USS Forrestal Arrives

The U.S.S. Forrestal CV-59, although she should not be referred to that way any longer because she has been decommissioned and struck from the Navy’s list of ships, arrived at Brownsville today.  She left Philadelphia, PA,on February 4 and headed down the eastern seaboard, around the tip of Florida and across the Gulf of Mexico and finally through the jetties at the end of South Padre Island and up the Brownsville Ship Channel to All Star Metals where she will be scrapped.  What an ugly word.

The Forrestal was the first of the “Supercarriers” and has a proud history.  She was nicknamed “FID”, referring to her “First In Defense” motto.  For more information on her please go to uss-forrestal.com.

Watching her make her final port call was emotional for me. It is always moving to watch something that you know marks the end of a proud tradition and will never be seen again.  Any sailor, no matter what ship they have served on understands the loss of a ship.  It is more than so much metal.  It was home, mother and guardian angel while still being a Rust bucket, Leaky boat or Stubborn bitch.  She had a spirit that was palpable, she had soul and she had her own personality.  Losing a ship is not unlike losing a family member.  So to see such a proud lady coming in for the last time I really appreciated all the folks who lined the shore to render her honor one last time.  Some of course only came out because it was interesting.  There were several thousand people I would guess.

The last time I saw the Forrestal she was burning and men were dying.  That was July 29, 1967 off the coast of North Vietnam.  Again go the the Forrestal site listed above for a good history about that fateful day.  Wikipedia has a good write up on that day as well.

 

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