Tuesday, August 12, 2014

USS Constellation Sets Sail on Final Voyage

By Mark Edward Nero

The Foss Maritime vessel Corbin Foss has begun towing the Kitty Hawk-class aircraft carrier USS Constellation on a 16,000 mile journey through the straits of Magellan to Brownsville, Texas, where the ship is to be scrapped.

The historic voyage, which is expected to take just under five months, began the afternoon of Aug. 8 at the Bremerton Naval Shipyard in Washington. The 141-foot Corbin Foss, which was built to tow barges to Alaska, is powered by two diesels producing 8,000 horsepower.

The USS Constellation (CV-64) was built at a cost of $264 million at the New York Navy Yard beginning in 1957, and in her many years of service, she was involved in numerous deployments and exercises; housed hundreds of crewmembers; and was proclaimed “America’s Flagship” in 1981 by then-President Ronald Reagan.

The 1,088-foot long aircraft carrier, which has a beam of 282 feet and can travel at up to 34 knots, was decommissioned in San Diego on Aug. 7, 2003 after 41 years of service, and she began her final voyage nearly 11 years later to the day.

Foss has created a blog at www.foss.com to track the final voyage of the USS Constellation and will post photos and updates over the approximately 140-day journey. Those who have served on “Connie” – as she is nicknamed by her crew – are encouraged to contribute their own stories or photos to the blog.

“We recognize the significance of this vessel to US Naval history, and to the men and women who served on her during her many operations,” Foss Maritime Senior Vice President Gary Faber said. “We are honored to be part of this historic voyage.”