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Photographer's Note

This photo was taken today and shows the USS Kitty Hawk in Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour.

I took this photo as our ferry was departing the aircraft carrier; having had a very enjoyable 1-hour tour on board.

Our tour leader was a pilot from the "Diamondbacks" Strike Fighter Squadron - which is "the best squadron ... if anyone asks."

For a full-length view of the ship, have a look at John Plumb's great panoramic shot - USS Kitty Hawk – Battle Cat CV-63.

This is the second time I have had the opportunity to see these mighty ships closeup. In July 1998, I visited the USS Abraham Lincoln when it came to Hong Kong.

To see some amazing shots of the Kitty Hawk, take a look at NavSource Online: Aircraft Carrier Photo Archive.

The Tension weblog has an up-to-date report on the USS Kitty Hawk - Combat Camera: On Board USS Kitty Hawk: April 6, 2008.

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TOKYO - The USS Kitty Hawk, the U.S. Navy's oldest ship in full active service, embarked on its last major maneuvers Wednesday before being decommissioned next year.

The 46-year-old vessel - the only American aircraft carrier permanently deployed abroad - eased out of its berth at the U.S. Navy base in Yokosuka, just south of Tokyo, escorted by a carrier strike group of cruisers and guided missile destroyers, Naval spokesman John Nylander said.

The voyage, to last several months in the western and central Pacific Ocean, was expected to be the last major mission for the ship before it is replaced next year by the USS George Washington and sent back to the United States for decommissioning, said Rear Adm. Richard B. Wren, commander of the Kitty Hawk Carrier Strike Group.

"This is the last trip for USS Kitty Hawk," Wren told reporters. The Kitty Hawk, with a crew of more than 5,500, was commissioned in 1961 and has served in Vietnam and Iraq.

The oil-powered ship was deployed to Yokosuka in 1998, and will be replaced with the nuclear-powered George Washington as part of the U.S. military's effort to modernize its forces in East Asia - an area of potential flashpoints with North Korea or China.

Source: Associated Press - 23 May, 2007

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Additional Photos by Andrew Orme (orme) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1694 W: 114 N: 1605] (7219)
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