USS Forrestal, First US Supercarrier, Begins Trip to Scrapyard

Image: USS Forrestal, First US Supercarrier, Begins Trip to Scrapyard

Wednesday, 05 Feb 2014 03:58 PM

By Jonna Lorenz

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The USS Forrestal, the U.S. Navy’s first supercarrier, headed out Tuesday for a Texas scrapyard.

After failing to sell the long-decommissioned Forrestal, the Pentagon paid a penny for the ship to be towed, dismantled and recycled, according to Fox News.

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The ship was involved in a 1967 incident during the Vietnam War that killed 134 and injured more than 300, including John McCain, who later became a U.S. Senator and presidential candidate. The incident occurred when stray voltage triggered a rocket to launch from the flight deck and strike a plane piloted by McCain. It resulted in a daylong fire on the ship’s deck.

McCain described himself as “one of the lucky ones,” according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. "It was a horrible experience. A lot of brave people gave their lives to save lives that day."

“As crew members, we relive July 29, 1967, every time we hear a loud, unexplained noise, whether you’re at the beach or you’re in your office,” Ken Killmeyer, historian for the USS Forrestal Association and a survivor of the 1967 incident, told Fox News.

The ship underwent seven months of repairs and was returned to sea until being decommissioned in 1993. It will be dismantled by All Star Metals in Brownsville, Texas.

“This is the largest ship that we’ve ever dismantled, and the largest ship the U.S. government has ever awarded to be dismantled. It’s a very big job to us," All Star Metals President Nikhil Shah told Fox News.

It was expected to take 17 to 18 days for a Foss Marine Towing boat to pull the ship down the Delaware River, a journey that started Feb. 4.

The ship was offered for use as a museum or memorial, but attempts to raise money for the project were unsuccessful, according to Navy Times. The Navy considered sinking the ship, which has elements of design linked to current aircraft carrier design. The ship’s history includes more than a dozen deployments to the Mediterranean.

The ship was named for former Navy Secretary James Forrestal, who was the first U.S. Secretary of Defense.

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