CVA-62 USS Independence

CVA-62 USS Independence
(CVA62: dp. 5ff,300 It.; 1. 1046; b. 236'; ew. 249'e"; dr. 37'; s. 34 k.; cpl. 3,950; a. 8 5"; cl. Forrestal)

The fifth Independence (CVA62) was launched by New York Navy Yard 6 June1958- sponsored by Mrs. Thomas Gates, wife of the Secretary of the Navy;and commissioned 10 January 1959; Captain R. Y. McKroy in command.

One of the newest class of "supercarriers" at the time of'her commissioning, Independence conducted shakedown training in the Caribbeanand arrived her home port Norfolk, 30 June 1959. She operated off the VirginiaCapes for the next year on training maneuvers, and departed 4 August 1960for her first cruise to the Mediterranean. There she added her great strengthto the peace-keeping power of the 6th Fleet in that troubled region, remainingin the eastern Mediterranean until her return to Norfolk 3 March 1961. Theremainder of the year was spent in training and readiness operations offthe Atlantic Coast.

Independence sailed 19 April 1962 for 6th Fleet Duty in support of PresidentKennedy's firm stand on Berlin during a reoccurrence of stress in a criticalarea. She returned to Norfolk 27 August and sailed 11 October for the CaribbeanSea. She arrived off Puerto Rico in response to the Communist defiance inthe Cuban Missile Crisis and took part in the quarantine operations whichfinally forced withdrawal of the Russian missiles. She then returned toNorfolk 25 November for readiness exercises along the eastern seaboard,overhaul in the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, and refresher training out of GuantanamoBay.

Independence departed Norfolk 6 August 1963 to take part in combine dreadiness exercises in the Bay of Biscay with sea-air units of the United Kingdom and France then entered the Mediterranean 21 August for further duty with the 6th Fleet. Cruising throughout the Mediterranean, she gainedmuch valuable experience during combined NATO exercises, including close air support to Turkish paratroops, reconnaissance, communications, and convoy strike support. President Makarios of Cyprus paid her a visit 7 October,after which she joined in bilateral U.S.-Italian exercises in the Adriatic with Italian patrol torpedo boats, and U.S.-French exercises which pitted her aircraft against French interceptors and a surface action with French cruiser Colbert. She returned to Norfolk 4 March l964.

Following training exercises ranging north to New York and south to Mayport,Fla., Independence departed Norfolk 8 September 1964 for NATO "Teamwork"exercises in the Norwegian Sea and off the coast of France thence to Gibraltar.She returned to Norfolk 5 November 1964 and entered the Norfolk Naval Shipyard for overhaul.

The first Atlantic Fleet carrier to deploy to the South China Sea insupport of Vietnam operations, Independence and her embarked Air Wing 7 received the award of the Navy Unit Commendation for exceptionally meritorious service from 5 June to 21 November 1965. They participated in the first major series of coordinated strikes against vital enemy supply lines northof the Hanoi Haiphong complex, successfully evading the first massive surface-to-airmissile barrage in aviation history while attacking assigned targets, and executing, with daring and precision, the first successful attack on anenemy surface-to~air missile installation. The carrier launched more than7,000 sorties in sustaining an exceptional pace of day and night strikeoperations against military and logistic supply facilities in North Vietnam."The superior team spirit, courage, professional competence, and devotion to duty displayed by the officers and men of Independence and embarked Attack Carrier Air Wing 7 reflect great credit upon themselves and the United States Naval Service."

Independence returned to her homeport, Norfolk, Va. in December, arrivingthe 31st. During the first half of 1966, she operated off Norfolk, replenishingand training air groups. On 4 May she participated in Operation STRIKEX."The carrier departed Norfolk 13 June for European operations with the 6thFIeet. Independence was involved with unit and NATO exercise from July intoDecember. She then continued her 6th Fleet deployment into 1967.

The Independence was deactivated in September 1998 and is not in inactive reserve at the Ship Maintenance Facility (NISMF),
Bremerton, Wash.

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