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Thread: Navy to dismantle the ex-USS Kitty Hawk

  1. #1
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    Navy to dismantle the ex-USS Kitty Hawk

    Why would the Navy insist on dismantling the Kitty Hawk, when there are numerous groups that want to make her into a museum? Personally, I think they're nuts not to keep her in reserve. If the sh*t hit the fan with China or Russia and a bunch of our Nimitz carriers were out of commission, it would be awfully nice to have a supercarrier that had been laid up for barely more than a decade and capable of flying everything a Nimitz could on hand...hell of a lot cheaper than building a new carrier, too.

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/...ing/799796001/

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    Contributor bbvet's Avatar
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    AP88,

    Not to be the Grinch whole Stole the Kitty, but the fact is that (and I'm surprised one of the bird farm crowd hasn't chimed in on this!!!) operating and maintenance of ANY ship museum today is next to impossible. And, the truth is that many of the museum ships are in or going to be in serious shape because the "caretakers" are more interested in the tourist aspect and $$$ they pay into it than spending it on keeping the very namesake in decent enough condition to stay afloat. TEXAS is a perfect example (as well as OLYMPIA) where the time/attention/$$$ have NOT been spent and these ships may as well be on the bottom. From what I understand, NORTH CAROLINA could be in the same shape due to my state's lack of wanting to spend the money when it SHOULD have been spent and only now is trying to play catch up.

    Now, I remember "shitty kitty" from our 1966 Westpac cruise - the carrier was constantly dumping trash and was easy to follow - like breadcrumbs, etc. Which is where she got the moniker. Like my other namesake NEW JERSEY, times move on, equipment and systems change while budgets and money to keep updating does not. Regardless of the crowd who see an IOWA coming over the horizon, it's simply not going to happen and neither is recommissioning a carrier out of date, be it KH, JFK, or any of them that may still be in mothballs.

    Back to the museum crowd - I seriously doubt that there are "numerous" groups out there - there may be one or two serious museum orgs. that are putting together a package, but I seriously doubt that she is that worthy of being turned into yet ANOTHER expensive waterfront draw. Have you been on one of these ships lately?? I was aboard YORKTOWN in 1995 and was extremely impressed with her condition (of course, AFTER USS LAFFEY had sunk up against her - probably a very big wake up call!!!). I was aboard INTREPID on Memorial Day, 2015 - sad to say, I was very disappointed - materiel condition-wise - so-so, and being able to tour the ship - forget it! USS KIDD , being constantly maintained and kept in operating order by her caretakers and devoted volunteers is a "flagship" for other museums to look up to and strive to compete with; but she's the only one that I've seen that has kept that high standard. And this involves money - lots of it - and interest - lots of it - which seems esp. on the public's part, to be rather waning. And then there's QUEEN MARY - I have B/W 35mm pix of her I took the day she was towed into Long Beach, CA at Pier Echo in 1967. She's a disaster waiting to happen - once again, spend money on paint and amusements but not on actual maintenance and upkeep.

    Finally, you have to ask yourself "what sets this ship apart from the others for preservation's sake?" I don't see KH as having that spectacular a career when you compare her to other possible carriers in the last quarter century.

    Sorry I can't stand in your corner on this one, but we need to face reality when making decisions on what to keep and what to recycle. At least, that's my take on it. I'm sure someone will refute my position on this and I certainly hope they do. Discussion is much more desirable than silence.

    edit. - I served in STODDARD (DD-566) 1966-68 - we were part of KITTY HAWK's task group in 1966-67 Westpac. I was NOT a member of the KH crew!
    Last edited by bbvet; 05 Nov 17, at 09:27. Reason: clarification

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    How can she be that out of date when she was a forward deployed carrier less than a decade ago? Maybe I'm getting old, but 2008 doesn't seem like that long ago. Hell I'm using the same laptop I did then.

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    Defense ProfessionalSenior Contributor tbm3fan's Avatar
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    Kitty Hawk has no real historical value for one. Two, a super carrier is a very difficult thing to dock. Three, there aren't many places where one could dock it making number four obvious. Fourth, docking in a second or third tier location means scraping the bottom of the barrel for operating funds. Fifth, many of these museum associations think the ship is there to provide job income for themselves and will zero out maintenance to make sure they get paid.

