(Haze Gray and underway, CVA59)
A long and honorable tour of duty. Due to an electrical malfunction, there was a huge explosion on the flight deck, causing a fire that threatened to destroy the entire ship. But due to the dedication of fire crews and damage control crews steady hands the ship was saved.
But Salvation came with a price, the deaths of 134 and injuries to 300 of her shipmates. A fire on a ship is a scary thing. I was on the Independence during one fire and I had the watch. A very scary thing to be in the bowls of a ship filled with smoke. My job was to ensure the men in my area were out of danger.
Funny how men think. In one compartment men were still trying to watch TV. I still remember the movie they were watching, “Desert Rats”. They did not want to leave. Strange, looking back. I finally remembered my own training, ‘get on the deck and crawl’, I did, you can breath down low, the smoke goes up. I tried to do my duty, and was grateful to breath fresh air once out on the cat walk.
Fortunately the damage was not great, and no injuries. Years later I was an inspector for Ships Intelligence Centers. I was on the Forrestal for two weeks during her refresher training. The Chaplain was a great guy with very good worship services.
She received very good marks in readiness. Sometimes readiness comes from some terrible incident in the past.
I am talking about the Forrestal now because at her commissioning, She cost our government 217 million (todays figure 2 billion). This year she sold for ONE PENNY! The Navy tried to find someone to use her as a museum, but had no takers.
Now let me tell you, if you had bought this SHIP, and anchored her out, you would have some kind of home. Maybe have a hotel, at her prime she carried 85 planes, fed and housed, about 5,500 men and officers.
I am sitting here imagining a nice Hotel. Boats carrying customers to and Fro. An area on the flight deck for Helicopters of the rich and famous to land….. Near the tropical trees (planted on deck) and Big Olympic size pool….Oh well they are dreams.
I am sure there are sailors from the Forrestal history saying, “A PENNY? ONE CENT?”
Thanks for coming by the log.
No one knows their future, I wonder if our life’s value is decided in our final fate?
Shirl’s 1964 Studebaker truck, I have seen my mama in the back of that truck, we joked about the Beverly Hill Billies.
That is an award for first place on the hood.