Page last updated at 15:24 GMT, Wednesday, 28 May 2008 16:24 UK

In pictures: Farewell USS Kitty Hawk

US aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk leaves a pier at Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan

The oldest active ship in the US Navy, the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk, has left Japan to be decommissioned after nearly half a century of service.

Captain Todd Zecchin (L) and Rear Admiral Richard Wren (R) give a last salute on board the USS Kitty Hawk

The Kitty Hawk's missions have included deployments to the Arabian Sea in support of the US-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Crew members aboard the USS Kitty Hawk form the word "sayonara" ("goodbye") as the aircraft carrier leaves Yokosuka

As people on land waved, sailors on board the Kitty Hawk formed the shape of the Japanese word "sayonara" ("goodbye").

US sailors line up for a last farewell on board the USS Kitty Hawk

Despite some local opposition, the Kitty Hawk will be replaced by the USS George Washington - the first nuclear-powered warship to be stationed in Japan.

Family members see the USS Kitty Hawk off at the pier in the Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan

More than 40,000 US troops are based in Japan, under a security treaty dating back to the end of World War II.

US navy sailors wave farewell as the USS Kitty Hawk leaves Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan

The Kitty Hawk will make a stop in Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, and then travel to a naval shipyard in Washington state to be decommissioned.

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