    Now the only museum where they have been able to mix tourist attraction with maintenance has been the Midway. Their unique location enables the ship to pull in hundreds of thousands of dollars each month. Downtown pier around San Diego's other ships like the Star of India. Across the harbor from North Island making it easy for the ship to get, cough cough, help from the Navy. However, is it a military warship or is it Disneyland on the water. From many I have heard it is the latter.

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    Now I can only speak for the Battleship Iowa and with only 4 years as a board member I do not consider myself an expert but I have learned a lot.

    Quote Originally Posted by tbm3fan View Post
    many of these museum associations think the ship is there to provide job income for themselves and will zero out maintenance to make sure they get paid.
    USS Iowa’s senior staff has not had a raise in the 5 years that we have been open. Every staff does the work of 2 or 3 people. As an example the USS Missouri has a payed staff of around 150, we had about 40 the last time I checked.
    The Missouri also has the good fortune to be about 1000 feet from the USS Arizona Memorial.
    When the HNSA conference was hosted by the Iowa in 2015 I had a chance to have lunch with the Missouri’s Chairman & CEO and it surprised me that they were not looking at any of the digital innovations upgrades for the ship as I was, VR, AR & computer based. I soon learned that when you get 550,000 visitors a year you don’t worry about thing so much. That works out to about one third of the people that visit the USS Arizona.

    Quote Originally Posted by tbm3fan View Post
    However, is it a military warship or is it Disneyland on the water. From many I have heard it is the latter.
    One big problem with museum ships is our core demographic are people my age (58) and older. Sadly that demographic is slowly dying off. I feel very strongly that if we can’t attract a younger demographic we will end up like some of the ship's mentioned in this thread. One big reason that Disneyland does so well is its core demographic is being born every second.
    I feel we can find a balance between Historic preservation and entertainment. That is why I thought up and funded Iowa’s new HUP2 VR game, listed in my USS Iowa BB-61 News thread.
    The way I look at we can place 4 or 5 VR rigs in an unused compartment along the tour route and turn it into a game room. We will charge $3-$5 for the game and should cover cost and maybe make some money. I feel the game room will be very popular with our overnight “Camp Battleship” guests of Boy Scout and other youth groups. When you think about it we will have a captive audience of highly competitive young people. It is why I am having the VR developer add a “High Score” page to the game.
    We are also putting together a mobile VR box trailer that we will put about 4 HUP2 VR rigs and drive around to air shows, festivals, parades and other outdoor events. It will be a rolling billboard and should at least cover cost.
    Last edited by Battleship IOWA; 06 Nov 17, at 07:00.
    Craig Johnson

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    Contributor SlaterDoc's Avatar
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    Oh, I just have to "chime" in here!

    bbvet:
    I have to agree with you in a number of areas! However, are you sure about the origin of the moniker??
    During my short exposure to the "sh.ty kitty" in the early 70's I was told it came from her lousy shape and lack of maintenance! She spent more time in Subic for repairs than at Yankee station! She is not a good candidate for anything except scrap! I don't know of a single former member of her crew that holds any affection for the tub! Especially with the other chapters in her history, like the riots in 72!
    tbm:
    I know that you guys have suffered the consequences of a greedy staff and completely understand! There are a number of others that had the same problem. Just check out what really happened with Olympia as a result of greed and corruption! Yet there are many like Iowa where the dedication and commitment are the driving force behind the successes. I would rave on about USS Slater. But then, we are even more unique in a number of ways. No! In this case, size does not matter!

