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Has there been any progress toward getting the USS Kitty Hawk brought to Wilmington?

Merton Vance

We posed this question to Wilbur Jones, a local historian and retired Navy captain who helped organize the effort to bring the ship here:

“In early 2009, our local organizing group suspended (not terminated) our 3-year effort to bring the USS Kitty Hawk (CVA-63) here as a donated museum ship. The principal reason: the Naval Sea Systems Command suggested we do this because the Navy intended to keep the ship in the reserve fleet in Bremerton, Wa., for about 4-5 years as an emergency carrier pending commissioning of the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78), and thus would not be available until after then – if at all – for donation. Another reason was the economy and the outlook for our raising seed money.

“Since I was coordinating our effort, I’m unsure now where our group will be or what interest we can regenerate in several years to try again. I intend to contact NAVSEA again perhaps next year to check on the status.

“Thanks for asking.”


User-contributed question by:
Jerry Fowler

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2 Responses to “ Has there been any progress toward getting the USS Kitty Hawk brought to Wilmington?”

  1. On August 22, 2010 at 8:15 am J Hood wrote:

    In my opinion, bringing the ex. USS Kitty Hawk to Wilmington would be a very bad idea. The example demonstrated by Patriot’s Pointe in Charleston SC, is a prime example of this. The money necessary to keep museum ships operating is great, and would increase exponentially with the arrival of a 1000ft super carrier. Having been a volunteer on the USS North Carolina for over 10 years, I am well aware of the problems and difficulties of maintaining a large museum ship. The tourism and financial base in Wilmington and southeastern North Carolina is just not large enough a battleship and super carrier that will require the purchase of expensive military aircraft to enhance the Kitty Hawk’s display. If the Kitty Hawk were to arrive in Wilmington, maintenance would be neglected due to insufficient funding to maintain both ships simultaneously. Like Patriot’s Pointe, both ships would suffer, and as the older vessel, the North Carolina’s condition would deteriorate much faster. It would be the ruin of both vessels and certainly the death of the USS North Carolina, a ship with a much more prestigious history as the most decorated US battleship of WW2. I also know that I am not alone in my opinion, many familiar with the USS North Carolina feel the same way and are hoping that this movement dies.

  2. On October 13, 2010 at 8:50 am Bob Bowden wrote:

    This is a noble concept but, I suggest someone take a look at the Yorktown here in Charleston. These ships were not meant to last forever and the required maintenance expense increases with age. The Patriot’s Point museum cannot afford the keep the ship painted and maintained and she is a serious financial drain on the facility. Now, she badly needs paint. While the battleship North Carolina seems to working well, the addition of an aircraft carrier may be too much of a good thing. Again, check out the situation at Patriot’s Point before going too far on this project. The Kitty Hawk may be a lady that we cannot afford.

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