USS America


Dec 2, 2000
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From the Navsea Website:
quote:

Story Number: NNS050419-14
Release Date: 4/19/2005 4:05:00 PM



From Naval Sea Systems Command Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The decommissioned aircraft carrier, ex-America (CV 66) departed the Navy’s Inactive Fleet Facility April 19 for its final and vital mission as a live-fire test and evaluation, and weapons effect platform for the next generation aircraft carrier.

The events will consist of a variety of comprehensive tests above and below the waterline.
For the rest of the story, go to http://www.news.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=17984
 
Apr 11, 2001
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I saw this on the news this past weekend Mike, and the reactions of many of her old crew. There was quite a movement afoot to try to save her, and the crew members were devastated by this decision. It's always tragic to see a great vessel like this one go to her end, but I cannot imagine what Bush can be thinking to let a grand old lady named America go to the bottom as a sitting duck for firing practice! With all the potshots America is taking from other countries for various political agendas- it seems a symbolic event, some have said. I now know how the French must have felt to see the Ile de France so desecrated during the filming of The Last Voyage. What an emotional issue!
 
Dec 2, 2000
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I think the problems are more practical then sentimental. While she was one of the younger ships of her class...barely...she was also the very first decommissioned and this was, so I understand, due to the poor material condition of the ship. Nine years in layup with no real effort at the sort of preservation that one would devote to a ship retained as a moblization asset didn't help matters. As stripped down as the ship was, restoration would have been a hugely expensive task.

This way at least, she avoids the equal if not worse indignity of the scrappers torch, and what's learned in the testing will almost certainly save lives in future vessels as those lessons are applied.

BTW, you might find These Photos to be of some interest. From th looks of it, the ship has been cleaned up quite a bit. You may also find This Letter From the Chief Of Naval Operations to be of some interest as it explains why thie ship was not offered for a museum.

Some other photos of the ship in mothballs:

http://www.navsource.org/archives/02/026634.jpg
http://www.navsource.org/archives/02/026639.jpg
http://www.navsource.org/archives/02/026638.jpg
http://ussamerica-museumfoundation.org/images/imagepages/shipsgalleries/exussamerica/exussamerica.html
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Well, it looks as if the USS John F. Kennedy may have dodged the budget cutter's bullet this time. From NewsMax.com:
quote:

WASHINGTON - The Senate blocked the Pentagon's plans to scrap one of the country's 12 aircraft carriers, voting Wednesday to keep the fleet intact - at least for now.

Approved on a 58-38 vote, the provision was included as an amendment to the Senate's nearly $81 billion bill for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, the House did not include such a provision in its own version of the war-spending package passed last month. That means the conflict will have to be resolved when both chambers meet to write the final legislation.
For the rest of the story, go HERE.

Comment: Just beware that this is not set in stone as the appropriations bill still has to go through the usual process of negotiation and reconciliation.

Also in the news, the USS Midway Museum just got a new addition by way of a retired Soviet "Foxtrot" class submarine. For more on that, click on Cold War-era Soviet submarine joins Maritime Museum attractions
 

Jim Hathaway

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Just before she retired I remember something about an elevator accident which injured several crew, and damaged an aircraft, and I remember discussion at the time about her material condition.
I can attest it is very difficult to find an organization of people with funds enough to restore and care for a ship of this size.
Right now, there are 4 Essex Class carriers, and a Midway Class on display, and while there are no supercarriers (Everything from the Forrestal forward are considered supercarriers), if preserved carriers become too common, it may put in jeopardy the ones already preserved.
My reasoning is that these museums exist on the strength of thier ability to attract paying visitors, and in a very competitive field, it may make it even tougher for them to show a profit.
Personally, I wish there would have been a way to preserve the CVL USS Cabot (ex Dedalo) when she was returned from Spain, but she went to the scrap yard.
I think Forrestal was also deserving as the first of the supercarriers.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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My first ship has an on-going effort to preserve her and have their website at http://www.ussrangercv61.org/

I don't know if the effort will succeed or not. One plan to display the ship in Tacoma went swirling down the loo because of limited mooring space so the foundation is checking out other possibilities in Portland and San Padro to name a few. Currently, the Ranger is listed as being on donation hold.
 

Jim Hathaway

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I remember Ranger well, she was the only one of the Forrestal class to keep her sponsons after her 5"54s were removed- As I remember she was based in Yokosuka most of her later life.
I lived in San Pedro most of my life- I wonder where they would dock her- they have been building like mad there.
I still remember when USS Los Angeles (CA-135) and USS Hancock were scrapped at Terminal Island.
I can also remember seeing USS Chicago (Albany class CG) leaving under tow for the scrap yard.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>As I remember she was based in Yokosuka most of her later life. <<

Actually, that was the USS Midway. The Ranger spent most of her life homeported at San Francisco, or...by the time I came aboard...San Diego. I never saw the old Los Angelas, but I saw the Chicago when she came back to San Diego for the last time.
 

Jim Hathaway

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I always wanted to build a model of Chicago (CG-11), after they were rebuilt (they were originally Pittsburgh class heavy cruisers) they were such impressive looking ships-
With that huge aluminum superstructure, they must have been lively in high winds.
They carried a two layered defense with Talos for long range, and twin Tartar launchers amidships for short/intermediate range.
Earlier CGs and DDGs had several systems before there was a sucessful attempt to standardize everything on Aegis (an earlier system, Typhoon died in development)
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Another story in the on going saga of the disposal of old warships:
quote:

Latest News: The Navy will move the Oriskany from the Port of Pensacola to the Maritime Administration (MARAD) Beaumont Texas Reserve Fleet facility later this month. An analysis of alternatives, plus public concern about maintaining the ship in Pensacola during the upcoming hurricane season led to the decision to temporarily move the ship to Beaumont. This decision allows Navy to safeguard both the Port and the ship during this year's hurricane season.