    Now, it would make more sense to consider JFK as more suitable for re-activation anyway! She is newer, in much better condition and more "worthy". However, since she is so close to becoming the "Midway of the East", her status was/is to be (from what I heard) Inactive Ready Reserve. JFK (like Midway and Mo) would also be at or next to a major Naval installation. Plus, with Newport being the major training command it is, she would be an ideal platform for access by the many school commands here (one of the many planned uses). There is also another use that is "Top Secret" and I'm not suppose to know. So, I don't! Plus, CV79 is already almost 50% complete! You know how today's hierarchy handles dilemmas! "what do you do now with two JFK's"
    There are many sad stories of ships that should have been and could have been saved and served as members of the historical fleet. But, because of the lack of interest, involvment and $$$$ their fates were not pretty! As a couple of examples are the stories of USS Cabot and USS Zuni/USCGC Tamaroa.
    Those that thrive or even just survive are not just memorials and reminders. They are necessary and needed for the education of all the newer generations that are having their minds polluted or washed in today's re-writing or just plain ignoring history! Those that thrive do so because their custodians and crews use common sense and ingenuity in creating and finding additional and creative purposes!

    RIP Rusty, we're still thinking about you!
    Last edited by SlaterDoc; 06 Nov 17, at 05:54.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Battleship IOWA View Post
    Now I can only speak for the Battleship Iowa and with only 4 years as a board member I do not consider myself an expert but I have learned a lot.



    USS Iowa’s senior staff has not had a raise in the 5 years that we have been open. Every staff does the work of 2 or 3 people. As an example the USS Missouri has a payed staff of around 150, we had about 40 the last time I checked.
    The Missouri also has the good fortune to be about 1000 feet from the USS Arizona Memorial.
    When the HNSA conference was hosted by the Iowa in 2015 I had a chance to have lunch with the Missouri’s Chairman & CEO and it surprised me that they were not looking at any of the digital innovations upgrades for the ship as I was, VR, AR & computer based. I soon learned that when you get 550,000 visitors a year you don’t worry about thing so much. That works out to about one third of the people that visit the USS Arizona.



    One big problem with museum ships is our core demographic are people my age (58) and older. Sadly that demographic is slowly dying off. I feel very strongly that if we can’t attract a younger demographic we will end up like some of the ship's mentioned in this thread. One big reason that Disneyland does so well is its core demographic is being born every second.
    I feel we can find a balance between Historic preservation and entertainment. That is why I thought up and funded Iowa’s new HUP2 VR game, listed in my USS Iowa BB-61 News thread.
    The way I look at we can place 4 or 5 VR rigs in an unused compartment along the tour route and turn it into a game room. We will charge $3-$5 for the game and should cover cost and maybe make some money. I feel the game room will be very popular with our overnight “Camp Battleship” guests of Boy Scout and other youth groups. When you think about it we will have a captive audience of highly competitive young people. It is why I am having the VR developer add a “High Score” page to the game.
    We are also putting together a mobile VR box trailer that we will put about 4 HUP2 VR rigs and drive around to air shows, festivals, parades and other outdoor events. It will be a rolling billboard and should at least cover cost.
    There are exceptions and speaking from experience I was singling out the Hornet. Our past &%^$# director hired two people for each job and a couple of months before leaving, cough cough, gave out 10K bonuses to the paid staff. Meanwhile us volunteers are trying to repair the flight deck, BIG bucks, and our ED is robbing us blind. I could be more explicit with good old salty Navy talk but this is public.

    In theory we should be fairly well off. Halloween Party with 1000 attending. Weekend overnights getting up to 350 people. Ship rented out for parties by Unions, and Tech companies. Those events aren't cheap but where does the money go? Incompetence always finds a way to waste such.

  8. #8
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    SlaterDoc wrote:
    bbvet:
    I have to agree with you in a number of areas! However, are you sure about the origin of the moniker??
    During my short exposure to the "sh.ty kitty" in the early 70's I was told it came from her lousy shape and lack of maintenance! She spent more time in Subic for repairs than at Yankee station! She is not a good candidate for anything except scrap! I don't know of a single former member of her crew that holds any affection for the tub! Especially with the other chapters in her history, like the riots in 72!
    SD - Well....I was trying to be nice - We all heard about KH's maintenance and poor shape, but I decided to take the "high road" on this. And, I don't think any of us who served during the Vietnam Era don't recall at least one ship (they all did) that had racial problems to some extent. I'll leave it there. You do bring up a phrase "lack of maintenance" - which is the heart and core of my argument - it is prevalent in the active fleet and certainly prevalent in the museum fleet.

