Wednesday, 23 October 2013
Here’s a penny for your thoughts: One red cent could’ve landed you the Navy’s first supercarrier, the decommissioned Forrestal.
The U.S. Navy sold the 1,067-foot behemoth to a Texas company, All Star Metals, to be dismantled, scrapped and recycled, Navy officials announced. It’s an inauspicious fate for a ship with a colorful — and tragic — history. It’s perhaps best known for a 1967 incident in which stray voltage triggered an accidental explosion that struck a plane on the flight deck whose cockpit was occupied by a young John McCain. A chain reaction of blasts and fires ultimately killed 134 men and injured more than 300.
But its rich past and nearly four decades of service are not enough to spare it. The Navy tried to donate the historic ship for use as a memorial or a museum, but no “viable applications” were received.
“It’s something that the Navy is caught between a rock and a hard place,” said Ken Killmeyer, historian for the USS Forrestal Association and a survivor of the 1967 incident. “They have to have these vessels no matter how big or small they are, and they use them as you would your car until they’re no longer financially viable. So, they decommission them.”
The company plans to tow the aircraft carrier from its current location at the Navy’s inactive ship facility in Philadelphia to its facility in Brownsville, Texas. All Star Metals anted up the token purchase price based on its anticipated cost of moving and dismantling the ship and the value of the scrap metal it will yield, according to a Navy press release.