Thursday, 4:30 PM
USS John F. Kennedy finally leaves
By Andrew Ryan, Globe Staff, and Dan Muse, Globe Correspondent
"Big John" is finally on its way to that metaphorical Naval shipyard in the sky, a port in Philadelphia where aging aircraft carriers are put to rest.
The USS John F. Kennedy pulled away from the North Jetty this afternoon after the ship had delayed the inevitable with two days' worth of excuses. It left South Boston's Marine Industrial Park at 1:05 p.m., said Lieutenant Paul Brawley, a Navy spokesman.
The JFK had been slated to depart on Monday, but officials said a mechanical malfunction forced the JFK to stay in Boston an extra day while a barge filled the ship with 1 million gallons of fuel. A second scheduled send-off on Tuesday was foiled by high winds, Brawley said.
The ship had come to Boston on Thursday as part of its farewell tour after nearly 40 years of Navy service that included battles in the Mideast and the Persian Gulf. More than 51,000 people toured the JFK on Saturday and Sunday.
The JFK is scheduled to reach Mayport, Fla., this weekend for decommissioning. The ship will then head to Philadelphia, where it will be stored with other mothballed ships.