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Help save the U.S.S. Forrestal

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Alpha Tester
117 posts
765 battles

I don't usually make these kinds of posts, but since it involves my hometown, I'll do it. U.S.S. Forrestal, the first 'super' carrier built, has been sitting decommissioned for years now waiting for someone to decide what to do with her. Since she's a big 'ol warship, that means one of three outcomes; scrapped, sunk as a target/artificial reef, or turned into a museum. Some locals have started petitions and talks with the city government to get the third one for the Forrestal and putting her in Pensacola, the home town of US Naval avaiation. I'm not asking for anything more than signing a petition, if for no other reason than to try and save a piece of history, so that it can stand as a monument and memorial to those that served aboard her, rather than being treated as nothing more than sixty thousand tons of junk to be thrown away.


If you want to help, then go here for all the info and links.


Thank you.

  • Cool 4

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8 posts
499 battles

I'm not a fan of post-WWII warships, but I do support the saving of any old warship... so I signed it.

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Alpha Tester
571 posts
1,361 battles

Sure, why not. She's a part of history and people have a habit of not saving "firsts"

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Alpha Tester, In AlfaTesters, Beta Testers
1,532 posts
2,114 battles

USS FORRESTAL is the basis of damage control training in the Navy and Coast Guard. The fire school in Norfolk is named after the Damage Control Master Chief who ran out after the first fire erupted with just a PKP extinguisher to try to save the pilots in their planes. We were required to watch this video for training to get a feel for how bad things can get on a ship.

(Please read account below)

Posted Image

   At about 1050 (local time) on 29 July, while preparations for the second strike of the day were being made, an unguided 5.0 in (127.0 mm) Mk-32 "Zuni" rocket, one of four contained in a LAU-10 underwing rocket pod mounted on an F-4B Phantom II, was accidentally fired due to an electrical power surge during the switch from external power to internal power. The surge originated from the fact that high winds had blown free the safety pin, which would have prevented the fail surge, as well as a decision to plug in the "pigtail" system early to increase the number of takeoffs from the carrier.



Likely source of the Zuni was F-4 No. 110. White's and McCain's aircraft (A-4s No. 405 and 416, respectively). The rocket flew across the flight deck, striking a wing-mounted external fuel tank on an A-4E Skyhawk awaiting launch, aircraft No. 405, piloted by LCDR Fred D. White. The Zuni Rocket's warhead safety mechanism prevented it from detonating, but the impact tore the tank off the wing and ignited the resulting spray of escaping JP-5 fuel, causing an instantaneous conflagration. Within seconds, other external fuel tanks on White's aircraft overheated and ruptured, releasing more jet fuel to feed the flames, which began spreading along the flight deck.

The impact of the Zuni had also dislodged two of the 1,000 lb (450 kg) bombs (World War II-vintage AN-M65s), which lay in the pool of burning fuel between White and McCain's aircraft. The fire team's chief, Gerald Farrier (without benefit of protective clothing) immediately smothered the bombs with a PKP fire extinguisher in an effort to knock down the fuel fire long enough to allow the pilots to escape. The pilots, still strapped into their aircraft, were immediately aware that a disaster was unfolding, but only some were able to escape in time. LCDR John McCain, pilot of A-4 Skyhawk side No. 416 next to White's was among the first to notice the flames and escaped by scrambling down the nose of his A-4 and jumping off the refueling probe shortly before the explosions began.

According to their training, the fire team normally had almost three minutes to reduce the temperature of the bombs to a safe level, but the chief did not realize the "Comp. B" bombs were already critically close to cooking-off until one split open. The chief, knowing a lethal explosion was imminent, shouted for the fire team to withdraw but the bomb exploded seconds later – a mere one and a half minutes after the start of the fire.

The detonation destroyed White and McCain's aircraft (along with their remaining fuel and armament), blew a crater in the armored flight deck, and sprayed the deck and crew with bomb fragments and burning fuel. The on-deck firefighting contingent took the brunt of the initial blast; all were killed instantly with the exception of three men who were critically injured but ultimately survived. LCDR White had managed to escape his burning aircraft but was unable to get far enough away in time; he was killed along with the firefighters in the first bomb explosion. In the tightly packed formation on the deck, the two nearest A-4s to White and McCain's (both fully fueled and bomb-laden) were heavily damaged and began to burn, causing the fire to spread and more bombs to quickly cook off.

LCDR Herbert A. Hope of VA-46 (and operations officer of CVW-17) was far enough away to survive the first explosion, and managed to escape by jumping out of the cockpit of his Skyhawk and rolling off the flight deck and into the starboard man-overboard net. Making his way down below to the hangar deck, he took command of a firefighting team. "The port quarter of the flight deck where I was", he recalled, "is no longer there." Two other pilots (LT Dennis M. Barton and LCDR Gerry L. Stark) were also killed by explosions during this period, while the rest were able to escape their aircraft and get below.

Nine bomb explosions eventually occurred on the flight deck, eight caused by the "Comp. B" bombs and the ninth occurred as a sympathetic detonation between an old bomb and a newer H6 bomb. The explosions tore large holes in the armored flight deck, causing flaming jet fuel to drain into the interior of the ship, including the living quarters directly underneath the flight deck, and the below-decks aircraft hangar.

