Retired Navy Lieutenant remembers the USS Forrestal
Mon, 17 Feb 2014 06:02:00 GMT —
A piece of U.S. history is making its way to Brownsville. The USS Forrestal is in tow all the way from the Pennsylvania Naval shipyard and expected to arrive at the Port of Brownsville.
All Star Metals was awarded a bid last October to scrap the ship. However, some, especially those with close ties to the ship, said they'd rather see the historical naval supercarrier be preserved as a museum for future generations to enjoy.
"I was saddened that it was coming here for scrap and being sold for a penny. I had certainly thought some city, maybe Brownsville, would have purchased it," said retired U.S. Navy Lieutenant Dr. Bill Adams.
Adams served 6 years, but his first 3 year assignment was on the U-S-S Forrestal, when he was just 21 years old.
"I couldn TMt believe it. In 1967, when I was assigned that ship out of the thousand ships in the Navy- it was the Forrestal," said Dr. Adams.
It was fate, he said. Eleven years before his assignment, Adams got to see the super carrier as young boy when on a field trip.
"[I] remember it steaming into the bay of Naples- a grand site," recalled Adams.
However, when Adams was reunited with the ship as a sailor, it was not the grand sight he first saw as a boy. Two months earlier, there was terrible fire aboard the Forrestal. The blaze killed 134 men and injured another 161.
"It was badly battered. The fire was so intense the guns had melted and the barrels were drooping like elephants trunks, holes were all over it," described Adams.
Even though it had been repainted, the smell of smoke lingered months later.Still, Dr. Adams said the ship should have been preserved as the USS Forrestal is the Navy's first super carrier and a piece of history.
"It was designated an attack aircraft and its principal purpose was to launch nuclear weapons against Russia in case of war. Today, our carriers don TMt even carry nuclear weapons, but back then they did," said Adams.
The decommissioned aircraft carrier will be scrapped and its metal recycled in the Port of Brownsville, leaving those who served on it, like Dr. Adams, left only to cling to memorabilia and fond memories.
"Great ship, great crewmates, and certainly one of the best 2-3 years--time of life was on the Forrestal," said Dr. Adams.
He hopes that he'll get the opportunity to see the ship one last time before it is scrapped. Those at the Port of Brownsville said the ship is expected to arrive around 2 a.m. Tuesday morning.