2008: The May 22nd fire on the carrier
USS George Washington, did more damage than was originally thought. It may be
several months before the Washington can replace the USS Kitty Hawk in the
western Pacific (with a home port in Japan). This change over was supposed to
take place in August.
The fire broke
out near a major ventilation conduit in the rear of the carrier. That
conduit not only circulated air to
compartments below the waterline, but also contained pipes carrying large
numbers of electrical and communications cables. These lit up and before the
fire was completely put out (it took twelve hours), over 120,000 meters (nearly
400,000 feet) of cables were damaged or destroyed. Over two percent of the
ships 3,800 spaces (rooms) were damaged. Some of the spaces suffered severe
damage (metal walls melted or seriously weakened), but the most troublesome
damage was to the electrical and data cables. Thus the navy is still figuring
out exactly when repairs can be completed and the 47 year old Kitty Hawk
brought back to the United States for
decommissioning. Even with the delay, the navy still expects to decommission
the Kitty Hawk in January, 2009, as scheduled.
is inconvenient for the families. Those associated with the George Washington
were to move to Yokosuka, Japan, while
the Kitty Hawk families moved to Bremerton, in Washington State. The George
Washington is currently in San Diego, getting repaired.