Constellation Strike Group WESTPAC 95 Deployment
CVA / CV 64 Constellation
"Connie" / "America's Flag Ship"
On 31 July 1994, Lt. Kara Hultgreen made her first qualifying landing in an F-14A on board Constellation, 110 miles southwest of San Diego. She thus became the first fully qualified female Tomcat pilot. Lt. Hultgreen was assigned to VF-213 at NAS Miramar, Calif. Lt. (j.g.) Carey Dunai, also in an F-14, became the second woman to reach the milestone with her qualifying trap moments later. Lt. Hultgreen was killed at sea 25 October 1994 while approaching USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) for a landing 50 miles off San Diego.
Constellation and her battle group deployed again on 10 November 1994, and spent most of December in the western Pacific. On 11 January 1995, the carrier and her seven-ship battle group entered the Arabian Gulf. With Constellation were the guided missile cruisers USS Chosin (CG 65) and USS Lake Erie (CG 70), the destroyer USS Kinkaid (DD 965), the ammunition ship USS Kiska (AE 35), the replenishment oiler USS Cimarron (AO 177), and the attack submarine USS Topeka (SSN 754). Aircraft from Constellation's air wing, Carrier Air Wing Two (CVW 2), patrolled the U.N. no-fly zone over southern Iraq in support of Operation Southern Watch.
During this period in the Gulf, when the Constellation's crew learned of its hometown San Diego Chargers' American Football Conference championship victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers, it decided to send the Chargers and the fans of San Diego a personal message. On 18 January, about 850 sailors from Connie and her air wing assembled on the flight deck in their white uniforms to form the words "Go Chargers" spelled out on the ship's flight deck. Photographers in a helicopter flying above the ship took photos and shot video and them back to San Diego. Constellation returned to San Diego in May 1995.
Actor and comedian Tim Allen visited Constellation during an at-sea period in early 1996. Mr. Allen, star of ABC's then-top-rated sitcom Home Improvement, along with the show's producers and writers, came aboard 19 January, and were scouting Constellation as a possible setting for a future show. That show, number A553, episode 127/ 6.01, aired on the ABC television network on 17 September 1996.
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