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Posted: 12/27/2003 12:39:44 PM EDT
December 23, 2003

Decision at least month away on where to sink old carrier

Associated Press

PENSACOLA, Fla. — A decision on where to sink the retired aircraft carrier Oriskany as an artificial reef will not be made until late January or early February, a Navy spokeswoman said Tuesday.

The Navy and U.S. Maritime Administration are evaluating applications from five states for four sites — three in the Gulf of Mexico and one off the Atlantic coast.

A Maritime Administration official’s earlier estimate of a Christmas week decision was overly optimistic, said Rita Wilks of the Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, D.C.

The 888-foot-long Oriskany, a combat veteran of the Korean and Vietnam wars, would be the largest ship deliberately sunk as an artificial reef.

Florida has proposed that it be scuttled off Escambia County, home of the Pensacola Naval Air Station. The base is the Navy’s first air station, continues to train pilots and other aviation personnel and is the reason why Pensacola is known as the “Cradle of Naval Aviation.”

Texas has offered a site off Corpus Christi, which also has a naval air station and is home to another retired carrier, the Lexington, which serves as a floating museum.

Mississippi also has proposed a site in the gulf while Georgia and South Carolina have submitted a joint application for a location off their shared border in the Atlantic Ocean.

The Atlantic site would serve as a marine sanctuary where diving and bottom fishing would be prohibited. Those activities not only would be allowed but encouraged at the gulf sites.
Link Posted: 12/27/2003 12:45:26 PM EDT
How about somewhere where coral will actually grow on it - isn't pensacola and some of this other sites too far up north? I vote Key West or West Palm Beach or something like that!

Still - no matter where it goes, a 900-ft carrier will be awesome to dive!  I dove the Yukon (a destroyer) off the coast of San Diego once, and that was pretty cool.
Link Posted: 12/27/2003 12:57:10 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/27/2003 1:04:20 PM EDT by chetchat]
Originally Posted By DK-Prof:
How about somewhere where coral will actually grow on it - isn't pensacola and some of this other sites too far up north? I vote Key West or West Palm Beach or something like that!

Still - no matter where it goes, a 900-ft carrier will be awesome to dive!  I dove the Yukon (a destroyer) off the coast of San Diego once, and that was pretty cool.
View Quote


Actually, I'd think a place where coral reefs cannot "grow" would be optimum - a place where reef-type fishes can live and birth other reef fishes, and therefore attract some open water-type denizens for the occasional quick meal.

From what I understand, the oil rigs have proven to be havens for a myriad of sea life where none were able to establish a permanent foothold before.  


** edited fer spaelung **
Link Posted: 12/27/2003 1:16:59 PM EDT
I'd rather see it kept afloat and turned into a naval museum.   Or better still, still in service, though there are undoubtedly many good reasons for that to happen.

Either way it's better than turning it into scrap metal for the Japanese to make more cars out of.

CJ
Link Posted: 12/27/2003 1:39:44 PM EDT

My dad served on the "Big O" during VietNam.  One of the anchors still sits in Oakland, CA. in Jack London Square (at least it did quite a few years ago).  Any of you guys that served on board remember the fire?  Hope she finds a good home.
Link Posted: 12/27/2003 1:40:50 PM EDT
Why not keep it manned and in Coast Guard service with say 6 older intercepter class jet aircraft like A-6s or F-4s, 3 on perm stand by, for homeland defense off the coast of LA or New York. The ship itsself doesn't have to move ever again, just the jets. They can run intercepts as far as AZ or vegas depending on the range of the aircraft. Or turn it into a floating prison.
Just don't let Micheal Jackson buy it and use it to molest lil boys in int'l waters. $5 says he paints it Carnival style.
Link Posted: 12/27/2003 1:55:21 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/27/2003 1:56:08 PM EDT by dpmmn]
Originally Posted By azcopwannabee:


Or turn it into a floating prison.
View Quote



Hmmmmmmmmm
How  about just turn it into a floating prison,Fill it full of prisoners and then sink it.[;)]

Edited to add:

Fish have to eat too you know
Link Posted: 12/27/2003 2:08:23 PM EDT
Originally Posted By chetchat:
Originally Posted By DK-Prof:
How about somewhere where coral will actually grow on it - isn't pensacola and some of this other sites too far up north? I vote Key West or West Palm Beach or something like that!

