Wednesday, October 23, 2013

USS Forrestal, (CV 59) knocked off for a penny.

I wish I'd known she was for sale. I'd have offered whatever change is in my vehicle's ash tray AND down my couch cushions.

USS Forrestal, the Navy's first supercarrier, sold for 1 cent

Named for James Forrestal, the former Navy secretary and the first U.S. Secretary of Defense, the carrier was lauded as the “biggest ship ever built” by Popular Science, which detailed it in its August 1954 issue. More than 16,000 engineers, draftsmen and builders worked on the ship, which took an estimated $217 million — nearly $2 billion in today's dollars — to build. Readers were amazed to learn that the ship featured enough air-conditioning equipment to cool New York City’s Empire State Building two-and-a-half times over. It launched on Dec. 11, 1954.

“Her 3,500 crewmen will use nearly twice as much water as the eight big boilers that feed her main turbines,” Popular Science reported. “To supply both needs, her water tanks must store nearly 400,000 gallons.”

A fine ship, a proud ship; going to a ditch in Brownsville, Texas where swarms of Mexicans will hack it to bits. Very sad. And this is the ship on which an explosion touched off a fire that killed 134 sailors on 29 July, 1967. Lot of history here. Here's her official web page.

And ex-Saratoga(CV 60) and ex-Constellation(CV 64) are set to follow shortly.

I'll bid a buck for either of them. Anchored off-shore, they'd be a perfect week-end get-away that's isolated, historic, defensible and uniquely situated for Cessna operations.


  1. Oh, that's a shame. The Forest Fire (that's what her sailors called her) deserves better.

  2. As long as the elevator works, you could tow the Skyhawk and put it away underdeck with a Cub Cadet.

  3. Could you really get your plane on and off there?

  4. @ drjim:

    Technically. The flight deck of Forrestal is 1089 feet long.

    A Cessna 172G fully loaded grossing 2300 lbs requires 865 feet to take off and a landing roll of 520 feet at sea level, which, conveniently, is where most aircraft carriers are found. So yes, it's possible.

    Granted, I might want to switch to a Super Cub or a Super Decathalon just for a bit more insurance.

  5. Hello all,

    Served on Forrestal for one and one half med cruises. 74-75. MM3 then MM2 in One Aux, (auxiliary machinery room), then later worked on Forrestal as as civilian yardbird when she got her service life extension program done in the Philadelphia Shipyard. Total of about 5 years of every working day on the FID, that stands for first in defense, and that is what my shipmates called her when I was stationed on her. We took firefighting very seriously on the FID. Plenty of memories, the med, and the world, were very different places in the mid seventies.

    I got my only cat shot on Kennedy. The yardbirds had finished our, I think, third sea trial period and we were offered the chance to either helo off, or get shot off in a C2A Greyhound. Of course I opted for the cat shot. Wow! But that is a longer story.

    If you are ever planning a flyin to northeast phila airport, let me know, I would look forward to meeting Murphy (glad he is OK.) and you.

    John in Philly

  6. Hi John,

    I'd gladly fly up there with Murphy just for the Forrestal stories. Shoot me an e-mail address back and I'll let you know when we're headed up that way.

  7. I was with VF-11 aboard the Forrestal 69-71. Also known to the crew as the USS Zippo, and Fireball 59. Pretty good ship especially when compared to the Saratoga which was 18 months newer which I also did a tour aboard with VA-75. Sen. John McCain was aboard during the fire, flying A4's. I believe he was the pilot shown climbing out of his Aircraft in the famous video made during the terrible fire.

  8. It's the millions of $$ in environmental compliance that we can't afford...

  9. yeah, because 0bozo is too busy giving billions away to his moose-slime buddies.....

  10. What happens if this Carrier is just sold to China? I mean, can't they just re-sell it?

  11. @ Paul: Nope. The requirements for scrapping are very specific and must be adhered to to the letter. That's likely why no one else bid on it.

  12. If they can't get decent money for it, it should get turned into a reef. Use it for target practice until it sinks in the correct spot. Shallow enough for fish and divers.

  13. The Navy gave the ship AND a penny away to have it disposed. The scrapyard didn't buy it, they took it off the Navy's hands.