Sailors and Marines controlled the flight deck fires by 1215, and continued to clear smoke and to cool hot steel on the 02 and 03 levels until all fires were under control by 1342. The fire was not declared defeated until 0400 the next morning, due to additional flare-ups.

Throughout the day the ship’s medical staff worked in dangerous conditions to assist their comrades. HM2 Paul Streetman, one of 38 corpsmen assigned to the carrier, spent over 11 hours on the mangled flight deck tending to his shipmates. The large number of casualties quickly overwhelmed the ship’s Sick Bay staff, and the Forrestal was escorted by USS Henry W. Tucker to rendezvous with hospital ship USS Repose at 2054, allowing the crew to begin transferring the dead and wounded at 2253.


26 May 1969, the first deck edge spray system installed on the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CV-42) as a direct result of the Forrestal fire.

The fire left 134 crewmen dead[8] and 161 more injured.[2] Many planes and armament were jettisoned to prevent them from catching fire or exploding. Twenty-one aircraft also sustained enough damage from fire, explosions and salt water to be stricken from naval inventory, including seven F-4B Phantom IIs , eleven A-4E Skyhawks  and three RA-5C Vigilantes. The fire also revealed that Forrestal required a heavy duty, armored forklift for use in the emergency jettisoning of aircraft (particularly heavier types such as the RA-5C Vigilante) as well as heavy or damaged ordnance. Sailors had been forced to manually jettison numerous 250 and 500 lb bombs by rolling them along the deck and off the side.

From 31 July – 11 August 1967, Forrestal was moored at Leyte Pier at Naval Air Station Cubi Point in the Philippines for temporary repairs. On 12–13 September, Forrestal arrived at Naval Station Mayport and unloaded aircraft and the crews of squadrons based in Florida. On 14 September, the ship returned to Norfolk and was welcomed home by over 3,000 family members and friends gathered on Pier 12 and onboard Randolph, Forrestal's host ship.

From 19 September 1967 – 8 April 1968, Forrestal underwent repairs in Norfolk Naval Shipyard beginning with removal of the starboard deck-edge elevator which was stuck in place. It had to be cut from the ship while being supported by shipyard's hammerhead crane. The carrier occupied drydock number 8 from 21 September 1967 until 10 February 1968, Displacing USS John King DDG 3 , and an oil tanker, and a mine sweeper that were occupying the dry-dock. During the post-fire refit, the ship's four aft 5"/54 caliber Mark 42 guns were removed. The forward four guns were removed prior to 1962.(As taken from Wikipedia)

Video from the flight deck camera

Edited by Sampsonite

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300 posts
35 battles

You got my vote!!! You'd be able to see the USS Alabama & the Forrestal in a single day trip  :Smile_playing:

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Beta Testers
8 posts

hell yes


fellow fid sailor 1987-1991 air dept v-1



From ABC-TV Affiliate WEAR ABC-TV 3 in Pensacola

Monday, January 21 2013, 04:26 PM CST

An effort has been launched to bring the Forrestal, a decommissioned aircraft carrier, to Pensacola. It was taken out of service in 1993 and is set to be scrapped.

Channel Three's Joe Douglass talked with organizers of the plan and a veteran who once served on the ship.

Imagine the one-thousand foot aircraft carrier sitting right here in the waters next to Community Maritime Park.

Supporters of the project say that could bring a lot of money to Pensacola.

Mark Taylor, Restore Forrestal Project: "It's just a community treasure. It's an American treasure."

Mark Taylor is a local businessman and nominee for the Community Maritime Park Associates Board of Trustees.

He's excited about the plan, which he's planning to pitch to the city council, Congressman Jeff Miller and just about anyone else who will listen.

Mark Taylor, Restore Forrestal Project: "To have it her in the Cradle of Naval Aviation would be a huge win."

Taylor has joined forces with the USS Forrestal Association.

The three-thousand member group has been struggling for decades to obtain the super-carrier, which was commissioned in 1955.

Jim Brussell, USS Forrestal Veteran: "We would love to see it as a museum, especially, Pensacola, Florida, because that was its last duty station."

Jim Brussell is the treasurer for the USS Forrestal Association.

He served aboard the carrier in 1967 when a fire killed 134 of his fellow sailors in waters off Vietnam.

Jim Brussell, USS Forrestal Veteran: "It'll be a day I never forget, definitely a tragedy, and the worst tragedy is they're trying to scrap the USS Forrestal."

The association estimates it would cost about 30-million dollars to make the Forrestal into a museum.

They say the project could be paid for in part with BP Restore Act funds heading our way.

Taylor is set to make a presentation to the City Council on Tuesday.

They'll decide how or if they want to move forward with the plan.

CLICK HERE>  http://www.ussforrestal.org/sign-the-petition/   to sign Petition to save FID



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Alpha Tester
79 posts
34 battles

Just reading about both the fires on the Forestall then the one on the Enterprise, is enough to make your hair stand on end 'specially when you take in account how much damage both ladies took. :Smile_honoring:

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