The decommissioned aircraft carrier USS Independence has just passed by Costa Rica on its final journey.
The 16,000-mile journey will take the carrier around the tip of South America, transiting the Strait of Magellan and eventually into EMR Group’s International Shipbreaking yard in Brownsville, Texas.
USS Independence left from the Kitsap Naval Base in Bremerton, Washington, on March 11, and the voyage is expected to take just under three months.
The carrier is being towed by the tug Dino Chouest. She follows two of her fellow Navy vessels to the same site in Brownsville – the USS Constellation and the USS Ranger (of Top Gun fame).
International Shipbreaking, part of the EMR Group, won the Navy bid to recycle the 60,000-ton vessel, the last of the Forrestal-class of “supercarriers.”
The arrival of the USS Independence in Brownsville, likely to be in early June, will be celebrated with a beach-side event.
USS Independence entered service in 1959, with many of her early years spent in the Mediterranean Fleet.
She made a single tour off the coast of Vietnam in 1965 during the Vietnam War and also carried out airstrikes against Syrian forces during the Lebanese Civil War and operations over Iraq during Operation Southern Watch, the enforcement of the no-fly zone over southern Iraq.
USS Independence was decommissioned in 1998 after 39 years of active service.