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Texas salvage company buys legendary US Navy aircraft carrier for one cent

The aircraft carrier, Kitty Hawk, will be chopped up and sold for scrap metal despite efforts to save it as a floating museum.

BROWNSVILLE, Texas — It now appears that South Texas will serve as a sort of burial ground for a once-mighty U.S. Navy ship. The aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk – named for the place in North Carolina where the Wright brothers flew the first powered airplane – was towed to Texas this week to end its service in a marine salvage yard.

The carrier is a ghost from another era when ships ran on oil and when the world was a much different place since its launching in 1961.

It played an active role in the Vietnam War during the 1960s and '70s, and entered the battle zone again in 2003 when it served as launch pad for fighter jets and helicopters during the Iraq War.

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But as the Navy began replacing carriers with those using nuclear power, the end was near for the Kitty Hawk. Several veterans’ organizations worked to allow them to convert it into a floating museum, but the Navy said no.

Its fate was sealed when the salvage company in Brownsville, Texas paid one cent to take possession of the Kitty Hawk and sell off the metal for scrap. The company said it will take about 18 months to dismantle the ship when the Kitty Hawk will be gone forever from the oceans of the world, but likely will remain alive in the pages of history and in the memories of the thousands of sailors who called it home.


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