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USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67)
USS John F. Kennedy departing Mayport, Florida, Nov. 11, 2003, escorted by tugboats.
Career (United States)
Name: USS John F. Kennedy
Namesake: John F. Kennedy
Ordered: 30 April 1964
Builder: Newport News Shipbuilding
Laid down: 22 October 1964
Launched: 27 May 1967
Sponsored by: Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
Christened: 27 May 1967
Commissioned: 7 September 1968
Decommissioned: 1 August 2007
Motto: Date Nolite Rogare
(Latin for "Give, be unwilling to ask"; cf. "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country")
Nickname: "Big John"
Status: On Donation Hold for use as a museum and memorial
General characteristics
Class and type: John F. Kennedy-class[1]
Displacement: 60,728 tons light
82,655 tons full load
21,927 tons deadweight
Length: 1,052 feet (321 m) overall, 990 feet (300 m) waterline
Beam: 252 feet (77 m) extreme, 130 feet (40 m) waterline
Height: 192 fteet from top of the mast to the waterline
Draft: 36 feet (11 m) maximum, 37 feet (11 m) limit
Propulsion: 8 × 1,200 psi (8.3 MPa) boilers, 4 steam turbines, 4 shafts, 280,000 shp (210 MW)
Speed: 34 knots (63 km/h)
Capacity: 5,000+
Complement: 3,297 officers and men (without jet commands & crews)
Armament: 2 × GMLS Mk 29 launchers for Sea Sparrow missiles
2 × Phalanx CIWS
2 × RAM launchers
Aircraft carried: 80+

USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67) (formerly CVA-67), Ship Characteristic Board SBC-127C,[2] is a decommissioned supercarrier of the United States Navy. Nicknamed "Big John", she was named after the 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy. Kennedy was originally designated a CVA, or strictly an air combat ship; however, the designation was changed to CV to denote that the ship was capable of anti-submarine warfare, making her an all-purpose carrier.

After nearly 40 years of service in the United States Navy, Kennedy was officially decommissioned on 1 August 2007. The ship is berthed at the NAVSEA Inactive Ships On-site Maintenance facility in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. As of November 2009 the ship was available for donation as a museum and memorial to a qualified organization.[3]


Ship history

Caroline Kennedy breaks a bottle of champagne against the hull of the US Navy aircraft carrier named after her father. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and John F. Kennedy, Jr. look on with smiles at the launch ceremonies for the USS John F. Kennedy.

The ship's keel was laid on 22 October 1964 by Newport News Shipbuilding. The ship was officially christened 27 May 1967 by Jacqueline Kennedy and her 9-year-old daughter, Caroline, two days short of what would have been Kennedy's 50th birthday.

The Kennedy entered service 7 September 1968.

John F. Kennedy is a modified version of the earlier Kitty Hawk-class aircraft carriers.[4] Originally scheduled to be the fourth Kitty Hawk-class carrier Kennedy received so many modifications during construction, she formed her own class.[1]

Kennedy was ordered as a nuclear carrier, using the A3W reactor, but converted to conventional propulsion after construction had begun. The island is somewhat different from the Kitty Hawk class, with angled funnels to direct smoke and gases away from the flight deck. Kennedy is also 17 feet (5.2 m) shorter than the Kitty Hawk class.



A view of damage sustained by the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67) when she collided with the USS Belknap during night operations

Kennedy's maiden voyage, and several of her subsequent voyages, were on deployments to the Mediterranean during much of the 1970s to help deal with the steadily deteriorating situation in the Middle East. It was during the 1970s that the Kennedy was upgraded to handle the F-14 Tomcat and the S-3 Viking.

In 1974, she won the Marjorie Sterrett Battleship Fund Award for the Atlantic Fleet.

On 20 June 1975, Kennedy was the target of eight arson fires while at port in Norfolk, Virginia. No one was injured by the fires.[5]

On 22 November 1975, Kennedy collided with USS Belknap (CG-26), severely damaging the smaller ship and earning itself the nickname "Can Opener."

On 14 September 1976, while conducting a nighttime underway replenishment 100 miles north of Scotland, the USS Bordelon (DD-881) lost control and collided with Kennedy, resulting in such severe damage to the destroyer that she was removed from service in 1977.

In late 1978, the ship underwent her first, yearlong overhaul, which was completed in 1979.

On 9 April 1979, the aircraft carrier, John F. Kennedy experienced five fires set by arson while undergoing overhaul at Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Virginia. The fires killed one shipyard worker and injured 34 others.[5]

On 5 June 1979, Kennedy was the target of two more fires at Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Virginia. No one was injured in the incident.[5]

In 1979, she won her second Marjorie Sterrett Battleship Fund Award.


An elevated starboard quarter view of the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy during the International Naval Review in New York Harbor, 4 July 1986.

