aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73), scheduled to replace the Kitty Hawk in 2008.

May 26, The forward-deployed aircraft carrier departed again its homeport for sea trials. CV 63 and CVW-5 are expected to complete Carrier Qualifications June 2, after which they will be ready to commence their spring underway period.

June 8, The "Battle Cat" departed Yokosuka to begin its summer under way period in the western Pacific Ocean.

June 16, More than 300 aircraft and 28 ships from the USS Kitty Hawk, USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) and USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) Carrier Strike Groups, as well as the Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard, will participate in exercise Valiant Shield 2006, off the coast of Guam June 19-23. The exercise will involve more than 20,000 Sailors, Airmen, Soldiers, Marines and Coast Guardsmen.

July 1, The Yokosuka-based aircraft carrier pulled into Otaru, Japan, for a port of call following the completion of joint exercise Valiant Shield 2006.

July 9, A Sailor who fell from USS Kitty Hawk into the water July 8 has been identified. Airman Jason J. Doyle, 19, from Omaha, Neb., assigned to Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 136, fell into the water at approximately 4:49 p.m. while the ship was conducting routine flight operations off the east coast of Japan.

July 12, The search for Airman Jason J. Doyle was concluded at midnight, July 11, after search efforts failed to locate him and exceeded any reasonable expectation that he would be found. Doyle is lost at sea and presumed deceased.

July 16, The "Battle Cat" is currently in the Philippine Sea conducting dual carrier air operations with the USS Enterprise.

July 30, USS Kitty Hawk departed Singapore after a five-day port visit. The ship hosted more than 150 Singaporean guests for a reception the first night, and conducted guided tours for the remaining days of the ship's visit.

August 10, The forward-deployed aircraft carrier arrived in Perth, Australia, for a scheduled port call, along with USS Russell (DDG 59) and USS Cowpens (CG 63). After leaving the ship's second port visit of Singapore, Kitty Hawk joined the Royal Australian navy to work together to practice in joint warfighting scenarios. In August, Kitty Hawk Strike Group aircraft flew missions in the Lancelin Defense Training Area, about 140 kilometers north of Perth, Australia.

September 2, CV 63, along with USS Cowpens and USS Lassen (DDG 82), pulled into Laem Chabang, Thailand, for the final port visit of their summer cruise.

September 15, USS Kitty Hawk returned to homeport after 99 days on summer underway period.

September 17, More than 2,200 family members and guests embarked aboard the "Battle Cat" for a "Friends and Family Day" cruise, which included an air power demonstration, shipboard tours and ship maneuvers by three warships of the CSG.

October 17, The conventionally powered aircraft carrier departed Yokosuka, Japan, for a regularly scheduled deployment. The ship will spend the underway period conducting carrier qualifications, drills and exercises in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility. She will also take part in ANNUALEX 2006, a joint exercise between the U.S. Navy and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force.

November 6, USS Kitty Hawk arrived in Sasebo, Japan, for a scheduled port visit.

November 13, The U.S. Navy and Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force kicked off their largest bilateral exercise, ANNUALEX, Nov. 9. About 8,500 U.S. Sailors are taking part aboard 13 ships and submarines and various shore-based aircraft. U.S. ships taking part in ANNUALEX are Kitty Hawk, the guided-missile cruisers USS Cowpens (CG 63) and USS Shiloh (CG 67); guided-missile destroyers USS Curtis W. Wilbur (DDG 54), USS John S. McCain (DDG 56), USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62), USS Stethem (DDG 63), USS Lassen (DDG 82), USS Mustin (DDG 89), USS Halsey (DDG 97); the high-speed vessel Swift (HSV 2) and submarines USS Seawolf (SSN 21) and USS Asheville (SSN 758). About 90 JMSDF ships and 130 aircraft are also participating.

November 23, CV 63 arrived in Hong Kong for a port call after completing Annual Exercise 2006.

December 10, The Kitty Hawk returned to Yokosuka completing its seven-week fall underway period.

February 2, 2007 Rear Adm. Richard Wren relieved Rear Adm. Douglas McLain as Commander of Task Force 70, during a change-of-command ceremony held in the Kitty Hawk's hangar bay.

May 4, USS Kitty Hawk departed homeport to conduct sea trials after completing the Selective Restricted Availability (SRA). She departed Yokosuka again for carrier qualifications on May 15. CQ are the last step Kitty Hawk must complete before starting its summer deployment.

May 18, Capt. Todd Zecchin relieved Capt. Ed McNamee as the 34th commanding officer of the Navy's oldest active warship.

May 23, CV 63 departed Fleet Activates Yokosuka, Japan, for a summer underway period.

June 8, The "Battle Cat" pulled to Apra Harbor, Guam, for a scheduled port visit.

June 19, The carrier is currently in the Coral Sea, off the coast of eastern Australia, participating in Exercise Talisman Sabre 07.

July 5, USS Kitty Hawk pulled to Sydney, Australia, for a scheduled port visit.

July 23, The aircraft carrier departed Brisbane after a four-day port call. The Kitty Hawk will be joined by other elements of the carrier strike group to begin preparations for Valiant Shield 2007. The major joint exercise will involve Kitty Hawk, USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) and USS Nimitz (CVN 68) as well as forces from other services.

July 30, An F/A-18C Hornet assigned to VFA-195 "Dambusters" was lost at sea, about 400 miles southeast of Guam, during a night training mission from USS Kitty Hawk. The pilot ejected and was safely recovered by a U.S. Navy helicopter shortly after the incident.

