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Ex-Sailors' Dream Is USS Kitty Hawk Moored in Wilmington

Posted March 6, 2007
Updated March 7, 2007

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— The U.S. Navy is about to retire the USS Kitty Hawk, and Wilmington wants to bring the aircraft carrier home.

The Kitty Hawk is the Navy’s oldest aircraft carrier in service, commissioned in 1961 and due for decommissioning next year. The nuclear-powered USS George Washington is replacing it.

The way some see it, the change presents North Carolina with an opportunity. Their idea is to bring the ship from its home port in Japan to the waters of Wilmington, to rest near the battleship North Carolina.

The USS North Carolina is a mighty symbol of what can be done. In 1961, the state brought the battleship home, and school children all over the state helped raise money to make it happen.

“As I recall, we asked the children for pennies. Today, we'll ask them for $10 and ask their fathers and mothers for another $25,” said retired Capt. Wilbur Jones.

The challenges run deep.

“To start with, it'll cost about $7 million to tow the ship to Wilmington,” Jones said. “We would have to, of course, maintain it. We would have to refurbish it and make it into a museum so that visitors could visit.”

The Navy must agree to let North Carolina have the Kitty Hawk.

A group of retired military men is behind the effort, and they believe it is the right thing to do.

“It’s birthright is North Carolina, and that's where it ought to come home to,” Jones said.

The group has talked with North Carolina's congressional delegation and the Navy and hopes to bring the ship home in 2010.

31 Comments

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  • Low Voltage Mar 7, 3:38 p.m.

    srallen, catch me at baccadude04@yahoo.com if you have time. Thanks.

  • Low Voltage Mar 7, 3:36 p.m.

    (a storekeeper.....sorry)

  • Low Voltage Mar 7, 3:35 p.m.

    srallen, I was an storekeeper (SK5) in S-6 Supply Division. Our office was up froward on the 1st deck. What was your job among those 5000 plus men/women aboard. (Did they have women on board when you were there? We didn't.)

  • They call me CATMAN Mar 7, 2:53 p.m.

    Slippery when wet your right about being a carrier sailor nothing like it. I was on on the last cruise she made in 1991.

  • twright530 Mar 7, 2:10 p.m.

    Wherever it goes it will be full of Mexicans in 30 minutes.

  • kursk Mar 7, 1:58 p.m.

    THE REAL OLF ! ! ! USS KITTY HAWK.

    Park it off the coast & use this for practice.

    Write Mrs. Dole & let her know how you feel!

  • methinks Mar 7, 11:17 a.m.

    Sign me up. I would love to help in the fundraising efforts to get this ship here. I enjoy seeing the USS NC and would love to see the US Kitty Hawk. How do I help?

    And why can't it be decommissioned in Norfolk? Can't Uncle Sam help some with getting it here?

  • Low Voltage Mar 7, 11:07 a.m.

    Good idea jinbob, but there has to be at a 33 knot nose wind to take off and land on a carrier. Also, the Pamlico Sound is too shallow.

  • jimbob9538 Mar 7, 10:41 a.m.

    Why not park the Kitty Hawk in Pamlico Sound? If that’s feasible, it might be a viable alternative to the controversial landing strip the Navy wants to build in Washington and Beaufort counties. The Navy wants to practice aircraft carrier landings on a runway it wants to build at the site, which is about five miles from Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge. What better landing strip could there be than an actual aircraft carrier?

  • NJDEVILSFANINNCHELL Mar 7, 10:34 a.m.

    We have all sorts of vanity license plates in this state that help various organizations. WHY is their NONE for the battleship?? This would be a great opportunity to raise funding and awareness for both!! I know I would be first in line to get one!!

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