USS Kitty Hawk and USS John F. Kennedy Aircraft Carriers Sell for a Penny Each

USS John F. Kennedy 7 photos
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
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Everyone knows that a good deal is hard to find. However, if that deal involves a government, all that seems to change. Take the curious case of two decommissioned aircraft carriers, the USS Kitty Hawk and USS John F. Kennedy, that just sold for a penny each.
If you read the above words, you too may be sitting there scratching your head as I did when I first heard the news. Yes, according to the Kitsap Sun, the U.S. Navy just sold two decommissioned aircraft carriers for a penny each.

Ok, so allow me a moment to lay things out from the beginning. So, the Navy has been in possession of the USS Kitty Hawk and USS John F. Kennedy, two aircraft carriers that have served their purpose since 1961 (Kitty Hawk) and 1968 (John F. Kennedy). However, decades later, once these two ships were decommissioned and stripped of their internal powerhouses, they’d been sitting around collecting rust and barnacles and awaiting this very moment, dismantling.

Well, reports have risen of a deal between the Navy and International Shipbreaking Ltd./EMR Brownsville to tow and dismantle these two iconic vessels. And yes, I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again, and by the end of this article, I’ll probably say it a couple of more times, each ship sold for a penny each!

USS Kitty Hawk
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Ok, so now that the government has passed on their rusty problems to someone else, what now? Well, as mentioned, ISL/EMR will be taking care of the dismantling. There’s just one little problem. Brownsville is out in Texas, and of these two vessels is hanging out in Bremerton, Washington State, and the other in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This even means that the ship in Washington (Kitty Hawk) may need to cross the Panama Canal in order to be brought to Texas.

However, even though such a journey may take up to 45 days, ISL Senior Manager Chris Green states that “I’ve personally inspected her, so I know she’s in good shape for towing.” Heck, it better be worth it for a penny. The John F. Kennedy presents less of an issue as towing can stick along the U.S. coastline.

Now, why would anyone in their right mind spend thousands of dollars to tow two enormous hunks of metal across the world? Simple. Cash. At the end of the day, the scrap metal that ISL/EMR will have acquired will ultimately be transformed back into raw materials. Those raw materials are then resold or reused for new projects, and yes, after doing the math, ISL/EMR is still on the plus side. After all, who does business knowing they’ll end with a loss.

USS John F\. Kennedy
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
According to an article by the Brownsville Herald, this wasn’t the end of the story either. Ships like these have served countless missions and have carried the lives and souls of many veterans across the world, not to mention help forge eternal bonds between families. With this being said, veterans are expected to show interest in the two ships' arrival, as they have in previous cases.

To help veterans keep in touch with the ships they once served upon, ISL does collect certain bits and pieces from vessels and normally puts them up for auction. Another activity they often organize is that of a sort of “Aloha” party where veterans are invited to see ships for one last time before being taken apart by skilled hands.

Whether this will be the case for the USS Kitty Hawk and USS John F. Kennedy remains to be determined. For now, you can just marvel at the fact that a company has just bought two naval aircraft carriers for nothing more than two pennies. I just wonder if this whole deal went down with cash, credit, or pennies off the ground.
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About the author: Cristian Curmei
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A bit of a nomad at heart (being born in Europe and raised in several places in the USA), Cristian is enamored with travel trailers, campers and bikes. He also tests and writes about urban means of transportation like scooters, mopeds and e-bikes (when he's not busy hosting our video stories and guides).
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