Pop quiz time for all you amateur military historians. Which of the following is true about the USS Kitty Hawk?:
A) It is the Navy’s oldest active ship.
B) It was the first aircraft carrier during the Vietnam War to receive a Presidential Unit Citation for "exceptionally meritorious and heroic service.”
C) It was the first carrier summoned to deliver troops and aircraft to Afghanistan after Sept. 11, 2001.
D) It led a battle group during the initial “shock and awe” campaign against Iraq in 2003.
E) All of the above.
The answer, as you might have guessed, is “All of the above.” If only the WASL test were this easy.
Now we’re told the “Battlecat” is heading north from San Diego Thursday morning to be decommissioned at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton. It’s scheduled to arrive early next week, just after Labor Day.
About 1,600 sailors are coming (there’s no longer a need for the full 2,800-member crew) and by January the Kitty Hawk will be down to 400 sailors.
The Navy sent out a news release including some “fun facts” about the ship. Here’s my favorite:
The "K" in "HAWK" on the ship’s stern is upside down. When welders moved the small steel letter plates from below the fantail — where they were originally located — to just below the flight deck sometime in the early 1960s, the final "K" was tacked on upside down. It’s not easy to spot, but if you compare the two "K’s" you’ll see the difference.
For more about this historic aircraft carrier, you can link to its website here.