SYDNEY, Australia (NNS) -- The U.S. Navy's oldest active warship, the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) along with its embarked air wing and two escort ships, arrived in Sydney, Australia, July 3 for a brief port visit that included a celebration of the United States' 229th Independence Day anniversary July 4.
All told, more than 5,300 Sailors from the strike group will visit Sydney, all of them eager to take advantage of the local attractions. The strike group's visit is expected to boost the local economy, with the Sailors spending their hard-earned money on local dining, retail businesses and recreational tours and activities.
"Australian port visits are among the most sought-after by U.S. Sailors, and with all of the attractions offered by Sydney, we are looking forward to a memorable visit," said Kelly.
Accompanying the aircraft carrier on this visit to Sydney are the guided-missile cruiser USS Cowpens (CG 63) and guided-missile destroyer USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53).
Kelly, along with Kitty Hawk Commanding Officer Capt. Ed McNamee; Capt. Joseph Aucoin, commander of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5; Capt. Robert Girrier, commander of Destroyer Squadron 15, is expected to meet with various government, military and community leaders during the visit.
Since June 12, the Kitty Hawk Carrier Strike Group has been participating in Exercise Talisman Saber 2005, a joint exercise between U.S. and Australian defense forces. Talisman Saber included a combined force of about 6,000 Australian and 11,000 U.S. personnel from all branches of the armed services. Australian and U.S. forces operated in Central and Northern Queensland, while maritime forces conducted exercises off the coast of Queensland in the Coral Sea.
Kitty Hawk is the first of the modern "super carriers," commissioned April 29, 1961. Nicknamed the "Battle Cat," the aircraft carrier has a crew of more than 3,200 Sailors and also accommodates more than 2,000 Sailors of CVW-5 and staff personnel for Carrier Strike Group 5 and Destroyer Squadron 15.
CVW-5, embarked aboard Kitty Hawk, has more than 60 aircraft and operates from Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Japan, as an essential element of naval aviation and U.S. 7th Fleet operations.
Kitty Hawk is the Navy's only permanently forward-deployed aircraft carrier and currently operates from Yokosuka, Japan.
The Kitty Hawk Strike Group is the largest carrier strike group in the Navy and is composed of the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63), Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, the guided-missile cruisers USS Chancellorsville (CG 62) and USS Cowpens (CG 63), and Destroyer Squadron 15.
To find more news about the Kitty Hawk Strike Group, visit the Kitty Hawk Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cv63.