Kitty Hawk Commissioning - 29 Apr 1961

29 Apr 1961: USS Kitty Hawk (CVA 63) is commissioned at Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. The second ship to be named for the wind swept location on the Outer Banks of North Carolina where man’s heavier-than-air journey first met demonstrable success, she represents a substantial improvement in the “super carrier” design first seen with the Forrestal-class CVA’s. Her airwing in the early 60’s consisted of A-1’s, A-3’s, A-4’s, F-8’s, WF-1’s, and SH-2’s along with the ship’s COD, a C-1. Marking a first for aircraft carriers was her all missile armament using the Terrier surface-to-air missile (note the illuminator facing the viewer in the picture on the left).

Kitty Hawk - 2008

Forty-seven years later – F/A-18’s (C’s, E’s and F’s), EA-6B’s, E-2C’s, C-2A(R)’s and SH-60’s fly from her decks. In between she has seen A-5’s, RA-5C’s, A-7’s, A-6’s, F-4B’s, F-4J’s, F-14A’s, F-14D’s, E-2A’s, E-2B’s, S-3A’s, S-3B’s, ES-3’s, SH-3’s, EA-3B’s, EAK-3B’s, and Army and Air Force SPECOPS helos. She’s launched combat sorties in support of operations in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Iraq, and Afghanistan as well as support operations for Taiwan and Somalia (among many other places).

Kitty Hawk insignia

So if you find yourself so inclined today, hoist one in memory and honor of all who have and currently are serving on the mighty Battle Cat and remember her as she is, for she won’t be with us very much longer.

5 Comments

  1. So if you find yourself so inclined today, hoist one in memory and honor of all who have and currently are serving on the mighty Battle Cat and remember her as she is, for she won’t be with us very much longer.

    I’ll do just that. Happy Hour is nearly here and there’s nothing better than raising a glass (or two) to this grand ol’ ship and those that sailed with her… past and present.

    Cheers!

  2. DangerousDan

    One of my classmates is on the kitty and will come home with her when she decomms.

  3. sid

    Damn I’m old…Remember when she was spankin’ new. Given all her early engineering troubles I’m surprised she made it this long. Guess homeporting carriers in Japan is good for their material condition.

    She certainly was in the thick of things 41 years ago as we speak. May 1967 was a tough time.

    Tough indeed:

    http://www.virtualwall.org/dg/GriffinJL01a.htm

    http://www.virtualwall.org/dw/WaltersJx01a.htm

    Here are some more who launched on extended cycles from the ole Kitty:

    http://www.captaincoffee.com/Prison_armcast.jpg

    http://www.military.com/NewContent/0,13190,Goss_102703,00.html

  4. GM Cassel AMH1(AW) USN RET

    From an old Hawk and CVW9 guy, thanks. I had the privelege of being on the Round the World Cruise in 1987 as a member of Attack Squadron One Four Seven.(TAD to AIMD Hydraulics Shop). Oh yeah, we were the best “I” level Hydraulic Shop in Pac Fleet that year.

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