Meet USS America: The Largest Warship Ever Sunk

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What made the USS America, a fearsome Cold War-era aircraft carrier, truly special? USS America (CVA/CV-66) – which was one of three Kitty Hawk-class supercarriers built for the US Navy in the 1960s – was commissioned in 1965.

The carrier spent most of its time in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, but also made three deployments to the Pacific Ocean while serving in the Vietnam War. Additionally, he participated in key operations during the Persian Gulf War. Here, the time spent on the high seas during the Cold War is nothing but pure legend and one for the history books.

Originally enterprise class

According to USSAmerica.org, the supercarrier was “originally ordered as an Enterprise-class nuclear carrier, inflated Enterprise-class costs during construction caused the nuclear CVAN-66 to be canceled and reorganized as a Kitty-class carrier Conventionally-powered Hawk”.

The site continues: “Her keel was laid on January 1, 1961 in Newport News, Virginia, by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Corp. ; launched on February 1, 1964, it was sponsored by Mrs. Catherine McDonald, wife of Admiral David L. McDonald, then Chief of Naval Operations. She was commissioned at Norfolk Naval Shipyard on January 23, 1965 with Captain Lawrence Heyworth Jr. in command.

The super carrier was stationed at Hampton Roads for operations off the Capes of Virginia until March 1965.

catapult launch

Then “she made her first catapult launch on April 5, 1965, with Commander Kenneth B. Austin, the executive officer, flying a Douglas A-4C Skyhawk. Later, heading to the Caribbean, America led shakedown training and concluded it at Guantanamo Bay on June 23, 1965.”

“Entered Norfolk Dockyard for post-shakedown availability on July 10, 1965, remaining there until August 21. She then operated locally until late August, then moved to operating areas off the Capes of Virginia and Bermuda, returning to Norfolk on September 9, 1965,” he continued.

Then at the end of 1965, the USS America sailed for its first deployment in the Mediterranean, beginning a thirty-year adventure for its country.

Put to rest

The USS America has certainly seen some serious action in hotspots around the world. America would participate in military operations off the coasts of Libya, Iraq, Haiti and Bosnia, and many other parts of the world. Unfortunately, on August 9, 1996, after many years of faithful and dedicated service to the nation, a decommissioning ceremony took place.

After a decades-long career, she was finally retired from service

However, in 2005 she was scuttled southeast of Cape Hatteras after four weeks of trials. It was the largest warship ever sunk.

“America was the first major aircraft carrier since Operation Crossroads in 1946 to be dedicated to weapons testing,” USSAmerica.org noted, adding that there had been widespread protests demanding that the super aircraft carrier be instituted as a memorial museum.

According to the ship’s electronic transmission released by Naval Sea Systems Command – collected via a Freedom of Information Act request – the warship slid under ocean waves at thirty-three degrees, nine minutes, nine seconds latitude. north and seventy-one degrees, thirty-nine minutes, seven seconds west longitude, by Daily Press.

This places the USS America about four hundred and eighty miles east of Charleston, South Carolina and about four hundred miles west of Bermuda.

Ethen Kim Lieser is a Washington State-based science and technology editor who has held positions at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow him or contact him on LinkedIn.

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