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The aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk crossed to the Atlantic after a brief call at Punta Arenas

Monday, March 21st 2022 - 09:33 UTC
Full article 2 comments
The aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk crossed to the Atlantic after a brief call at Punta Arenas The aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk crossed to the Atlantic after a brief call at Punta Arenas

The United States aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk is on its way to a scrapyard in Texas and too large to slip through the Panama Canal, the ship must sail around South America.

In her 16,000-mile trip this weekend the impressive vessel “rested” for a few hours in Punta Arenas, extreme south of Chile as she was crossing the Magellan Strait towed by a couple of tugs.

Navy Times reports that Kitty Hawk was the first carrier of its class, launched in 1961 with a heap of improvements over its WWII-era predecessors.

It completed six tours in Vietnam and was the first carrier to be awarded a Presidential Unit Citation for heroism. The ship saw action all over the Pacific, including the Iraq War, where its planes expended nearly a million pounds of ordnance. Since retirement in 2009, the air carrier had been docked in Washington state.

Many histories do not mention the race riot that occurred below decks in 1972. Nobody is quite sure how it started, but things got bad fast.

“The fighting spread rapidly throughout the ship, with bands of Blacks and Whites marauding through the decks and attacking each other with fists, chains, wrenches, and pipes,” according to David Cortwright, now with the Kroc Institute at the University of Notre Dame.

When news broke of the ship’s scrapyard fate, many of the 280,000 sailors who served on the Kitty Hawk over the years lobbied to save it. Veteran David Cook of North Carolina told local media he would be “devastated if they turned it into razor blades.” He and other vets say the ship would make a fine museum, especially docked alongside the battleship USS North Carolina in Wilmington, not far from town where the Wright brothers made their names.

However halfway on her trip to Texas, she will be cut up and sold for scrap once it reaches its destination.

Top Comments

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  • FortHay

    The US built its WWII battleships to fit the canal to within 6 inches. The Carter administration saw the future and realized that even the new Panamax dimensions will not accommodate future strategic maritime traffic. Aircraft carriers, supertankers and even super-container ships can not pass through the canal. While Chile has been a long time ally of the US, it was clearly this strategic situation that contributed to US support of the iron lady's re-conquest so as to maintain a reliable base from which to control the South Atlantic passage.

    Mar 21st, 2022 - 10:22 am 0
  • Pugol-H

    The Argys hadn’t realised that, now you have told them no doubt it will be added to the list of whinges.

    Mar 22nd, 2022 - 04:36 pm 0
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