USS Forrestal CVA-59
|Aviation History And Aircraft Photography|
USS Forrestal Museum
||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 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.