    IF, and this is a very big word - IF, maintenance were put at the forefront of these museums and the entertainment second, perhaps these ships will survive many more years. But, Craig J. brings up the stats that are certainly true. While we (vets and other military enthusiasts) go to these venues to appreciate, learn, and see the object, most visitors go for the entertainment alone. They could care less about the history. I've been aboard NORTH CAROLINA quite a few times and heard some of the most outlandish explanations that good ole Dad gives the little 7 year old snot-dripping prodigy about various items along the tour that I could throw up - the average citizen in this country is so devoid of any historical or just plain common mechanical sense it's almost unbelievable. And, these are the paying public - sad to say, when NEW JERSEY was in Yokosuka, JN in winter 1968-69 many of the Japanese citizens who came aboard actually had very educated questions about the ship and spoke better English than most of our fellow citizens do - go figure, right??? And these people were there, not to be entertained, but to learn something. Is there a lesson to be learned?

    Back to the original question at hand - I'm glad this thread was answered by more than myself - it's obvious that these type of attractions are having a hard time competing with everything else today and one more huge tourist trap isn't going to help.

    While it hasn't been said in so many words, I'm wondering if when a committee (formed to "save" this ship or that one) goes before the local politicos to get their blessing that the first thing the council asks is "how much is in it for us???". The very root of the problem IMHO!

    Hank

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    We've discussed this in other threads: In a nutshell, a carrier is too much ship for a civilian organization to maintain.
    Far better it is to dare mighty things, than to take rank with those poor, timid spirits who know neither victory nor defeat ~ Theodore Roosevelt

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    Quote Originally Posted by ArmorPiercing88 View Post
    Why would the Navy insist on dismantling the Kitty Hawk, when there are numerous groups that want to make her into a museum? Personally, I think they're nuts not to keep her in reserve. If the sh*t hit the fan with China or Russia and a bunch of our Nimitz carriers were out of commission, it would be awfully nice to have a supercarrier that had been laid up for barely more than a decade and capable of flying everything a Nimitz could on hand...hell of a lot cheaper than building a new carrier, too.
    Let me get this straight. Something big enough and nasty enough to knock out several brand spanking new bleeding edge technology NIMITZ carriers and you want to send a rusted out, obsololete KITTYHAWK against it?

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    Now that Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has again won re-election, and given his long-standing plan to revise Japan’s pacifist constitution, perhaps he might be interested in acquiring a CV in need of overhaul and refit.

    Nobody needs to explain to me that this won't happen.
    Last edited by JRT; 07 Nov 17, at 00:48.
    .
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    If it came down to it, an old obsolete supercarrier would be better than none at all, and a hell of a lot cheaper than building a new one from scratch.

    http://dailycaller.com/2015/10/13/ju...w-to-the-navy/

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    Quote Originally Posted by ArmorPiercing88 View Post
    If it came down to it, an old obsolete supercarrier would be better than none at all, and a hell of a lot cheaper than building a new one from scratch.
    If it came down to it, neutralizing the threat that sunk all the NIMITZs should be the main priority, not rushing the KITTYHAWK into a fight she's destined to lose.

    However, what on this planet can challenge the NIMITZ Class? There's no unfilled requirement the KITTYHAWK can fill? There are no challenges to the USN that would require keeping the KITTYHAWK in reserve. The active duty fleet is more than capable of fullfilling their missions. Unlike the Cold War where the IOWA Class had a mission, to punch through the Soviet Naval Screens to land American and Canadian Divisions in Europe. There's nothing on this planet that the USN cannot punch through with its active fleet.

    So, spending the money keeping the KITTYHAWK ship worthy, let alone battle ready, is a poor priority of funds.

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    Hey to our museum ship crowd....

    Anyone know how the USS Massachusetts is doing? I was aboard 2 years ago. moving to the area in a few years and thinking of doing some volunteering when I get there.
    “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
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    It's been a couple of years since I've been on her as well, but as I recall- the hull was in decent shape, the deck was really tough in some areas.

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