CV-67 John F. Kennedy
USS JOHN F. KENNEDY (CV 67) was named for the 35th President of the United States. The aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67) was decommissioned in Mayport, Fla., 23 March 2007. The ship's keel was laid October 22, 1964, at the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company in Virginia. President Kennedy's nine-year-old daughter, Caroline christened the ship in May 1967 in ceremonies held at Newport News, Virginia; the ship subsequently entered naval service on September 7, 1968.
From the modern perspective, USS John F. Kennedy appears to be a stutter-step along the path to an all-nuclear carrier force. For much of its operational life, Kennedy would stand alone as a conventional carrier until its decommissioning in 2007. But at the time, it was similar to other carriers in the fleet. Of nearly 30 carriers at the time (including many of World War II vintage), the nuclear-powered Enterprise was in a class by itself.
KENNEDY was originally designed as a CVA-67, attack aircraft carrier. In the early 1970's, the classification was changed to CV-67, indicating the ship was capable of supporting anti-submarine warfare aircraft, making it an all-purpose, multi-mission aircraft carrier.
In September 1995, the USS John F. Kennedy became the Naval Reserve's first aircraft carrier. Homeported at Mayport, FL, her primary function during contingency operations was to provide a surge capability, and in peacetime to support Navy force training requirements. As with all other Reserve ships, she remained fully mission ready.
Since the Bottom-Up Review in 1993, the Defense Department routinely categorized the aircraft carrier force structure as consisting of 11 active carriers and one operational reserve/training carrier. In response to Quadrennial Defense Review analyses and a six-month deployment in 1997 with an active air wing, DoD reevaluated the concept of employing the John F. Kennedy (CV-67) primarily as an operational reserve/training carrier. As a result, this carrier was fully integrated into the active fleet's deployment schedule, while still functioning as a reserve and training asset when not operating in forward areas.
Although the JFK's primary mission is to support the training and surge requirements of the U.S. Navy, she deployed to the Mediterranean as a "gap filler" in the FY 1997 and FY 1999 CV/CVN deployment rotation. The JFK regularly participates in routine fleet exercises, carrier qualifications and battle group training. The USS JOHN F. KENNEDY is scheduled to return to the Active force in FY 2001. The Navy will revert the USS JOHN F. KENNEDY (CV-67), the Operation Reserve Carrier (ORC) back to the Active Fleet in FY 2007 to meet Navy carrier battle group requirements.
KENNEDY's maiden voyage was to the Mediterranean sea. She subsequently made another seven deployments to this area of the world through the '70s in response to a deteriorating situation in the Middle East. The ship's fourth Mediterranean cruise included her first visit to a North Atlantic port, Edinburgh, Scotland. By the mid-'70s, KENNEDY had been upgraded to handle both the F-14 "Tomcat" and the S-3 "Viking." KENNEDY underwent her first year-long major overhaul in 1979. The ship's ninth deployment, in 1981, was her first to the Indian Ocean. KENNEDY transitted the Suez Canal, hosted the first visit aboard a United States ship by a Somali head of state, and achieved its 150,000th arrested landing. In 1982, KENNEDY won an eighth Battle "E" efficiency award and fourth Golden Anchor retention award. In 1983, as a result of growing crisis in Beirut, Lebanon, KENNEDY was called upon once again to support efforts that would define the ship's operations into the next year. Awards received during that period included a ninth Battle "E," the Silver Anchor Award for Retention, the RADM Flatley Award for Safety and the Battenburg Cup for being the overall best ship in the Atlantic Fleet.
KENNEDY spent the winter of 1984 in drydock at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard for complex overhaul. KENNEDY departed Norfolk, Virginia, for her 12th major deployment to the Mediterranean in August 1988. On January 4, 1989, while conducting routine operations in international waters, F-14s from the embarked air wing shot down two Libyan MIG-23s that were approaching the battle group in a hostile manner. In the spring of 1989, the ship entered Norfolk Naval Shipyard for a short industrial period.
On January 16, 1991, aircraft from the ship's Carrier Air Wing THREE began Operation Desert Storm with attacks on Iraqi forces. The ship launched 114 strikes and 2,895 sorties, with the aircrews of CVW-3 flying 11,263 combat hours and delivering more than 3.5 million pounds of ordnance in the conflict. After the cease fire, KENNEDY transited the Suez Canal for the fourth time in seven months and began her journey home. KENNEDY arrived in its homeport of Norfolk on March 28, 1991, to enter a four-month shipyard restricted availability at Norfolk Naval Shipyard. The ship departed the shipyard at the end of September with extensive repairs and maintenance accomplished on engineering systems, flight deck systems and equipment.
The 1991 Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission recommended that the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard [PNSY] be closed but acknowledged that PNSY would perform the Service Life Extension Program for the USS Kennedy from September 1993 until mid-1996. Kennedy was not given the Service Life Extension Program upgrade that other carriers, such as Kitty Hawk and Constellation, received. The overhaul was canceled in 1991, and Congress subsequently appropriated about half of the estimated cost of the upgrade for Kennedy. The work on the USS Kennedy changed to a 24-month complex overhaul, which Congress required to be performed by PNSY. The Secretary of Defense concurred in this plan in September 1991. The Kennedy was hit hard when the $650 million, three-year overhaul aimed at completely refurbishing the carrier was nearly halved, and despite subsequent maintenance work, it never recovered.
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