Kitty Hawk heads for the Gulf

Release Date:  06 April 1999

Story By:  JO2 Phil Beaufort

Kitty Hawk Public Affairs

Like a pebble dropped in a pond, the events in Yugoslavia are causing ripples around the world. From heightened tension between Russia and NATO to an international mobilization of food and shelter for the Albanian refuges.

One of those ripples spread from the Adriatic Sea, through the Mediterranean and intercepted USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) in the Atlantic, with enough momentum to change it’s course. Instead of continuing on to the Arabian Gulf as planned, the Roosevelt will assist NATO forces from off the coast of Yugoslavia.

Half way around the world, that same ripple caught USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63) with it's embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing Five, operating off the coast of Guam. After completing the multi-national field training exercise Tandem Thrust ‘99, Kitty Hawk received orders to relieve USS Enterprise (CVN-65) in the Arabian Gulf.

Kitty Hawk pulled in to Guam April 3 at the successful completion of the exercise and began loading supplies in preparation for a rapid transit to the Gulf.

While in port, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jay L. Johnson visited Kitty Hawk and spoke to the crew on the 4.1-acre flight deck. "When we planned this trip to Guam, it was to say thank you for the job you’ve just completed during Tandem Thrust 99. But now I have another reason to thank you; that’s for the job we’re going to ask you to do," said Johnson. "We need you, and we need you now."

Vice Adm. Archie Clemins, Commander, Pacific Fleet, also had a message for America’s only permanently forward-deployed aircraft carrier. "Again, the most ready battle group answers our nation’s call. This is the second time in less than 15 months that the Forward Deployed Naval Force has been called upon to serve in another theater. Quite simply this is the right choice, and no other battle group can do what you can. You are the best we have," Clemins said.

Kitty Hawk’s Commanding Officer, Brooklyn, N.Y.,-native Capt. Matthew W. Tuohy, stressed the importance of the battle group’s mission. "We’ve been called upon to serve our county’s interests. It’s time to put training aside, and use what we’ve learned in the real world."

Accompanying Kitty Hawk and the Atsugi, Japan,-based Carrier Air Wing Five to the Arabian Gulf are the guided missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG-62) and the guided missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG-54). Both ships and the Kitty Hawk are permanently forward deployed to Yokosuka, Japan.