Still - no matter where it goes, a 900-ft carrier will be awesome to dive!  I dove the Yukon (a destroyer) off the coast of San Diego once, and that was pretty cool.
View Quote


Actually, I'd think a place where coral reefs cannot "grow" would be optimum - a place where reef-type fishes can live and birth other reef fishes, and therefore attract some open water-type denizens for the occasional quick meal.

From what I understand, the oil rigs have proven to be havens for a myriad of sea life where none were able to establish a permanent foothold before.  


** edited fer spaelung **
View Quote


Fine - get all logical with me!  [:D]

Really, I just want it in Florida, because I go there several times every year, and I never go to those other places.  You're of course right about the oil rigs off the california coast (and the water off San Diego where the Yukon is, is also too cold for coral - yet I didn't mind that).
Link Posted: 12/27/2003 2:11:40 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Ron_L:

My dad served on the "Big O" during VietNam.  One of the anchors still sits in Oakland, CA. in Jack London Square (at least it did quite a few years ago).  Any of you guys that served on board remember the fire?  Hope she finds a good home.
View Quote


An acquaintance of mine was on the Oriskany in 1967 or so, when the explosions and fire happened- said it was awful. It happened, acc. to him, because the Navy was still using old WW2 ordnance, the walls of which had grown too thin due to inner corrosion (chemical reaction in the explosive versus the casing), and the heaters or blast deflectors (can't remember which) next to the planes on deck got too hot, the ordnance near the planes overheated, and one plane blew up, then many more blew up, in a chain reaction above and below decks. It took them a long time to get the fires under control, because they frankly did not know what to do, since, in his view, this sort of stuff hadn't happened on so large a scale since WW2 and the drills were not up to training the crews how to deal with such a huge mix of fire, explosions, shrapnel, and the downright horror of so many men being hurt and killed at once. He said they just hadn't hadn't been trained enough on how to deal with it.

Lot of people died that day, some not dying till weeks later in hospital.

This fellow was in the Navy for 20 years, but said the services were at their worst in terms of quality of leadership and care for the men in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Buckpassing and the desire to save a buck led to this horror. And I think it happened on another ship, too, the Forrestal, maybe?

Sad to see the carrier go. What a waste to send all that $$ to the bottom for a bunch of fish. Why can't they just mothball it like so many others?
Link Posted: 12/27/2003 2:19:05 PM EDT
Originally Posted By 95thFoot:
Sad to see the carrier go. What a waste to send all that $$ to the bottom for a bunch of fish. Why can't they just mothball it like so many others?
View Quote



I totally agree with that - but my understanding is that ships that get scuttled for reefs/divers are ships that would have been scrapped otherwise.  If the alternative is scrapping, then I think it's way cooler.

TONS and tons of divers will flock to dive this wreck, and it's name (and likely its history)will be known far longer because of this.   I know I'll want to go dive this one, regardless of where they put it - and there are huge numbers of divers in the U.S. (and probably around the world) who will do the same.  In a way, it is a nice memorial that is much better than the scrapyard.
Link Posted: 12/27/2003 2:25:06 PM EDT
Why scuttle it?

It was probaly too old, slow & small to be combat effective...

We sink 'em, the Brits & French sell 'em (which is how S American countries end up with aircraft carriers), etc...
Link Posted: 12/27/2003 2:26:26 PM EDT
Originally Posted By azcopwannabee:
Why not keep it manned and in Coast Guard service with say 6 older intercepter class jet aircraft like A-6s or F-4s, 3 on perm stand by, for homeland defense off the coast of LA or New York. The ship itsself doesn't have to move ever again, just the jets. They can run intercepts as far as AZ or vegas depending on the range of the aircraft.
View Quote


1. A-6s are bombers, not interceptors.

2. Actually, the ship does have to move in order to launch aircraft.  A sitting carrier just shoots aircraft into the water in front of it if it isn't moving.

3. Imagine the cost of maintaining 40 year old aircraft.  Who is going to fly them?  Senior citizens?

4. How about if we just put some ANG folks on standby like we presently have them doing?


Or turn it into a floating prison.
View Quote


There ya go.  It's been said that being in the Navy is a lot like being in prison. Except, you have the chance of drowning.
Link Posted: 12/27/2003 2:32:02 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Dave_A:
Why scuttle it?

It was probaly too old, slow & small to be combat effective...

