Viewers Online Exhibits  from members of the USS Kitty Hawk.


The USS Kitty Hawk Refueling from the Tanker USS Sacramento AOE-1 along with the DD-946

The Kitty Hawk by MM2 Howard Freeman

The Navy Destroyer, DD 946, refuels with a tanker and the USS Kitty Hawk

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The USS Kitty Hawk, CV63

Re Fueling from the USS Sacramento AOE-1
1965 - 1966


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The USS Sacramento Tanker  refuels from the USS Kitty Hawk Aircraft Carrier.

Photo from Howard Freeman
 stationed aboard the USS Kitty Hawk

the dd 946 is also a destroyer in the navy


The tanker, aircraft carrier refueling process is very interesting to watch. 

We normally refueled about every five days. Here's how the process works, the tanker/supply ship pulls along side the aircraft carrier, in this case the USS Kitty Hawk. Once the two ships have synchronized their speed and heading, a man on the carrier uses a gun to shoot a small line to the tanker. The gun looks a lot like a shotgun. A man on the tanker catches the line, or at least tries to catch it, it many times takes several tries. Once he has the line, he attaches a larger line to it and it is pulled back to the aircraft carrier. Now the aircraft carrier attaches a cable to the line and passes it back to the tanker. Finally, the tanker uses the cable to pass a hose back to the carrier.

There are several hoses passed to the aircraft carrier. 

One hose is diesel fuel for the steam turbine engines on the USS Kitty Hawk. Another line is jet fuel, back in 1965, I think they were using JP4, in 1977 when I was on the Kitty Hawk, we used JP5. I believe they are using something like JP8 now.

There is no need to pass fresh water back and forth because each ship has its own distilling apparatus for their fresh water supply.

On December 7th, 1965, exactly 24 years after Pearl Harbor, while refueling and rearming from the USS Sacramento,

a fire broke out in the #3 Main Machinery Room. A refueling line ruptured a flange gasket and sprayed jet fuel across the back of a boiler, up under a turbo generator, and ignited.  It took three hours to put out the fire. There were reflashes all night. We spent 33 days on line on Yankee Station after the fire to make repairs, then went to Yokosuka for final repairs and ten days in port before returning to action. We lost two firemen from the boiler gang and 29 were injured. In addition, the cost in emotional distress to at least two other crewmen can never be calculated.

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