Race Riot Aboard USS Kitty Hawk

On February 17, 1972, the attack carrier USS KITTY HAWK departed San Diego for its sixth combat deployment to Southeast Asia. After several extended periods of combat activity, the ship put in to the U.S. Naval Base at Subic Bay, the Philippines, for replenishment of war materiel and a week of rest and recreation for the crew. The ship's company had just recently become aware of the fact they would return to the combat zone after this rest period rather than return home as scheduled. This rescheduling apparently was due the incidents of sabotage aboard her sister ships, USS RANGER (CV 61) and USS FORRESTAL (CV 59).

 

On the tenth of October, a fight occurred at the enlisted men's club at Subic Bay. While it cannot be unequivocally established that KITTY HAWK personnel participated in the fight, circumstantial evidence tend to support the conclusion that some of the ship's black sailors were involved since 15 young blacks returned to the ship on the run and in a very disheveled condition at about the time the fight at the club was brought under control.

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