We sink 'em, the Brits & French sell 'em (which is how S American countries end up with aircraft carriers), etc...
View Quote


IIRC, the British had completed a sale of their last two "carriers" to Australia just before the Falklands war.  If Argentina had waited a year and let the handover complete, they just may have been able to hang onto those islands. BTW, their "carriers" are only capable of launching VTOL aircraft.  That's not really a true carrier in my mind.

France on the other hand, isn't really a very spectacular naval force either.  Take a look at their most recent submarine construction - hardly impressive.  Their subs sound like a 72 Buick without a muffler.
Link Posted: 12/27/2003 2:48:09 PM EDT
Yes 95foot something similar to the fire did happen on the Forrestal(CVA-59) in the late 60's. Sen. John McCain was involved in the incident(he was a pilot). A jet blast set off a missile which hit an armed plane and the shit hit the fan after that. most of the flight deck down to the hanger deck was destroyed in the ensuing fire and explosions. App. 200 men were killed and the carrier was brought to Norfolk Naval Shipyard for repairs. That was the biggest job I had ever seen done on any ship. I did my part.
Link Posted: 12/27/2003 2:59:22 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/27/2003 3:00:22 PM EDT by Johnny_Reno]
[Official Hijack]Speaking of the Forrestal, take a look at this:



C-130

[img]http://forrestal.org/fidfacts/img51.gif[/img]



Landing
[img]http://forrestal.org/fidfacts/img52.jpg[/img]




Takeoff
[img]http://forrestal.org/fidfacts/img53.jpg[/img]


Whodathunkit? [/Official Hijack]

[url]http://forrestal.org/fidfacts/page18.htm[/url]
Link Posted: 12/27/2003 3:24:46 PM EDT
A C-130? Isn't that something...
Link Posted: 12/27/2003 3:31:17 PM EDT
i live way too close to corpus christi than i'd like, but i was reading in the paper that we won the contract to strip the damn thing or some shit but the jist of it was that it had to come here anyway..................would be kinda stupid to bring it down here and then haul it back somewhere else to sink it.  all politics though im sure.
Link Posted: 12/27/2003 3:42:11 PM EDT
How about sinking the USS Oriskany in Havana harbor? Last time that happened, real men like Teddy Roosevelt kicked Cuban ass after the USS Maine sank. Gives us a good excuse to kick Fidel's ass and end the communist terrorism in central and south America
Link Posted: 12/27/2003 4:52:59 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/27/2003 5:03:48 PM EDT by 95thFoot]
Holy --- the fire on the Oriskany was worse than I thought...

[img]http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/images/u120000/u121718.jpg[/img]

[img]http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/images/h97000/h97411.jpg[/img]

"Right Hand Salute! — As the body of Lieutenant Commander Omar R. Ford, USN, one of 44 officers and men who lost their lives in USS Oriskany October 26 fire tragedy, is committed to the deep from Oriskany's flight deck during memorial services at sea in the Western Pacific, November 6, en route to San Diego, California. Fire-scarred Oriskany departed Subic Bay, Philippine Islands, for San Diego November 3." (quoted from the original caption released with this image). Note Oriskany's insignia on the light-colored flag, at right, and three destroyers steaming alongside. Nearest destroyer is USS Chevalier (DD-805). Next outboard is USS Gurke (DD-783). Photographed by JOC Dick Wood.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center (# NH 97411).

Note: the Oriskany fire actually occurred in 1966, not 1967 as is incorrectly printed on the photo.
View Quote


Also....

[url]http://www.ordnance.org/mishaps.htm[/url]
USS ORISKANY
Two sailors aboard the USS Oriskany were restoring aircraft flares off-loaded from aircraft returning from a mission over Vietnam on October 26, 1966. One of the sailors dropped a flare. The arming mechanism had not been reset to "safe" and somehow the safety lanyard was pulled. Another sailor picked up the actuated flare, threw it into a locker, and closed the door. There were 2.75 inch rocket warheads in the locker!

The flare ignited in the locker, and the heat caused a warhead to detonate, spreading the fire. Subsequent warhead detonations soon followed. Finally, a liquid oxygen tank exploded, [red]killing 44 sailors and injuring 156.[/red] Two helicopters and four aircraft were severely damaged.

USS FORESTALL
Eight months after the Oriskany fire, there was an accident on the USS Forestall. A ZUNI rocket was fired accidentally from an aircraft being readied for a mission on July 29, 1967. The rocket screamed across the flight deck, struck another aircraft and ignited a fuel fire. The initial fire could have been contained, but 90 seconds after the fire started a bomb detonated, killing or seriously wounding most of the fire fighters.