In 1982, the ship sailed on her ninth deployment, and her first visit to the Indian Ocean after transiting the Suez Canal. During this tour Kennedy played host to the first visit of the Somali head of state.

In October 1983 Kennedy was diverted to Beirut, Lebanon from its planned Indian Ocean deployment, after the Beirut barracks bombing took the lives of 241 US Military personal taking part in the Multinational Force in Lebanon, and spent the rest of that year and early 1984 patrolling the region. On December 4, 1983 ten A-6 aircraft from the Kennedy along with A-6 and A-7 aircraft from USS Independence took part in a bombing raid over Beirut, in response to two US F-14 Aircraft being fired upon the previous day. The Navy lost two aircraft during the raid, an A-7E from the Independence and an A-6E from the Kennedy, were shot down by SAM's. The A-7E pilot was picked up by a fishing boat, however the A-6E pilot Lt. Mark Lange was killed and the B/N Lt. Robert Goodman was taken prisoner. Lt. Goodman was released January 3, 1984, after negotiations by Rev. Jesse Jackson.[4]

In 1984, the ship was drydocked at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard for a complex overhaul and much needed upgrades. Setting sail in July 1986, Kennedy participated in the International Naval Review to help mark the Re-dedication of the Statue of Liberty. Kennedy served as the flagship for the armada before departing on an overseas deployment to the Mediterranean in August - highlighted by multiple Freedom of Navigation exercises in the Libya's Gulf of Sidra, and operations off of the coast of Lebanon as a result of increasing terrorist activities and U.S. citizens being taken hostage in Beirut. The ship returned to Norfolk, Va in March 1987.

In August 1988, Kennedy departed on her twelfth overseas deployment. During this deployment, a pair of MiG-23 'Flogger E' fighter bombers from Libya approached the carrier task force which was 130 km off the shore of Libya near the declared Libyan territorial waters of the Gulf of Sidra. The approaching MiGs prompted two Kennedy-launched F-14 Tomcats from VF-32 "Fighting Swordsmen" to intercept the incoming MiGs. Although the U.S. planes were sent to escort the MiGs away from the task force peacefully, what developed was a shooting match between the U.S. and Libyan aircraft, which resulted in both of the Libyan aircraft being shot down.


Laser-guided bombs line the flight deck of the aircraft carrier Kennedy in preparation for air strikes against Iraq during Operation Desert Storm on 23 January 1991. The A-6E Intruder aircraft in the background is armed with laser-guided bombs.

Kennedy returned to the U.S. in time to participate in Fleet Week in New York and Independence Day celebrations in Boston before unexpectedly being mobilized in August 1990 for Operation Desert Shield. Despite having little to no warning, Kennedy prepared for her deployment overseas, where she arrived in September 1990 and became the flagship for the commander of the Red Sea Battle Force. On 16 January 1991, Kennedy's Carrier Air Wing 3 commenced operations against Iraqi forces as part of Operation Desert Storm. Between the commencement of the operation and the cease-fire, Kennedy launched 114 airstrikes and nearly 2,900 sorties against Iraq, which delivered over 3.5 million pounds of ordnance.

On 27 February 1991 President George H. W. Bush declared a cease-fire in Iraq, and ordered all U.S. forces to stand down. With the presidential cease-fire in place the Kennedy was relieved, and began the long journey home by transiting the Suez Canal. She arrived in Norfolk 28 March 1991. While at Norfolk the ship was placed on a four month selective restricted availability period as the shipyard workers set about fixing the ship. Extensive repairs to the flight deck were made, as well as to maintenance and engineering systems. Additionally, the ship was refitted to handle the new F/A-18C/D Hornet.

A close-up view of the banner hanging from the starboard bow missile sponson of the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy, 7 April 1993.

With the upgrades completed, Kennedy departed on her 14th deployment to the Mediterranean, assisting several task forces with workup exercises in anticipation of intervention in Yugoslavia. When Kennedy returned she was sent to the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, where she underwent a two year extensive overhaul. Upon the completion of the overhaul the ship was transferred to the Mayport Naval Station near Jacksonville, Florida, which remained the ship's home port.

The JFK made a high-profile visit to Dublin during an Atlantic deployment in 1996. Here, more than 10,000 people were invited to tour the ship at anchor in Dublin Bay. The visit was also intended to honor two personalities who made a great impact on US history - John F Kennedy, for whom the ship was named, and Commodore John Barry. Barry was a County Wexford native who played an instrumental role in the early years of the US Navy. Officers and crew from the Kennedy joined local military and civilian organizations in celebrating Barry's achievements at his statue in Crescent Quay, Wexford, and three F-14 Tomcat fighters flew at low level over the town. Her Excellency Ms Jean Kennedy Smith, a sister of John F Kennedy, was the US ambassador to Ireland at this time and was among those to welcome the ship to Ireland.