August 4, Cmdr. Greg Huffman relieved Cmdr. Dan Dwyer as the 32nd CO of VFA-27 "Royal Maces" during an aerial change of command ceremony.

August 19, CV 63 CSG recently departed Apra Harbor, Guam, after a routine port visit. The Strike Group participated in Valiant Shield Aug. 7-14. Held in the Guam operating area, the exercise includes 30 ships, more than 280 aircraft and more than 20,000 service members from the Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard.

September 1, The Kitty Hawk departed Port Kelang, Malaysia, after a four-day port call. The "Battle Cat" is scheduled to participate in Exercice Malabar 07-2 from Sept. 4-10. Twenty-seven ships and submarines from the United States, Australia, Japan and Singapore will join seven from host India, including aircraft carrier INS Viraat, off the Andamans archipelago in the Bay of Bengal for the six-day manoeuvres.

September 8, E/A-6B Prowler from VAQ-136, piloted by Capt. Michael McNellis, Commander CVW 5, recorded the 400,000th aircraft landing abord the "Battle Cat". This was also McNellis's 1,000th career trap. The other two carriers with more than 400,000 traps are USS Lexington (CV 16) with 483,663 traps and USS Independence (CV 62) with 482,570. The next closest is USS Enterprise (CVN 65) with 381,951 as of July 31.

September 21, USS Kitty Hawk returned to homeport after a four-month deployment in the western Pacific.

September 23, The forward-deployed aircraft carrier embarked more than 2300 guests for a Friends and Family Day cruise.

October 21, CV 63 departed Yokosuka for its fall deployment and participation in the ANNUALEX 19G, the maritime component of the U.S.-Japan exercise Keen Sword 2008. The exercise is designed to increase the working relationship between the U.S. and Japan Self-Defense Forces and increase their ability to effectively and mutually respond to a regional crisis situation.

October 26, The carrier pulled to Mororan, Japan, for a scheduled port call. This is Kitty Hawk's first visit to the city located on the northern island of Hokkaido.

November 27, USS Kitty Hawk returned to Yokosuka after a routine underway period.

March 7, 2008 The "Battle Cat" returned to homeport after completing sea trials.

March 13, The Kitty Hawk and George Washington turnover is scheduled to take place this summer in Hawaii. CV 63 will then continue to San Diego for a quick offload and then it will go up to Bremerton, where it will be decommissioned probably in early 2009.

March 18, The aircraft carrier departed homeport for carrier qualifications with Carrier Air Wing Five. It returned to Yokosuka April 4.

April 15, USS Kitty Hawk departed Yokosuka for the spring patrol.

April 28, CV 63 pulled to Hong Kong for its last port visit into a foreign country before replaced in the summer by GW.

May 9, Rear Adm. Richard B. Wren, Commander, Task Force 70, relieved Capt. Michael P. McNellis, CO of CVW-5, of command due to a loss of confidence in his ability to command in an effective manner. Capt. Michael S. White, former deputy commander, has assumed command of the Air Wing. The Kitty Hawk Carrier Strike Group is currently conducting training and operations in the Philippine Sea.

May 12, The "Battle Cat" returned to Yokosuka after its final underway period before replaced by CVN 73.

May 28, USS Kitty Hawk departed its homeport of Yokosuka, Japan, for the last time.

June 3, Cmdr. Manuel A. Picon relieved Cmdr. Christopher A. Rodeman as new commanding officer of HS-14 "Chargers", during an aerial change of command ceremony.

June 10, USS Kitty Hawk pulled to Guam for a routine port call. The oldest active-duty aircraft carrier will replace USS George Washington in the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2008 Exercise scheduled to take place in the Hawaiian operating area from June 29 through July 31. CVN 73 is currently in port at Naval Air Station North Island, San Diego, conducting repairs to spaces and equipment affected by the fire occured on May 22. CV 63 was previously scheduled to arrive in Pearl Harbor on 8th for a turnover with GW.

July 1, The Kitty Hawk pulled to Naval Station Pearl Harbor to paricipate in RIMPAC 2008.

August 7, The "Battle Cat" arrived in San Diego after being forward deployed to Yokosuka, Japan, for the past 10 years.

September 2, USS Kitty Hawk completed its final active-duty voyage this morning when it pulled in to Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton just before 9 a.m. The U.S. Navy's oldest active warship departed Naval Air Station North Island Aug. 28 with a crew of 1600 and 67 former Kitty Hawk Sailors, including a 38 of the ship's original crew, known as plankowners. The crew will be drawn down to about 400 by October to prepare the ship for decommissioning in late January at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.

January 31, 2009 After a nearly 48 years of service, USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) was informally retired in a 10 a.m. decommissioning ceremony at Naval Base Kitsap's Pier D in Bremerton, Wash.

May 12, The U.S. Navy last conventionally powered aircraft carrier officially left the active fleet. Members of the remaining crew lowered the ship’s commissioning pennant from the main mast along with the national ensign and the First Navy Jack. Kitty Hawk’s commanding officer, Capt. Todd Zecchin, closed out the ship’s deck log, which had been kept continuously since the ship’s commissioning April 29, 1961. The events marked the passing of the ship into the full control of the Bremerton Naval Shipyard, where the ship is part of the inactive ships facility.