The decision was reached after consultation with representatives of the Port of Pensacola and the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Mobile, AL. It was determined that moving the ship was the best and least costly option to protect the Port and the ship as the Navy could not complete a Category 3 hurricane mooring by the start of hurricane season.
For the rest of the story, go to http://www.visitpensacola.com/oriskany/oriskanyphotos.asp

Opinion: They really need to put this ship out of her misery, but some of the concerns expressed in that article just don't go away.
 

Jim Hathaway

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Sorry to see Oriskany end like that, I remember her well, and went aboard her on several occasions.
She was the last CVA Essex in commission (Lex had already become a CVT, and later AVT)
She was also the carrier in "Bridges At Toko Ri" back before SCB-27C added her hurricane bow, angled deck,and new island.
With her went the last navy F-8 Crusader VF squadrons in the navy.
There is a story in "Over The Beach" by Grant about her Vietnam fire (she had one too)
The CO of one of the VF squadrons was trapped in his stateroom by the fire and climbed out a porthole and up to the deck edge catwalk.
After, in the same stateroom,he was asked to duplicate the feat- he could not fit through the porthole, even with his uniform off and soaped down.
I guess the fire provided a certain amount of motivation!
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>I guess the fire provided a certain amount of motivation!<<

Something along the lines of "I better get the hell outta here or I'm gonna die in searing agony" does tend to give one an incentive.
wink.gif


Whatever happens with the Oriskany, I'm certain at least, will serve as a model of what not to do when disposing of some large old warships. This affair has been drawn out over a period of several years. We have other retired carriers in the mothball fleets that will probably go the same way if somebody can't be found to take the contract to dismantle them. Rumour on the waterfront is that the Constellation is the next candidate.
 

Jim Hathaway

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I just got the current issue of Proceedings, it lists Ranger, and Independance awaiting disposal.
Inchon (MCS-12, former LPH) is to be sunk as a target.
All 4 of the first Ticonderogas are now gone- Vincennes was just decommissioned.
Interestingly, Narwahl (SSN-671)is to become a museum.
Her reactor compartment is to be removed and replaced with a plug with room for a theatre and classroom.
She is to be at the National Submarine Science Discovery Center, at Keyport, KY.
(Narwahl was based on the Sturgeon class, but was a one of a kind to evaluate a natural convection reactor)
A lot of Spruances are going, also Sacramento is gone. (Sacramento and Camden were AORs built with the machinery planes of the cancelled Iowa Class BB Kentucky- each recieved half of the plant.
I agree with incentive, I was in a house fire and climbed down from a second story without a ladder- I shudder when I remember how I did it, but at the time, it was the best option;-)
 
Dec 2, 2000
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I got my copy of Proceedings a couple of days ago. The USS Ranger was my first ship and according to the Naval Vessels Register she's on donation hold for use as a museum. The Foundation behind it has their website at http://www.uss-ranger.org/index2.htm

They seem better set up then some of the others and stand at least a reasonable chance of pulling it off.

Reading through the Ship's Status Changes was a bit depressing for me. I saw a lot of familier names there, most of them on their way to the breakers or the firing range.
 

Jim Hathaway

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I get the same feeling, I always thought it was a shame Bunker Hill could have not been saved, up until the early 70s she was used as an antenna testbed in San Diego.
The shame was she was an Essex, and almost totally unmodified from her WW-2 configuration.
(straight deck, open bow, and 5"38 cals in twin mounts fore and aft of the island)
She would have made a unique museum, as would USS Cabot, the only surviving CVL which came back after serving Spain as Dedalo, but both went to the breakers.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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What happened to the Cabot was in may respects quite literally a crime. Accusations of mismanagement and fraud flying about and not all of them unfounded. The real tragedy of it all was that the Cabot was the last survivor of the Independance class light carriers.

Not every World War II vessel in it's nearly original configuration has been lost. I saw the USS Cod briefly when I was in Ohio a couple of weeks ago. The boat is essentiaaly unaltered from her original configuration.
 

Jim Hathaway

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I remember in the 1970s, the navy loaned the NRT training boat (Terminal Island) USS Roncador SS-301 to a military history group to become a museum.
She was towed to Redondo Beach, where she was berthed and supposedly was worked on to become a museum.
About 2 years later she was towed to National Metals and scrapped- an illustration of why the navy now makes groups jump through hoops to get these ships.
Cod is a great museum, as is Pampanito-I have always wished USS Triton would be preserved, but it would never happen. She was a fascinating design. I worked with a man who was an engineering officer aboard her at the Naval Undersea Museum.
In high school, I was lucky enough to have a man for an algebra teacher who was Rasher's (SS-269) XO for most of her war patrols. He had some stories!
 

Jim Hathaway

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Dec 18, 2004
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Here is an article about the trouble the USS Hornet museum is having- it offers a good illustration of the problems in preserving these ships as a museum.

This is from Sunday's San Francisco Chronicle:
>>
>> Hornet looking for money to stay afloat
>> Power could be shut off Monday, eviction may follow
>>
>> Sunday, May 8, 2005
>>
>> The historic aircraft carrier Hornet, docked in Alameda, is in danger
>> of having its electricity cut off Monday and could face eviction from its
>> 10-year home at the former Alameda Naval Air Station.

[Edited by Paul Rogers]
 

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