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Independence was commissioned as a "Forestall Class" attack
aircraft carrier (CVA 62) at the Brooklyn Naval Shipyard, New York,
on January 10, 1959. She is the fifth U.S. Navy ship to bear the
After commissioning, "Freedom's
Flagship" was on the cutting edge in projecting naval air power and
protecting U.S. national interests around the globe. Called on by
President John F. Kennedy during the 1962 Cuban missile crisis,
Independence provided a strong, visible reminder of U.S.
determination and resolve while it acted as a key participant in the
U.S. naval blockade of Cuba.
In 1964, the ship deployed for
more than seven months, including 100 days in the South China Sea
off the coast of Vietnam.
(Source: JO2 Bob
In 1973, President Richard M. Nixon delivered his
annual Armed Forces Day address from the decks of
All CVA and CVAN hull numbers
were changed to CV and CVN 30 June 1975 to designate the
multipurpose mission charter of aircraft carriers after the
decommissioning of the last CVS in 1974. (SOURCE: http://www.navweaps.com/index_tech/index_ships_list.htm)
While based in Norfolk, Virginia, the
ship made deployments to the Mediterranean Sea and Indian
In 1982, the ship provided critical support to the
multinational peacekeeping force in Lebanon.
aircraft from the embarked air wing flew missions in support of
Operation URGENT FURY, the action to liberate the Caribbean nation
of Grenada. Returning to Lebanon that same year, the ship's air wing
conducted air strikes against Syrian positions.
1988, Independence completed the Service Life Extension Program
(SLEP) at Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. It was fitting that the ship
should be rejuvenated in Philadelphia, home of the Revolutionary
War's "Liberty Bell" which is recognized worldwide as a symbol of
liberty and freedom. The "Liberty Bell" also serves as the ship's
Later in 1988, the ship transited the tip of
South America and arrived at her new homeport of San Diego,
In August 1990, with Carrier Air Wing FOURTEEN
embarked, Independence was sent to deter Iraqi aggression during
Operation DESERT SHIELD. Indy was the first carrier to enter the
Arabian Gulf since 1974. The ship remained on station for more than 90 days and permanently
reestablished a U.S. Naval presence in the region. Independence
changed homeports again on September 11, 1991 - this time to
Yokosuka, Japan, embarking Carrier Air Wing FIVE and assuming the
role of the Navy's only permanently forward-deployed aircraft
carrier and flagship for Commander, Carrier Group FIVE.
ship deployed to the Arabian Gulf in mid-1992 and started Operation
SOUTHERN WATCH, a multinational mission to monitor Iraqi compliance
with the U.N.-established "no-fly zone" below the 32nd parallel.
Independence became the oldest ship in the Navy's active
fleet on June 30, 1995. With this distinction, "Freedom's Flagship"
proudly displayed the Revolution-era First Navy Jack, commonly
called the "Don't Tread On Me" jack from her bow. In the ceremony,
the jack will be handed over to the next oldest ship USS Kitty Hawk
In November 1995, the Independence and
Carrier Air Wing FIVE team returned to Japan after successfully
completing their third deployment to the Arabian Gulf in support In
March 1996, Independence was called upon to provide a stabilizing
presence during heightened tensions between Taiwan and China.
Upon returning to Yokosuka in April 1996, the ship was
visited by President Bill Clinton as part of an official state visit
In 1997, Independence made a four month
deployment, covering several major exercises of call were two
historic port visits. The first was February 28 to the island
territory of Guam. Indy was the first aircraft carrier to pull into
Guam in 36 years. The second, two months later, was to Port Klang,
Malaysia. Indy became the first aircraft carrier in the world to
make a port visit to Malaysia.
Before sailing back to
Yokosuka, Japan, Independence made its last port call of the
deployment in May to Hong Kong. Indy's port visit was the last U.S.
Naval port visit to the territory before its reversion to China on
July 1, 1997.
Independence received a short notice
deployment order and deployed to the Arabian Gulf in January 1998 to
support negotiations between the UN and Iraq and to again
participate in Operation Southern Watch.
On Sept. 30
September 1998, Independence's commissioning pennant was hauled down
39 years, 8 months and 20 days after it was first proudly
After thirty-nine years of naval
service, USS Independence (CV 62) held her decommissioning ceremony
Sept. 30, at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, WA. The
Honorable John H. Dalton, Secretary of the Navy, was the guest speaker in the ceremony which is to
include the transfer of the First Navy Jack, also known as the
"Don't Tread on Me" jack. The honor of flying the First Navy Jack is
held by the Navy's oldest continuous active-duty ship.
Secretary Dalton spoke of Indy's
mighty accomplishments through the years just as Admiral Arleigh
"31-Knot" Burke foretold of the protection and service USS
Independence would provide America in his commissioning speech Jan.
Story By: JO3 Joseph Rehana is
modified as annotated with references.
The Morse Code Is: YAPD DE NNQN ZKA
ZKB INT ZKE K
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