The detonation ruptured the flight deck, and burning fuel spilled into the lower levels of the ship. Bombs, warheads, and rocket motors exploded with varying egress of intensity in the fire, [red]killing 134 and wounding 161 men.[/red] Twenty-one aircraft were destroyed

After this incident, the Navy established a flag level committee to pursue improvements to the systems used to control flight deck fuel fires. An ordnance safety program was also initiated to characterize flight deck fuel fires and study ways to delay the "cook-off" times of munitions. As a result; insulation is now applied to some bomb casings, delaying "cook-off" times 5 to 10 minutes in a fuel fire, but does not diminish the violence of its explosive reaction.
View Quote


[USA]
Link Posted: 12/27/2003 5:12:08 PM EDT
This Oriskany thing is big fiaso waiting to happen. The Pensacola Chamber of Commerce et al have dumped tons of money with the Escambia County Commission dumping the most, about $1 million.
They can't pay for stuff they NEED yet they are gambling a million to possibly get a ship so some divers can play.
Even if P'cola does win it'll take a long time to recover that million.

Ask any fisherman how it is to fish the USS Massachusetts when the sea monkeys descend upon it.
There's plenty to dive around here now, let the Big O's tombstone be placed elsewhere.

Oh yeah...and the taxpayers want their million back!

Link Posted: 12/27/2003 8:15:57 PM EDT
[b]BULLSHIT[/b]


Originally Posted By 95thFoot:
An acquaintance of mine was on the Oriskany in 1967 or so, when the explosions and fire happened- said it was awful. It happened, acc. to him, because the Navy was still using old WW2 ordnance, the walls of which had grown too thin due to inner corrosion (chemical reaction in the explosive versus the casing), and the heaters or blast deflectors (can't remember which) next to the planes on deck got too hot, the ordnance near the planes overheated, and one plane blew up, then many more blew up, in a chain reaction above and below decks. It took them a long time to get the fires under control, because they frankly did not know what to do, since, in his view, this sort of stuff hadn't happened on so large a scale since WW2 and the drills were not up to training the crews how to deal with such a huge mix of fire, explosions, shrapnel, and the downright horror of so many men being hurt and killed at once. He said they just hadn't hadn't been trained enough on how to deal with it.

Lot of people died that day, some not dying till weeks later in hospital.

This fellow was in the Navy for 20 years, but said the services were at their worst in terms of quality of leadership and care for the men in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Buckpassing and the desire to save a buck led to this horror. And I think it happened on another ship, too, the Forrestal, maybe?

Sad to see the carrier go. What a waste to send all that $$ to the bottom for a bunch of fish. Why can't they just mothball it like so many others?
View Quote
Link Posted: 12/27/2003 8:17:56 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/27/2003 8:18:26 PM EDT by KA3B]
That C-130 that was used is still in service the the Marines at MCAS Miramar. It's a KC-130F (KC-130B for you Air Force types) that is still going strong!


Originally Posted By Johnny_Reno:
[Official Hijack]Speaking of the Forrestal,
View Quote
Link Posted: 12/27/2003 8:37:10 PM EDT
The brother of a friend of mine flew a helicopter off the Big O during Vietnam.  He was killed, I think in an accidental helicoptor crash.

GunLvr
Link Posted: 12/27/2003 8:58:52 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/27/2003 9:29:22 PM EDT
Sink it underneath the Golden Gate Bridge. Maybe the bay will flood SF off the map.

CW
Link Posted: 12/27/2003 11:36:43 PM EDT
I say Pensacola... cause that's where I live [;)]
Link Posted: 12/28/2003 1:35:12 AM EDT
crazy to sink something like that. If it's in any useable condition at all, it should be turned into a floating disaster relief platform - all that hangar and deck space - a floating airfield just begging for tons of helicopter use.
Link Posted: 12/28/2003 2:10:57 AM EDT
It has no engines, no electrical system, no boilers, nothing.
It was placed in reserve in 1975 and struck from the Navy in 1989.
It was sold for scrapping in 1993, and it was sold again for scrapping in 1995.
It has been in a no preservation storage status in Beaumont, TX since 1999.

It was the last Essex class carrier to see combat, although it never saw combat in WWII.


