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Just touching the deck, this Vigilante lands on the carrier

Some great photos from Brad Jones
Aboard the USS Kitty Hawk, Tonkin Gulf, Yankee station off of Viet Nam
USS Kitty Hawk
Airplane Calendars     *    Railroad Calendars
Ships shown here are in the gulf of tonkin, on yankee station, 1965
Photo from Brad Jones
 stationed aboard the USS Kitty Hawk

the start of the viet nam war ordered by president johnson

to the uss kitty hawk viewers pages
USS Kitty Hawk 
Go to the Next Brad Jones USS Kitty Hawk Exhibit page

This A-5 Vigilante has just touched down on the deck of the USS Kitty Hawk in the Tonkin Gulf on Yankee Station

January 1968
Aboard USS Kitty Hawk (CVA-63)
Yankee Station - Tonkin Gulf
RVAH-11 Checkertails

RA-5C Vigilante traps after returning from a strike - no
doubt on this one...he will get the first wire!

Look at the shadow - just noticed that after 35 years.


Were you ever on any other carrier except USS Kitty Hawk?

The reason I ask is for the sake of having a comparison. In about June of 1967 we in RVAH-11 boarded USS Forrestal for deployment to WESPAC (i.e., Vietnam).

As you know, air operations must take place on calm days, windy days, daytime, nighttime, you name it. At the time, I didn't think much of that. On days that were dead calm, USS Forrestal had to make 30+ knots to get wind over the flight deck for launching and recovering aircraft. Sometimes, there was even "black smoke" (flank speed, I suppose) created in the effort to do this. Nonetheless, the speed was attained and Forrestal always was smooth when doing it.

When we boarded USS Kitty Hawk later in 1967, the first thing I noticed was that she would shake your teeth out when 25+ knots was required on dead calm days. I mean, you had to hold your tray on the table in the after mess deck or it would vibrate right off onto the floor.

So, to us in RVAH-11, it was a surprise that the older Forrestal seemed so much smoother and faster than the newer Kitty Hawk. I suppose that our surprise was magnified by the fact that we had canvas racks (that we would trice up) in Forrestal (versus the fixed, metal racks in Kitty Hawk); the Forrestal gedunk never had Coke, Pepsi, or ice cream (versus the Kitty Hawk which did for at least a limited period); Forrestal always ran out of fresh milk and eggs within a few days of leaving port (versus Kitty Hawk which seemed to last for a couple of weeks before we had to go to powdered eggs and sterilized milk); the Forrestal's bug juice and sterilized milk was always at room temperature (versus Kitty Hawk which provided nice, cold, refrigerated bug juice and sterilized milk), etc.

In short, the newer Kitty Hawk provided us with more creature comforts, but operationally seemed to be a real "slug" when compared to Forrestal. I distinctly remember the shaking at any speed. I probably would have thought it normal if I hadn't served in the older Forrestal first.

Ain't things strange?



I was on the Hawk in 1977-78. It just came out of the yards and it was a super nice ship. Everything was extremely clean and in great condition. We had a stereo store with a glass door and a cardboard cutout girl in a bikini that made you stop and back up when you passed the glass door.

While on a tour of the Queen Mary, I was told if the props were completely stopped in port, that the long prop shafts would bend due to the extreme weight. I imagine that this is true of the Kitty Hawk too. This must have happened before when you were stationed on it and the prop shafts must have been replace when it was in the yards being retrofitted for the Tomcats in 75-76.

My bench, the PMDS (Projected Map Display System) was next to the INS (Inertial Navigation System) bench. We were able to watch the speed and location of the ship anytime, anywhere, we were. The fastest that I have seen the ship run was 38 kts. I remember the ship shaking at that speed, but at 32 kts, It was as smooth as glass. I was remembering the story that I learned on the Queen Mary and when we were at 38 kts, when the ship was shaking, I remember thinking about that bending shaft.





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