USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67)

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 USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67)USS John F. Kennedy departing Mayport, Florida
Career USN Jack
Awarded: 30 April 1964
Laid down: 22 October 1964
Launched: 27 May 1967
Commissioned: 7 September 1968
Home Port: NAVSTA Mayport, Florida
Status: Template:Active in service
General Characteristics
Displacement: 75,000 t
Length: 1,052 ft (321 m)
Beam: 129.3 ft (39 m)
Extreme Width: 249 ft (76 m)
Draft: 35.6 ft (10.9 m)
Speed: 30 knots (56 km/h)
Complement: 3,297 officers and men
Armament: 3x GLMS Mk 29 octuple SAM launchers
NATO Sea Sparrow
3 Mk.25 8-cell BPDMS launchers
4x Phalanx CIWS System
Aircraft: 80+
Motto: Date Nolite Rogare
("Give, be unwilling to ask")
Nickname: Big John

USS John F. Kennedy (CVA/CV-67) (or Big John) is a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier. The ship 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 (ASW), making it an all-purpose carrier.

Kennedy is one of two non-nuclear aircraft carriers still on active duty with the United States Navy. Kennedy is also one of the Navy's oldest carriers, making it a high priority to replace.


Ship history

The ship's keel was laid on October 22, 1964. She was christened May 27, 1967, and entered service September 7, 1968. John F. Kennedy is a modification of the earlier Kitty Hawk-class aircraft carriers, and they are sometimes considered a single class.

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.

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

In late 1978, the ship underwent her first, yearlong overhaul, which was completed in 1979 without incident.


In 1981, the ship sailed on her ninth deployment, and her first visit to the Indian Ocean before transiting the Suez Canal. During this tour Kennedy played host to the first visit of the Somali head of state.

In 1983 Kennedy was moved to Beirut, Lebanon to provide a U.S. presence for a growing crisis, and spent most of that year patrolling the region.

In 1984, the ship was drydocked at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard for a complex overhaul and much needed upgrades. Setting sail in July of 1986, Kennedy participated in the International Naval Review to help mark the Rededication of the Statue of Liberty. Kennedy served as the flagship for the armada before departing on an overseas deployment to the Mediterranean in August. The ship returned in March of 1987.

In August of 1988, Kennedy departed on her twelfth overseas deployment. During this deployment, a pair of MiG-23 'Flogger E' fighter bombers from Libya approached the formation in a threatening manner, prompting Kennedy-launched F-14 Tomcats to intercept the incoming fighters. Although the U.S. planes were sent to escort the MiGs away from the taskforce peacefully, what developed was a shooting match between the U.S. and Libyan aircraft, which resulted in the elimination of both of Libya's MiG-23s.


Kennedy returned to the U.S. in time to participate in Fleet Week in New York and the July 4th celebrations in Boston before unexpectedly being mobilized in August of 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 January 16, 1991, Kennedy's Carrier Wing 3 commenced attacks on 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 ordinance.

On February 27, 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 March 28, 1991 and received the greatest homecoming celebration since World War II. While at Norfolk the ship was placed on a four month selective restricted availability period as yardworks 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-18 Hornet.

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

Missing image
Sailors watch from the flight deck as the USS John F. Kennedy transits the Suez Canal in Egypt.

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 of 1999. The ship successfully rescued the crew of the vessel, then headed toward the Middle East, where she became the first U.S. ship to make a port call in Jordan, in the process playing host to the King of Jordan, before taking up station in support of Operation Southern Watch. During this deployment Kennedy set a new record for bombing accuracy.

Kennedy had the unique honor of being the only carrier underway at the end of 1999, falsely earning the ship the nick-name "Carrier of the New Millennium" (the millennium would not end for another year); Kennedy arrived at Mayport on March 19, 2000. After a brief period of maintenance, the carrier sailed north to participate in July 4th International Naval Review, then headed to Boston for Sail Boston 2000.


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

In 2001, John F. Kennedy was found to be severely deficient in most respects, especially those relating to air group operations, during a pre-deployment trial; most problematic, two catapults and three aircraft elevators were non-functional during inspection, and two boilers would not light. As a result, her captain and most of her senior staff were sacked.

From February to June, 2002 warplanes from the ship dropped more than 64,000 pounds (29 t) of ordnance on Taliban and al Qaeda targets.[1] (

The growing federal deficit and changing naval tactics have prompted the United States Navy to consider retiring the Kennedy. On 1 April 2005, the Navy formally announced that John F. Kennedy's scheduled 15-month overhaul has been cancelled.

This proposal has come under fire from members of the United States Congress, particularly those from Florida (Kennedy's homeport) and Virginia (where her overhaul was scheduled to take place), who claim that this is an extremely bad time to retire any of the Navy's aircraft carriers. Also of concern is the planned retirement of Kitty Hawk in 2007. Japan has historically opposed the homeporting of nuclear-powered ships, and no other active conventionally-powered carrier will be left in the Navy if John F. Kennedy is also decommissioned. A final decision on this matter has not been reached yet because the budget for 2006 remains unconfirmed.

See also

External link

Kitty Hawk-class aircraft carrier
Kitty Hawk | Constellation | America

Modified Kitty Hawk-class aircraft carrier
John F. Kennedy

List of aircraft carriers of the United States Navy
de:USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67)

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