USS Forrestal 'Supercarrier' Sold for a Penny to Texas Recycling Firm

Image: USS Forrestal 'Supercarrier' Sold for a Penny to Texas Recycling Firm

Thursday, 24 Oct 2013 10:37 AM

By Clyde Hughes

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The USS Forrestal, the Navy's first "supercarrier," was sold for one cent Tuesday for scrapping and recycling at a metals facility in Texas.

The USS Forrestal was first launched Dec. 11, 1954 by Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Co. and it was commissioned Sept. 29, 1955, according to the Navy. It was decommissioned in Sept. 11, 1993 and is currently in the Navy's inactive shipyard in Philadelphia.

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Stars and Stripes reported the USS Forrestal is remembered for the death of 134 when a stray voltage triggered a rocket to launch on its flight deck in 1967 while the ship was in the Gulf of Tonkin. 

The rocket struck an armed A-4 Skyhawk, rupturing fuel tanks, sparking a chain reaction of fires and explosions on deck, which was parked full of planes. Crews battled fires on the ship through the next day.

U.S. Sen. John McCain, then a pilot for the Navy, was a member of the USS Forrestal crew and piloted the A-4 Skyhawk that was hit, according to Stars and Stripes.

The incident injured more than 300 on board along with the 134 deaths.

The USS Forrestal's flight deck covered four acres and included four large deck edge aircraft elevators that allowed for quick movements. The ship's speed was groundbreaking for its time, according to the USS Forrestal Association. 

The ship's eight boilers and four powerful engines produced more than 260,000 horsepower, allowing the USS Forrestal to reach speeds up to 33 knots.

The Navy said in its news release that All Star Metals will develop its final tow plan for the Navy's approval to transport the ship to its facility in Brownsville, Texas. The ship is expected to leave the Navy's shipyard by December.

Civilian personnel will monitor the dismantling of the ship once it arrives in Texas. All Star Metals had to pass a security clearance and demonstrate its capability of doing the job before it was awarded the contract.

National Public Radio reported that the Navy first offered to donate the USS Forrestal in June 1999 as a museum or memorial, but did not receive any viable offers. 

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