USS Kitty Hawk Will Join Rimpac

Team Infidel

Forum Spin Doctor
Honolulu Advertiser
June 10, 2008 Aircraft carrier stands in for fire-damaged George Washington
By William Cole, Advertiser Military Writer
The aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk will replace the USS George Washington in upcoming Rim of the Pacific, or Rimpac, war games off Hawai'i as repairs are made to the fire-damaged George Washington in San Diego, the Navy said yesterday.
The 1,092-foot-long George Washington is in port at Naval Air Station North Island. The time line for repairs has not been determined, but the decision was made to use the Kitty Hawk for Rimpac June 29 through July 31.
A fire that broke out on the George Washington on May 22 off the coast of South America spread to multiple spaces via cableways, causing extreme heat and trapping four sailors for more than four hours.
There were no serious injuries. Twenty-three sailors were treated for heat stress, and one sailor was treated for first-degree burns.
The U.S. Pacific Fleet said Friday that a "comprehensive damage assessment" had nearly been completed. The damage was primarily electrical, though some structural and mechanical repairs also are needed.
George Washington is replacing the Kitty Hawk in Yokosuka, Japan, as the United States' forward deployed aircraft carrier in the Pacific. The carriers had been expected for a historic rendezvous in Pearl Harbor Sunday, with the two flattops to be tied up side-by-side at Hotel Pier.
A swap of 500 or more crew members had been planned here over several days this week. Many family members had made reservations in Honolulu for the event. When and where the crew exchange now will occur is unclear.
Kitty Hawk pulled into Guam yesterday after nearly two weeks at sea.
The carrier left Yokosuka, Japan, for the final time May 28, after operating there for the past 10 years.
Rimpac, a biennial exercise held since 1971, this year will include 10 nations, 35 ships, six submarines, more than 150 aircraft and 20,000 sailors, airmen, Marines, soldiers and Coast Guardsmen, the Navy said. Participation from Australia, Canada, Chile, Japan, the Netherlands, Peru, South Korea, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the U.S. is expected.
The George Washington had been conducting a routine replacement at sea with the Pearl Harbor-based frigate Crommelin when smoke was observed on the carrier. It took several hours to contain and extinguish the fire.
The Kitty Hawk, the oldest active ship in the Navy fleet, was first deployed in 1961. It was expected to be in San Diego for several weeks before heading to Bremerton, Wash., for decommissioning, but the Rimpac participation has pushed back its schedule.