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Kitty Hawk Strike Group Visits Republic of Korea

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS050314-07
Release Date: 3/14/2005 12:56:00 PM

From USS Kitty Hawk Public Affairs

BUSAN, Republic of Korea (NNS) -- USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63), Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5 and elements of the carrier's strike group arrived in Busan, Republic of Korea, March 14 for a port visit on the anniversary of Kitty Hawk's previous visit in March 2004.

Accompanying the aircraft carrier on this visit to Busan is the guided-missile cruiser USS Cowpens (CG 63). Six ships from Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15 are also scheduled to visit the ports of Chinhae and Pyongtaek. The DESRON ships include the cruiser USS Vincennes (CG 49); destroyers USS John S. McCain (DDG 56), USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) and USS Cushing (DDD 985); and frigates USS Gary (FFG 51) and USS Vandegrift (FFG 48).

"We're making port calls to three different cities because the Republic of Korea is a wonderful place with many excellent ports to visit," said Rear Adm. James D. Kelly, commander of the Kitty Hawk Strike Group.

"The Koreans are wonderful people and gracious hosts," said Kelly, "and some of the best people you are going to find on the face of this earth."

Kelly, along with Kitty Hawk commanding officer Capt. Tom Parker; Capt. Joseph Aucoin, commander of CVW-5; Capt. Samuel Perez, commander of DESRON 15; and Capt. John Sorce, commanding officer of Cowpens, are expected to meet with various government, military and community leaders while visiting their respective ports.

The strike groups will bring more than 8,000 Sailors to the Republic of Korea, all of them eager to take advantage of some of the local attractions. The strike group's visit is expected to boost the local economy, with the Sailors spending their hard-earned money on local dining, retail businesses, and recreational tours and attractions.

While the Republic of Korea may offer great shopping or tourism for some Sailors aboard Kitty Hawk, for others it is an opportunity to visit loved ones and family members after a long separation.

"I'm really looking forward to seeing my fianc," said Electrician's Mate Fireman Jung An of Kitty Hawk's engineering department. An, who is a native of Suwon, Republic of Korea, joined the Navy in September 2001.

A change from last year's visit, this year CVW-5 has added a second squadron of Super Hornets in Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 27. The VFA-27 "Royal Maces" replaced their older C and D model Hornets with the new one-seat Super Hornet E model this winter to increase the air wing's complement of Super Hornets that were introduced last year by the VFA-102 "Diamondbacks." VFA-102 flies the two-seat Super Hornet F model.

Additionally, Fitzgerald joined the strike group in October. This Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer has a crew of approximately 250 Sailors and is capable of performing a wide range of missions, including air, surface and undersea warfare, as well as Tomahawk strike missions.

Kitty Hawk is America's oldest active ship, and is the first of the modern "super carriers," commissioned April 29, 1961. Nicknamed the "Battle Cat," the aircraft carrier has a crew of more than 3,200 Sailors. Also aboard are more than 2,000 Sailors of CVW-5, and staff personnel for Carrier Strike Group 5 and Destroyer Squadron 15.

CVW-5, embarked aboard Kitty Hawk, has more than 60 aircraft and operates from Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Japan, as an essential element of naval aviation and U.S. 7th Fleet operations.

Kitty Hawk, the Navy's only permanently forward-deployed aircraft carrier, currently operates from Yokosuka, Japan.

The Kitty Hawk Strike Group is the largest carrier strike group in the Navy and is composed of the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk, CVW-5, the guided-missile cruisers USS Chancellorsville (CG 62) and Cowpens, and Destroyer Squadron 15.



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