NPR reported today that the USS Forrestal was sold to a ship breaker for just one penny. When the ship was built in 1954, it took over 16, 000 engineers and builders to see it come to fruition. The cost of the ship back then was about $217 million — $2 billion today.
The gigantic, 1067 foot vessel was sold to a Texas company named All Star Metals to be scrapped and recycled. The Forrestal was the U.S. Navy’s first supercarrier. All Star Metals will now have the job of relocating the ship by the end of the year from the Navy facility in Philadelphia to its own facility in Brownsville, Texas.
In December of 1954, the Navy launched the USS Forrestal and later retired it in 1993. The ship will probably be best known for catching fire in the Tonkin Gulf, just off the coast of Vietnam back in 1967. Stray voltage on the carrier set off a chain reaction of explosions that caused the accident. The fire was devastating, killing 134 sailors and wounding 161 others.
67-year-old USS Forrestal historian, Ken Killmeyer, survived the accident. He recalls the “total devastation” and the loss of a sense of security both he and his fellow crew members felt prior to the fire. The crew had believed up until that point that they were safer aboard the carrier in comparison to their counterparts on land.
“As crewmembers, we relive July 29, 1967, every time we hear a loud, unexplained noise, whether you’re at the beach or you’re in your office,” said Killmeyer. “Or, some people are affected by certain odors. When you smell flesh burnt from jet fuel, it kind of stays with you forever. You can’t get away from it.”
(photo via Wikipedia)