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Author Topic: USS Forrestal near KPHL  (Read 5678 times)
cptbrw
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« on: June 18, 2010, 11:42:47 PM »

The retired naval supercarrier USS Forrestal was towed to the old Philadelphia Naval Yard storage facility and arrived early this morning (around 7AM local).  It was towed up the Delaware River to the navy yard which is just North of KPHL and directly under the final approach path for runways 27.  This resulted in some light-hearted banter as the landing aircraft overflew the arriving carrier.

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Deskpilot
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« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2010, 10:23:03 PM »

Philadelphia's 6 ABC has a nice little slide show of her history.
http://abclocal.go.com/wpvi/gallery?section=news&id=7505740&photo=1

Pilot in audio is correct, this is one of the ships Sen (then LT)John McCain (R-AZ) flew from during his career. He can actually be seen abandoning an A-4 from the port side.
see 1st of 5 videos @
This video combines a mix of original archival footage plus installed current day CVN footage.
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cptbrw
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« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2010, 09:54:54 PM »

I may have the story confused but I believe that it was McCain's aircraft that was involved somehow in the start of the explosion/fire aboard the Forrestal.  I'll have to dig the book out to refresh my memory.
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Hollis
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« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2010, 10:30:36 PM »

cptbrw:

You are correct. The story is well known. July 29, 1967...
McCain did a so-called 'wet start' (which shoots a long flame out the tailpipe) with his A-4. It hit a Suni missile on the F-4 Phantom directly behind him, which lit off and hit McCain's a/c and dislodged his wing mounted 1000 lb. bombs. It all went downhill from there.
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enigma00
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« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2010, 10:56:48 AM »

That's not the story as told in that documentary linked above, nor on the Wikipedia page.  I believe the cause was a rocket accidentally fired from an aircraft across the deck (the reason for which is complicated), which hit either McCain's plane or the one next to his, puncturing the fuel tank and igniting it.  This led to a spreading fire and of course the eventual explosion of the bombs that fell into the fire (and the ones on other aircraft).
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cptbrw
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« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2010, 07:14:45 PM »

You are correct enigma00!  The rocket was accidentally fired from an F-4 Phantom which was in the process of pre-flight checks.  The rocket crossed the flight deck and struck McCain's Skyhawk which caused the subsequent explosion and fire on July 29, 1967.  I knew McCain's aircraft was directly involved somehow.  McCain was in the aircraft at the time and escaped over the nose of the jet into the fire below.  He was able to escape the flames and rolled around to extinguish his flaming flightsuit.

This according to the book "Sailors to the End" by Gregory A Freeman which is, IMHO, an excellent telling of the story of the incident.
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