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Author Topic: Farewell to an Old Friend  (Read 4785 times)

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Offline Mark D

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Farewell to an Old Friend
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2006, 07:11:50 AM »
The USS Oriskany was sunk as an artificial reef last week. Here's the full article from cbs4.com:

USS Oriskany Becomes Biggest Artificial Reef
The Ship Sank In 37 Minutes
It Is 212 Feet Under The Gulf Of Mexico Off Pensacola

(CBS4 News) PENSACOLA The USS Oriskany has made its final voyage to the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. There, the retired aircraft carrier has begun a new tour of duty as the world's largest intentionally created reef.

Clouds of brown and grey smoke rose in the sky after Navy divers detonated 500 pounds of explosives aboard the rusting ship yesterday to send it on a 212-foot plunge. It took just 37 minutes for the 888-foot ship to slip beneath the waves. Hundreds of Korean and Vietnam War veterans watched from charter boats 24 miles off the coast of Pensacola Beach.

It has a rich 62-year history that began in the last years of World War II. In 1943, Congress authorized the construction of the ship, named after the tide-turning Battle of Oriskany in the Revolutionary War. The ship was launched on Oct. 13, 1945. On Sept. 25, 1950, the Oriskany was officially commissioned and sent to take part in the Korean Conflict. From 1952 to 1953, the Oriskany served with the U.S. Seventh Fleet as part of the United Nations Task Force. During this time, fighters took off from the Oriskany and took part in what is believed to be the first multi-jet aerial dog fight in history.

Movies such as, “The Bridges of Toko Ri,” were filmed upon the ‘Mighty O’ and President John F. Kennedy was a guest aboard her to watch an operation readineness demonstration.
The Oriskany became the flagship of the Command Carrier Division One in 1963 and later served seven combat cruises during the Vietnam Conflict. On October 26, 1966, a fire that swept through five decks of the Oriskany claimed the lives of 44 airmen who had just completed air raids over Vietnam. The crew also holds the impressive record of more than 12,000 sorties flown by Carrier Air Wing 16, which was the largest number ever achieved by a carrier in naval history during a single combat deployment.

The Oriskany, the last Essex class carrier, was decommissioned in 1973. Sold for scrap in 1994, the buyer later reneged on payment and the navy repossessed the Oriskany in 1997. In 2003 it was decided she would become an artificial reef. It’s the first ship to become a reef under the Navy's pilot program to dispose of old warships. Local leaders hope the carrier reef will bring a long-awaited economic infusion from sport divers and fishermen.

Lisa Cilli CBS4.COM

(© MMVI, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.)

There's also a video of the sinking at http://cbs4.com/local/local_story_137084424.html
« Last Edit: May 20, 2006, 07:13:37 AM by Mark D »
FC1(SW), WF / CF Division, 1986 - 1990
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