During its visit to Ireland, high winds in Dublin Bay caused the boarding pontoon to tear a large hole into the JFK's hull.

Kennedy's 15th Mediterranean deployment was uneventful, and she returned in time to participate in Fleet Week '98 in New York City.

Kennedy's 16th deployment, however, was eventful. Kennedy became involved in a rescue mission when the tug Gulf Majesty foundered during Hurricane Floyd in mid-September 1999. The ship successfully rescued the crew of the vessel, then headed toward the Middle East, where she became the first U.S. aircraft carrier to make a port call in Al Aqabah, Jordan, in the process playing host to the King of Jordan, before taking up station in support of Operation Southern Watch.

Kennedy was the only carrier underway at the end of 1999, arriving at Mayport on 19 March 2000. After a brief period of maintenance, the carrier sailed north to participate in July 4 International Naval Review (see also Naval review), then headed to Boston for Sail Boston 2000.


USS John F. Kennedy (bottom right) with ships from five nations during Operation Enduring Freedom, 16 April 2002.
USS John F. Kennedy arriving under tow at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 22 March 2008.

During Kennedy's last round of refits the ship became a testbed for an experimental system for the Cooperative Engagement Capability, a system that allowed Kennedy to engage targets beyond its original range.

In 2001, during a pre-deployment trial, the Kennedy was found to be severely deficient in some respects, especially those relating to air group operations; most problematic, two aircraft catapults and three aircraft elevators were non-functional during inspection, and two boilers would not light. As a result, her captain and two department heads were relieved for cause.

As the events of September 11, 2001 attacks unfolded, Kennedy and her battle group were ordered to support Operation Noble Eagle, establishing air security along the mid-Atlantic seaboard, including Washington, D.C. JFK was released from Noble Eagle on 14 September 2001.[4]

During the first six months of 2002, Kennedy aircraft dropped 31,000 tons of ordnance on Taliban and al Qaeda targets.[6]

In July 2004, Kennedy collided with a dhow in the Persian Gulf, leaving no survivors on the traditional Arab sailing boat.[7] After the incident the Navy relieved the commanding officer of the Kennedy, CAPT Stephen B. Squires. The carrier itself was unscathed, but two jet fighters on the deck were damaged when one slid into the other as the ship made a hard turn to avoid the tiny vessel. A popular misconception is that CAPT Squires waited to make the turn at the last possible moment to recover aircraft returning from airstrikes that were critically low on fuel. The official review board determined this was not the case and the aircraft could have remained safely aloft until the Kennedy maneuvered to avoid the dhow.[8]

Budget cutbacks and changing naval tactics, combined with the facts that the Kennedy was the most costly carrier in the fleet to maintain and that she was due for an expensive overhaul, prompted the U.S. Navy to retire the Kennedy.[9] On 1 April 2005, the Navy formally announced that the carrier's scheduled 15-month overhaul had been cancelled.[10]

Before decommissioning she made a number of port calls to allow the public to "say farewell" to her, including a stop at her "homeport" Boston Harbor.[11] The Kennedy also took part in the 2005 New York City Fleet Week festivities at the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum.[12] She was decommissioned in Mayport, Florida on 23 March 2007.[13]

The ship's unique in-port cabin, which was decorated by Jacqueline Kennedy with wood paneling, oil paintings, and rare artifacts, was disassembled and will be rebuilt at the National Museum of Naval Aviation at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida.[14] As of 30 March 2008, the cabin has not yet been rebuilt for display.

The Kennedy was towed to Norfolk, Virginia on 26 July 2007. She remained in Norfolk until a shoaled area near Pier 4 in Philadelphia could be dredged to enable the ship to safely dock. On 17 March 2008 at about 1700, she was seen leaving Norfolk Naval Station under tow of the Tug Atlantic Salvor. On 22 March 2008 Kennedy arrived, with the afternoon high tide, at the Naval Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility in Philadelphia.[15] She is currently laid up in the Philadelphia reserve fleet .[16] In November 2009, the Navy placed the Kennedy on donation hold for use as a museum and memorial. [17] A report that showed up in the Boston Herald newspaper on 26 November 2009 mentioned the possibility of bringing the Kennedy to the Boston, MA area, as a museum or memorial at no cost to the city, if desired.[18]

Commanding Officers

U.S. Navy Command Master Chief Charles L. Dassance presents the ensign to U.S. Navy Capt. Todd A. Zecchin, commanding officer of USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67), during the ship's decommissioning ceremony in Mayport, Fla., 23 March 2007. The conventionally powered aircraft carrier served its country with more than 38 years of service and 18 official deployments. Captain Zecchin had previously served as the carrier's executive officer during Kennedy's 1999–2000 Millennium Cruise.

