By Joseph Gambardello The Philadelphia Inquirer
PHILADELPHIA — The USS Forrestal, considered the first of the Navy’s supercarriers and currently docked in Philadelphia, has been sold for 1 cent to a Texas company that specializes in scrap metal.
The Navy said this week it awarded the delivery contract to All Star Metals of Brownsville.
All Star Metals is expected to tow the 1,067-foot carrier from its berth at the Navy’s Inactive Ship Facility in Philadelphia to Brownsville before the end of the year, the Navy said.
In its prime, the behemoth with the 4-acre flight deck displaced 60,000 tons and its voids and compartments held more food, fuel, and stores than any other naval vessel. With its air wing embarked, the Forrestal operated with an average crew size of 5,000.
The Forrestal was decommissioned Sept. 11, 1993, after more than 38 years of service.
The Navy offered the ship for use as a museum or memorial, but no viable applications were received, the Navy said.
Built by Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia, the Forrestal was seriously damaged in a fire that claimed the lives of 134 men on July 29, 1967, off the coast of Vietnam.
The fire broke out after stray voltage triggered a rocket to launch from an F-4 Phantom on deck, the military news site Stars and Stripes recounted Wednesday.
The rocket struck an armed A-4 Skyhawk, rupturing the fuel tanks and sparking a chain reaction of fires and explosions on the deck, Stars and Stripes said.
The A-4 was piloted by Lt. Cmdr. John McCain, now the senior U.S. senator from Arizona who months after the fire was shot down and taken prisoner of war in Hanoi.