Originally Posted By rayra:
crazy to sink something like that. If it's in any useable condition at all, it should be turned into a floating disaster relief platform - all that hangar and deck space - a floating airfield just begging for tons of helicopter use.
View Quote
Link Posted: 12/28/2003 4:51:49 AM EDT
i served two cruises on that old boat from June 1962 thru November 1965, while attached to VF-161, we had the F3H-3M Demons, the U.S.S. Oriskany CVA-34 & CAG-16 was the first carrier to send aircraft over VN for support, our fighters flew CAP........
Link Posted: 12/28/2003 4:57:05 AM EDT
AR-15NUTT, my hat's off to you Shipmate!
Link Posted: 12/28/2003 5:20:52 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Grivo_Mak:
This Oriskany thing is big fiaso waiting to happen. The Pensacola Chamber of Commerce et al have dumped tons of money with the Escambia County Commission dumping the most, about $1 million.
They can't pay for stuff they NEED yet they are gambling a million to possibly get a ship so some divers can play.
Even if P'cola does win it'll take a long time to recover that million.

Ask any fisherman how it is to fish the USS Massachusetts when the sea monkeys descend upon it.
There's plenty to dive around here now, let the Big O's tombstone be placed elsewhere.

Oh yeah...and the taxpayers want their million back!

View Quote


EXACTLY!  Run for your lives.

You don't want any part of it.  Especially it is turns out like the last one:

[url]http://www.cdnn.info/industry/i020531/i020531.html[/url]

Couldn't find any better links but the last "largest ship deliberately sunk as an artificial reef" turned out to be a major FUBAR down here.
Link Posted: 12/28/2003 5:51:18 AM EDT
Fascinating.
Link Posted: 12/28/2003 6:21:34 AM EDT
A great read on why it happened.
[url]http://www.kevinflatley.com/why-she-sank-early.htm[/url]
Link Posted: 12/28/2003 12:46:42 PM EDT
Why do I recycle my Cans/glass etc, if the Gov. is not going to recycle this old ship.  There is more recyclable material  on that ship then my family could ever produce.

Scrap it and make 1000 new Hummers for the Military - Throwing away tons of steel makes no sence to me...Perhaps I am missing somthing here?

Can someone enlighten me?!?!
Link Posted: 12/28/2003 1:13:10 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Strudle54:
Perhaps I am missing somthing here?

Can someone enlighten me?!?!
View Quote


You are correct, there is plenty of recyclable steel but it would cost more to actually salvage it than it's worth. Man hours/wages alone would send you into the red.

My beef with it being sunk off Pensacola is that the local govt is spending gobs of money for tourism sake. Divers have long been coming here so its not going to bring in much more money.
Instead of trying to increase the ever fluctuating tourist dollars the local govt should concentrate on aquiring and maintaining good paying jobs.
Hell, one good Cat 5 hurricane and that damn ship may become damn near undiveable anyway.
Link Posted: 12/28/2003 2:18:30 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Grivo_Mak:
My beef with it being sunk off Pensacola is that the local govt is spending gobs of money for tourism sake. Divers have long been coming here so its not going to bring in much more money.
View Quote


Really?

I've been diving for years, and I have NEVER heard of any reason to go diving in Pensacola.  What's currently there to draw divers?
Link Posted: 12/28/2003 4:01:23 PM EDT
Originally Posted By DK-Prof:
Originally Posted By Grivo_Mak:
My beef with it being sunk off Pensacola is that the local govt is spending gobs of money for tourism sake. Divers have long been coming here so its not going to bring in much more money.
View Quote


Really?

I've been diving for years, and I have NEVER heard of any reason to go diving in Pensacola.  What's currently there to draw divers?
View Quote


I am not a diver so I only know a few places.

There is the USS Massachusetts, an old battleship, which is just outside of Pensacola Pass. There are also several barges, a russian freighter and some army tanks. There is also some pretty good spearfishing according to a buddy of mine.
About an hour from town there are some clear springs and caves that people dive as well.

Does the area compare to Belize or Cozumel? Well no but its not bad either.

As a side note, I spoke to a diver buddy of mine a few minutes ago and he likes the idea of the Big O being sunk here but admits he will only dive it a few times. He said that unless they discover spanish gold on the bottom most serious divers around here will continue to go elsewhere in the Caribbean.

I guess its like golfing while on vacation. Unless its a spectacular course you aren't going to make a special trip just to play there but you would play if you happened to be in town anyway.  
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