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USS Constellation (CVA-64)

Please see below for item level images and donated collections containing photographs of USS Constellation (CVA-64)

USS Constellation (CVA-64) was laid down on 14 September 1957, by New York Naval Shipyard, Brooklyn, N.Y.; and christened on 8 October 1960 by Mrs. Mary C. Herter, née Pratt, wife of Secretary of State Christian A. Herter. Tragedy struck the ship on 19 December 1960, when a catastrophic fire caused the loss of 50 workers and $75 million in damages. Following a delay to repair the damages, she was delivered to the Navy on 1 October 1961, and commissioned on 27 October 1961, Capt. Thomas. J. Walker, in command.

Following fitting out and acceptance trials, USS Constellation (CVA-64) departed her home port of Norfolk, Va., on 7 February 1962, for initial air operations off the Virginia capes. After a month of operating locally, USS Constellation (CVA-64) conducted a two-month shakedown cruise in the Caribbean. In summer 1962, Constellation was transferred to the Pacific Fleet and CVG-13 was disestablished. USS Constellation (CVA-64)’s second deployment began on 5 May 1964. She relieved USS Kitty Hawk (CVA-63) on station in the Gulf of Tonkin off Vietnam on 8 June, embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 14 (air groups had been redesignated air wings on 20 December 1963), and launched armed photoreconnaissance missions over Laos until 13 July.

USS Constellation (CVA-64)’s first shipyard period followed, lasting eight months; then workups commenced for her first full-blown war cruise. The carrier, with CVW-15 on board, was underway for operations off Vietnam in May 1966. USS Constellation (CVA-64) returned to San Diego in December after her seven-month combat cruise, having lost 16 aircrewmen and 15 aircraft. Returning to Vietnam in May 1968 after six months stateside, the USS Constellation (CVA-64)/CVW-14 team was restricted to strikes below the 20th parallel of North Vietnam as a result of a March presidential order. Upon her return in October 1973, USS Constellation (CVA-64) enjoyed a nine-month workup cycle, and departed in June 1974 for her first peacetime deployment in 10 years. On 23 November, she became the first carrier to enter the Arabian Gulf since 1949. The six-month cruise ended on 23 December 1975.

A 14-month major overhaul and upgrade at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Wash., began in February 1974, during which USS Constellation (CVA-64) was modified to reflect the Navy’s new multipurpose air, surface and antisubmarine warfare role for carriers. She was reclassified a CV on 30 June 1975. USS Constellation (CVA-64) deployed from February to August 1985 with CVW-14 embarked, marking the first deployment for the F/A-18. With CVW-9 embarked, USS Constellation (CVA-64) cleared San Diego on 12 February 1990 for the East Coast. Following an abbreviated turnaround cycle, Constellation prepared for her final deployment and the opportunity to fight in the global war on terrorism. She departed on 2 November 2002, and was soon supporting Operation Enduring Freedom; on 17 December she entered the Arabian Gulf to begin OSW missions. On 19 March 2003, with two carriers in the eastern Mediterranean and three in the gulf, Operation Iraqi Freedom started. On 7 August 2003, USS Constellation (CVA-64)’s commissioning pennant was hauled down and her deck log closed. The ship was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 2 December 2003.

For a complete history of USS Constellation (CVA-64) please see its DANFS page.