She was commissioned on April 29, 1961. She is only the second Aircraft Carrier to carry the First Navy Jack. She is NOT a nuclear powered ship. She has been the oldest active ship in the Navy since 1998. She is none other than the USS Kittyhawk. She is presently in the Puget Sound area. She is scheduled to decommission on January 31, 2009.
I visited her website a couple months ago, and only just got an e-mail asking me for a mailing address for the invitation. I was so excited that my wife gave me the "Look." You know, the "what the hell was SO exciting that you had to sound like a little girl?" look. Oh, well, wives re like that. So, I am sending them my address and a request for four invitations. My parents have expressed an interest in attending...well, my father has. Anyway, while this in only a small way relates to aviation, well, that's not true, but it does also relate to Washington State.
I once visited the USS Constellation during a Seafair. I am afraid most of the photos from that trip were...well, I had a film snafu. I think they still inhabit a light-tight steel-tin somewhere in my boxes...
I have been aboard USS Turner Joy, USS Missouri(in 1984 and 1998), USS Pampanito, USS Hornet, USS Jeremiah O'Brien, and USS Tripoli. Yes, they are a motley assortment, and most are museums, but they are more than most landlubbers who live in a desert get to...who are not history fanatics. I have seen USS Henry B. Wilson, USS New Jersey, USS Iowa, USS Long Beach, USS Okinawa, USS Midway, and most of the Essex Class carriers that resided in Bremerton until they were either melted down or made into Museums. I wish I could say I have seen and been aboard more, but, it is hard to do in Central Washington.