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Kitty Hawk Returns From Summer Deployment

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070925-23
Release Date: 9/25/2007 4:41:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Olivia Giger, USS Kitty Hawk Carrier Strike Group Public Affairs

YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) pulled into Yokosuka, Japan Sept. 21, after a four-month summer deployment. The carrier departed May 23 after successfully completing sea trials and pilot refresher training, known as carrier qualifications.

Kitty Hawk kicked off the summer deployment with Talisman Saber 2007, in which the United States and Australia combined land, sea and air forces. The exercise brought together more than 12,000 Australian and 20,000 U.S. personnel from all branches of the armed services.

Kitty Hawk then participated in Exercise Valiant Shield 2007, one of the largest annual exercises in the Western Pacific. This year's weeklong exercise involved about 30 ships, 280 aircraft and 22,000 Airmen, Sailors, Soldiers and Marines who worked together to build their joint combat skills.

The 30 ships involved with Valiant Shield were from three carrier strike groups: Kitty Hawk’s, USS Nimitz’s Carrier Strike Group and USS John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group. During the exercise, Rear Adm. Rick Wren, commander of the Kitty Hawk strike group and Task Force 70, had command of all three strike groups.

Kitty Hawk also participated in Malabar, a six-day exercise that took place in the Indian Ocean’s Bay of Bengal, involving more than 20,000 personnel on 28 ships and 150 aircraft from the United States Navy, Indian Navy, Royal Australian Navy, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, and the Republic of Singapore Navy.

In an effort to be prepared should a real-life situation call them to work together in the future, the five nations came together to improve their anti-submarine warfare, anti-piracy, humanitarian and combat skills.

“[Malabar] is an exercise for bringing maritime professionals together and learning from each other,” said Vice Adm. Doug Crowder, 7th Fleet commander, in a press conference held on Kitty Hawk’s flight deck, Sept. 7.

During Malabar, Kitty Hawk also recorded its 400,000th aircraft landing, also known as a trap. The historic trap was made by an E/A-6B Prowler from Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 136 piloted by Capt. Michael McNellis, commander of Carrier Air Wing 5. This was also McNellis’s 1,000th career trap.

Kitty Hawk is the only carrier still in commission to surpass the number and is the third Navy aircraft carrier to have more than 400,000 carrier landings.

Kitty Hawk, along with its escorts, visited Guam twice; Sydney and Brisbane, Australia; and Port Klang, near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The ships were in Malaysia on August 31, the country’s 50th anniversary of independence from Great Britain.

“There was a lot of stuff to see in Malaysia,” said Master-at-Arms 3rd Class Cedrick Irvin. “We pulled in at a great time - during their Independence Day celebration.”

In every port, Sailors signed up with the ship’s Religious Ministries Department for community relations projects, to give back to the people of each city.

“It’s always good to give back to the community,” said Seaman Robert Tucker of Deck Department’s 3rd division. “If they’re letting us into their country we should do what we can to help while we’re there.”

Kitty Hawk’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation division also set up tours of the ports visited, including one that featured rappelling in Australia.

“It’s completely exhilarating to say the least,” said Aviation Electronics Technician 1st Class (AW) Ryan Skaggs from Strike Fighter Squadron 102. “It’s the most exciting thing I’ve ever done in my life.

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