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Aviation History And Aircraft Photography
USS Forrestal CVA-59
USS Forrestal Museum
Baltimore, Maryland

USS Forrestal

The Carrier: While stories about other aircraft carriers focus on their history and their tours of duty, stories about the Forrestal usually focus on exactly one day in history, July 29, 1967. The USS Forrestal had been on duty at Yankee Station launching strikes against North Vietnam for 4 days. On the 29th, they were just getting ready to launch the second strike wave of the day when a Zuni missile accidentally launched from an F-4 and struck a fully fueled and armed A-4 Skyhawk. The wounded plane leaked fuel and its bombs fell to the flight deck. Then the whole mess caught fire, quickly engulfing other armed aircraft that were waiting to launch. Seated in one of those aircraft was Lt. Commander John McCain. He jumped out of his aircraft, landing on the only spot where there wasn't any fire, and he escaped unhurt. The fire burned for over 12 hours. JP-5 jet fuel leaked down into the carrier, burning several decks. At one point, a huge bomb cooked off killing many of the fire fighters who nearly had the fire under control. Others were blown off the carrier, and had to be picked up at sea. In all, we lost 134 sailor that day, with 62 more badly injured. While the carrier might be a graceful giant, everything that happens on board is deadly dangerous.
 
The Museum: The USS Forrestal aircraft carrier museum is not yet a reality. The Forrestal is anchored in Newport, Rhode Island. She is retired, and has been set aside by the US Navy to be used as a museum. The City Of Baltimore has won the competition to display the USS Forrestal. At the current time, spring of 2005, the USS Forrestal Museum is actively raising funds to bring the ship to Baltimore's Inner Harbor, where she will be on display near Fort McHenry.

Given that I have not visited the USS Forrestal yet, I do not have photos of the ship. These two photos were contributed to the US Navy by Peter Skoutas. They were taken in 2003.

USS Forrestal

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