USS Forrestal begins final voyage
Tugboat Alex McAllister pushes the decommissioned aircraft carrier Forrestal out to Delaware River as it makes final voyage from the former Naval Ship Yard in South Philadelphia to a dismantling and recycling facility in Brownsville, Texas. ( ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER ) DN
Joseph A. Gambardello, Inquirer Staff Writer
Posted: Tuesday, February 4, 2014, 11:07 AM
The USS Forrestal set off under tow Tuesday morning for its final voyage from Philadelphia to a scrapping facility in Texas.
Pulled by the Foss Marine Towing boat Lauren Foss, the Forrestal was untied from its berth at the former Naval Ship Yard in the pre-dawn darkness and headed down the Delaware River for the start of what is expected to be a 17- to 18-day trip.
The Navy has paid one cent under a contract to have the 60-year-old vessel dismantled by All Star Metals in the Gulf port of Brownsville.
The Forrestal, the first of the post-World War II supercarriers, was decommissioned Sept. 11, 1993, after more than 38 years of service. The Navy had offered the carrier for use as a museum or memorial but said none of the applications it received was deemed viable.
Under its contract with the Navy, All Start Metals assumes all costs of towing, insuring, and dismantling the vessel with the aim of recovering its costs and making a profit through the sale of the scrap. The warship remains the Navy’s property until dismantling is complete.
Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/breaking/20140205_USS_Forrestal_begins_final_voyage.html#im4K8O7xURPIMjsh.99
On July 29, 1967 the Forrestal caught fire due to a missile shaking loose from an aircraft preparing to launch and hit another readying aircraft. 134 sailors died and 161 were injured. At the time I was stationed on the USS Repose AH-16 (Hospital Ship) along the Vietnam coast just south of the DMZ. We were immediately dispatched to the Forrestal’s location.
We arrived that night and rendered medical aid to many of the injured and later took on 99 bodies. The bodies were stored in the freezers one deck below the mess decks. Our dental techs had the grisly job of trying to identify the fallen. For about a week every time I went to chow I looked down an open stairway to see the remains lying on a gurney and DT’s doing their job. The smell was not conducive to raising one’s appetite. Here is a link to the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1967_USS_Forrestal_fire
All Star Metals in Brownsville will cut her up for scrap. When she arrives I hope to be able to watch her pass through the shipping channel here so I can get some pictures and to give her Honors. It is sad to watch a US Navy ship reach this kind of end. Ships mean more to those who have sailed on them than I know how to convey. Even though I was never on the Forrestal I still feel a connection to her and am saddened by her inglorious end.