USS INDEPENDENCE by the numbers:
Commissioned- January 10, 1959
Builder- New York Naval Shipyard
Length- 1,070 ft
Height- 229 feet from the keel to the mast
Displacement- 80,000 tons
Top Speed- 30+ knots
Flight Deck Area- 4.1 acres
Boilers- 8 main
Main Engines- 4
In 1982, the ship provided critical support to the multinational peacekeeping Lebanon. In 1983, 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 losing two A-6 Intruder aircraft to enemy AAA fire.
In June 1988, INDEPENDENCE completed the Service Life Extension Program(SLEP) at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. It was fitting that the ship should be rejuvenated in Philadelphia, home of the Revolutionary War's "Liberty Bell”, recognized worldwide as a symbol of liberty and freedom. Later in 1988 the ship transited around the tip of South America and arrived at her new homeport of San Diego, California.
In August 1990 with Carrier Air Wing FOURTEEN embarked, INDEPENDENCE acted to deter Iraqi aggression during OPERATION DESERT SHIELD. She 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 US Naval presence and provided ready response capabilities in the region.
INDEPENDENCE changed homeport again on September 11, l991-this time to Yokosuka Japan, embarking Carrier Air Wing FIVE and becoming the Navy's only forward deployed aircraft carrier and Flagship for Commander, Carrier Group Five.
The ship again deployed to the Arabian Gulf
in mid-1992 and started the SOUTHERN WATCH operation, a multinational mission
to monitor Iraqi compliance with the UN-Established "no-fly zone" below
the 32nd parallel.
Indy's next challenge took her to Hawaii for the exercise RIMPAC. She then entered drydock for her last scheduled Docking Ship's Restricted Availability period.
On June 30, l995, the 36-year-old INDEPENDENCE became the oldest commissioned ship in the Navy's active fleet. With that distinction, Indy, the first aircraft carrier to hold the honor, was entitled to fly the Revolution-era FIRST NAVY JACK, commonly called the “Don’t Tread On Me" flag from her bow.
In August 1995, INDEPENDENCE and Carrier Air Wing FIVE team deployed to the Arabian Gulf for a third time in support of Operation SOUTHERN WATCH.
In March 1996, routine training was extended and the Indy moved to the South China Sea to monitor Chinese missile exercises off the coast of Taiwan.
On April I8, 1996, Pres. William Clinton paid a visit to INDEPENDENCE as part of an official state visit to Japan. In June, INDEPENDENCE sailed to Hawaii to participate in the Rim Of the Pacific(RIMPAC)'96 multinational exercise.
In November 1996, Indy returned to Japan after participating in the "ANNUALEX" exercise with our host nation allies, the Japanese.
In 1997, INDEPENDENCE made a four month “SOUTHERN SWING" deployment, covering several major exercises and seven ports of call. Included in these ports of call were two historic port visits. The first was on February 28 to the island territory of Guam. Indy was the first carrier to pull into Guam in 36 years.
The second, two months later, was to Port Klang, Malaysia. Indy became the first carrier in the world to make a port visit to Malaysia.
Before sailing back to Japan, INDEPENDENCE made her last port visit of the deployment in May to Hong Kong. Indy's port visit was the last US Naval port visit to the territory before its revision to China on July 1, 1997.
On January 21, 1998, the Secretary of Defense, William Cohen spoke to the crew of USS INDEPENDENCE (CV-62) aboard the flight deck officially announcing the Independence's deployment to the Arabian Gulf. Cohen said INDEPENDENCE would relieve the USS NIMITZ(CVN-68) to keep the presence of America in the Gulf as a reminder to Saddam Hussein that he needs to comply with the UN resolutions. On January 23, 1998, the 39-year-old Forrestal Class carrier got underway for the Arabian Gulf.
After a long and prestigious career, INDEPENDENCE
is scheduled to decommission in the Fall of 1998. The INDEPENDENCE will
be honored in a wonderful ceremony that will pay tribute to her long historic
career that examplifies the American
pride that she instilled every step of the way.