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The USS Kitty Hawk pulls into Puget Sound on Tuesday en route to its last home port of Bremerton, Wash. The 47-year-old ship will be decommissioned next year.

The USS Kitty Hawk pulls into Puget Sound on Tuesday en route to its last home port of Bremerton, Wash. The 47-year-old ship will be decommissioned next year. (Jeff Stewart/Courtesy of the U.S. Navy)

After 47 years at sea, the USS Kitty Hawk completed its final sailing when it arrived Tuesday at Bremerton, Wash., where the aircraft carrier will be decommissioned, the Navy announced.

Kitty Hawk is the last conventional carrier in the fleet. It operated out of Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan, for several years until departing May 28.

According to a news release, crew numbers are dwindling in preparation for the ship’s inactivation. There were 2,700 sailors aboard earlier this year, but 1,600 when the carrier reached Bremerton. Crew numbers will taper to 600 by the end of the month, and drop to a final crew of 400 by the time of decommissioning, tentatively scheduled for January, the release said.

Several former Kitty Hawk crewmembers, including 38 "plank owner" members of the original crew, rode the carrier from San Diego to Bremerton for the ship’s final journey, the release said.


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