May 25, 2006


When we said goodbye to the USS Oriskany: A rusted ship moved men to tears. And that was before she slipped beneath the sea (Nicholas A. Basbanes, 5/26/06, CS Monitor)

A day before the USS Oriskany (CV-34) was scheduled to be sunk in the Gulf of Mexico last week, Denny Earl, a naval aviator attached to the venerable aircraft carrier during the Vietnam War with Attack Squadron 163, bade farewell to his old ship in a dazzlingly audacious way. [...]

People who have never served aboard a naval ship can be excused for wondering how it is that grown men could cry so freely and without embarrassment at the sight of an obsolete leviathan they once called home being sent to the bottom in what amounted to a sailor's burial at sea. "Ships have a way of imparting something of themselves to those who sail in them," is the way Captain Kenyon describes the dynamic that takes place between a vessel and her crew. He said that two years ago when news of the reefing was announced, and his words still resonate quite powerfully for me today.

And this from John Resnick.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 25, 2006 8:48 PM

So, was there anybody in those two small boats that started out on the flight deck?

Posted by: ghostcat at May 25, 2006 10:15 PM

Fantastic pictures. How proud we can be of our military. Thanks to all the sailors who served on the "Big O."

Posted by: erp at May 25, 2006 10:29 PM

Neat pictures, and understandable how the former occupants look fondly on the ship. I think most ex-military can relate to that emotion. At least I do.

If I'm not mistaken both John McCain and Adm. Jim Stockdale both flew off the O. As a matter of fact I think McCain (66) was in his A4 on the elevator when the missile went hot and caused the fire.

Posted by: Tom Wall at May 26, 2006 1:57 AM

Tom: I believe you are correct about McCain flying off the Oriskany. However the incident you mentioned about the rocket and fire happened on the USS Forrestal. A rocket went live, hit the external fuel tank under his A4, and started the fire. Just his bad luck to be the pilot of that plane that day.

I would like to see the pictures of the USS America sinking. She was a bigger carrier that the USN used as a target/test platform. The only picture they have released is the one that shows the spot on the ocean just after she slipped under.

Posted by: tps at May 26, 2006 8:42 AM


Unfortunately, I believe the data from that sinking is considered a military secret. Nobody really knows what it takes to sink a military ship that size (let along our modern carriers, bigger still) - there are models, but it's hard to know how much to trust them.

Part of the point of the America sinking was to get a feel for just how big a boom it takes to put a big carrier under; the Navy wanted to know, and doesn't want anybody else to.

Posted by: Mike Earl at May 26, 2006 10:21 AM