List of commanding officers[4]

  • CAPT Earl Yates 7 September 1968 – 3 September 1969
  • CAPT Julian Lake 3 September 1969 – 4 September 1970
  • CAPT Ferdinand Koch 4 September 1970 – 1 October 1971
  • CAPT Robert Gormley 1 October 1971 – 30 November 1972
  • CAPT John Dixon Jr. 30 November 1972 – 24 May 1974
  • CAPT William Gureck 24 May 1974 – 29 November 1975
  • CAPT John Mitchell 29 November 1975 – 14 May 1977
  • CAPT Jerry O. Tuttle 14 May 1977 – 27 November 1978
  • CAPT Lowell Myers 27 November 1978 – 27 June 1980
  • CAPT Diego Hernandez 27 June 1980 – 29 August 1981
  • CAPT D. Bruce Cargill 29 August 1981 – 14 April 1983
  • CAPT Gary Wheatley 14 April 1983 – 5 September 1984
  • CAPT William McGowen 5 September 1984 – 1 May 1986
  • CAPT John Moriarty 1 May 1986 – 29 January 1988
  • CAPT Hugh Wisely 29 January 1988 – 27 May 1989
  • CAPT Herbert Browne 27 May 1989 – 7 December 1990
  • CAPT John Gay 7 December 1990 – 6 March 1992
  • CAPT Timothy Beard 6 March 1992 – 24 June 1993
  • CAPT J. R. Hutchison 24 June 1993 – 27 January 1995
  • CAPT Gerald L. Hoewing 27 January 1995 – 15 July 1996
  • CAPT Edward Fahy 15 July 1996 – 9 December 1997
  • CAPT Robin Weber 9 December 1997 – 6 August 1999
  • CAPT Michael Miller 6 August 1999 – 23 October 2000
  • CAPT Maurice Joyce 23 October 2000 – 13 December 2001
International radio call sign of
USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67)[19]
ICS November.svg ICS Juliet.svg ICS Foxtrot.svg ICS Kilo.svg
November Juliet Foxtrot Kilo
  • CAPT Johnny Green 13 December 2001 – 12 February 2002
  • CAPT Ronald Henderson Jr. 12 February 2002 – 8 April 2004
  • CAPT Stephen Squires 8 April 2004 – 27 August 2004
  • CAPT John Miller 27 August 2004 – 5 October 2004
  • CAPT Dennis Fitzpatrick 5 October 2004 – 26 May 2006
  • CAPT Todd A. Zecchin 26 May 2006 – 23 March 2007

See also


  1. ^ a b Navy Announces Availability of ex-John F. Kennedy for Donation
  2. ^ Friedman, Norman (1983). U.S. Aircraft Carriers: An Illustrated Design History. Naval Institute Press. p. 387. ISBN 0870217399.,M1. Retrieved 18 December 2008. 
  3. ^ Associated Press, AT&T On-line news, November 25, 2009
  4. ^ a b c d "John F Kennedy". History. US Navy. 
  5. ^ a b c Naval Sea Systems Command DC Museum "USS JOHN F. KENNEDY (CV 67)"
  6. ^ Official (comprehensive) history of Kennedy.
  7. ^ "Persian Gulf Maritime Mishap". 23 July 2004. Retrieved 24 October 2009. 
  8. ^ "USS John F. Kennedy Commanding Officer Relieved". 26 August 2004. Retrieved 31 October 2009. 
  9. ^ Jack Kelly (3 April 2005). "Carrier's fate launches political battle". The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 31 October 2009. 
  10. ^ "No Overhaul for USS John F. Kennedy". 1 April 2005. Retrieved 31 October 2009. 
  11. ^ Raphaella Zerey (5 March 2007). "Thousands pay last visit to USS JFK". The Daily Free Press. Archived from the original on 21 January 2009. Retrieved 21 January 2009. 
  12. ^ [1]. City Guide For Fleet Week 2005
  13. ^ Mark D. Faram (24 March 2008). "An outpouring of memories upon JFK arrival". Navy Times. Archived from the original on 21 January 2009. Retrieved 21 January 2009. 
  14. ^ Mark D. Faram (26 March 2007). "Placing of in-port cabin into museum". Navy Times. Retrieved 31 October 2009. 
  15. ^ Henry J. Holcomb (22 March 2008). "Aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy scheduled to arrive in Philadelphia today". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Archived from the original on 8 April 2008. Retrieved 31 October 2009. 
  16. ^ Matthew Jones (19 March 2008). "Deactivated carrier JFK on its way to Philadelphia storage yard". The Virginian-Pilot. Retrieved 19 March 2008. 
  17. ^
  18. ^ Edward Mason (26 November 2009). "Hub floated as possible home for JFK warship". The Boston Herald. Retrieved 26 November 2009. 
  19. ^ "USS John F. Kennedy (CVA-67)". NavSource Online. NavSource Naval History. 29 December 2007. Retrieved 21 January 2008. 

External links


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