USS Constellation (CV-64)
Like her famous namesake, the current USS Constellation (CV-64)
long and proud record of service. Built at the New York Naval Shipyard as the second ship
in the "Kitty Hawk" class of aircraft carriers, CONNIE has more than 30 years of
service, which have seen her sail into harm's way from Yankee Station off the coast of
Vietnam to the Gulf of Oman in the Indian Ocean.
Commissioned on October 27, 1961, Constellation sailed west to her homeport of San Diego
in July of 1962.
On August 4, 1964, the American destroyers Maddox
and Turner Joy
attacked by North Vietnamese patrol boats in the international waters of the Gulf of
Tonkin. Constellation, visiting Hong Kong on a regularly-scheduled port visit, set sail
immediately and began launching strikes against North Vietnamese vessels and bases.
Over the next eight years, Constellation would return to the South China Sea for a total
of seven combat cruises, conducting air strikes against heavily fortified North Vietnamese
positions, engaging naval targets and shooting down enemy aircraft.
The first American aces of the Vietnam war, Lt. Randall Cunningham and Ltjg Willie
Driscoll of Fighter Attack Squadron 96, flew off Constellation's decks. Their success came
during the ship's seventh WESTPAC - her sixth combat cruise.
For her actions in Southeast Asia, Constellation was awarded the Presidential Unit
In 1975, CONNIE was redesignated "CV" from "CVA," following
modifications to her flight deck and equipment which enabled the ship to deploy with S-3A
Viking (anti-submarine) and F-14 Tomcat (fighter) aircraft.
In 1982, Constellation returned to the yards, this time in Bremerton, Washington. Naval
aviation had undergone vast changes since 1961, and when CONNIE came out of the yards in
1984, two weeks early and under budget, she was fully modernized. One facet of the ship's
upgrade was the ability to carry the Navy's newest striker fighter, the F/A-18 Hornet.
During WESTPAC 87, Constellation once again found herself in the limelight, this time in
the role of providing vital air cover for the escort of US-flagged tankers through the
In February 1990, Constellation departed San Diego, returning to the East Coast for a
three-year overhaul. The $800 million Service Life Extension Program, completed in the
Philadelphia Naval Shipyard in March 1993, added 15 years to the carrier's operational
life. The overhaul saw upgrades to virtually every major system on the ship, from the
galleys to the enginerooms and the flight deck to the anchors.
Constellation returned to San Diego on July 22, 1993, following her third transit around
Cape Horn at the tip of South America.
From her birthplace at the New York Naval Shipyard to her homeport of San Diego and her
rebirth at Philadelphia; from the troubled waters of the Gulf of Tonkin to the North
Arabian Sea, USS Constellation has written an impressive record for the world to see. And
it's been a stellar record, to say the least.
And of course in 1996 in Seattle during Seafair, VR Seattle staff stood hours in line to
capture some VR on her flight deck!
||New York Naval Shipbuilding
|Number of steam boilers
|Number of steam turbine engines
||Four, General Electric
|Number of screws
|Diameter of screw
||15,142 000 lt
|Width of flight deck
|Height above waterline
||86,000 US tons
||30 plus knots
||October 27, 1961
||$400 millions (1961 dollars)
||Two, 30 tons each.
|Length of anchor chain
|Weight of anchor links
||360 lb each
||163 kg each
|Airrcrafts (75 plus)
||attack aircraft (incl. few tankers KA-6D)
||early warning and control aircraft
|Length of catapult
|Flight deck area
||16,592 sq. m
|Hangar bay area
||6,475 sq. m
|Elevator lifting capacity
||4x 130,000 lb
Sparrow missiles launchers (eight missiles each), four Phalanx CWIS mounts, nine .50-cal gun
mounts (2,000-yard effective range), two M-60 gun mounts (650-yard effective range).
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