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U.S.S. Kitty Hawk Nostalgic Journey

Audio

Aired 4/19/09

(Photo: USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) prepares to moor at Naval Air Station North Island upon her return to San Diego Thursday, Aug. 7, 2008. U.S. Navy )

 

The USS Kitty Hawk will sail out of San Diego Harbor this morning. The aircraft carrier is on her way to be decommissioned in Bremerton,  but she may not be retired quite yet.  KPBS reporter Alison St John has more.

 

The Kitty Hawk is the last of the non-nuclear powered aircraft carriers in the U.S fleet. For the last 10 years she was based in Japan, but she has spent about 25 of her 48 years home ported in San Diego.

 

Jason Chudy, the Kitty Hawk's unofficial historian, says she first arrived in San Diego in 1961, and many former crew members will be nostalgic about her departure.

 

Chudy  : Especially for those who joined the navy when they were really young,  it was their first ship. I mean this was, for many of ‘em, where they grew up. It’s a bitter sweet moment.

 

65 navy veterans are part of the onboard crew today.

 

Chudy says some in North Carolina want to see the carrier turned into a floating museum, like the USS Midway. He admits there have also been false rumors the Government of India wants her. But, Chudy says, the crews' orders are to prepare her for inactivation, which means she could be called back for duty, in a pinch.

 

Alison St John, KPBS News.

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