Sydney's association with the U.S. Navy continued yesterday with a visit by the US navy aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk together with the the amphibious assault ships Tortuga and Juneau and the guided missile destroyers Cowpens and Stethem. The American ships have been taking part in the the joint Australian-US Operation Talisman Saber off the northern Australian coast.
Said Prime Minster John Howard, "Australians and Americans have fought together in defence of freedom and against threats to our way of life on many occasions".
Commissioned in 1961, the Kitty Hawk played a key role in the early part of the Vietnam conflict, and was among two carriers in the Persian Gulf that sent planes to launch the Iraq war in 2003. The diesel-powered ship was deployed to Yokosuka in 1998, and will be replaced with the nuclear-powered George Washington as part of the U.S. military's effort to modernize its forces in East Asia - an area of potential flash points with North Korea or China.