Decommissioned aircraft carriers were in the news during the last few months of 2006. Topping the interest was that after 10-years of striving to save the USS Forrestal (CVA-59), the members of the USS Forrestal Museum Inc. concluded that their dream to have it become a museum ship at Baltimore was beyond its financial reach. It is believed that it will become an artificial reef at some unnamed place.
The Baltimore Examiner, with staffer Jaime Malarkey, gave its readers many reports about the Forrestal. In one of the final reports we learned that Salem, Massachusetts, and Tampa, Florida, were considering saving the first of what have been termed the nation’s first super carriers. The Forrestal, with her sister ship Saratoga (CVS-60) have been docked at Pier 1, Newport, Rhode Island, for several years awaiting their disposition.
The 11-12 November Examiner article by Malarkey stated that each year Forrestal veterans have assembled at the Vietnam Wall in Washington, which lets those who have lost relatives in fires and other accidents tell their stories.
More than 400-mi north, at Newport, Forrestal Association members were at Pier 1, where a wreath was placed at the Forrestal’s brow as part of the Veterans Day ceremonies. A color guard was present, as were 46 Officer Indoctrination School students from Officer Training Command – Newport. Also observing the solemn exercise was a good-sized crowd of civilians.
The USS Saratoga has been the project of hundreds of members of the USS Saratoga Museum Foundation as well as gaining support from others who want that carrier to become a museum ship at the former Quonset Point-Davisville complex at North Kingstown, Rhode Island, a few miles across from Narragansett Bay.
Providence Journal reporter Paul Davis’ article, which appeared in that newspaper on 4 November, said that the Independence Bank of East Greenwich will lend the Foundation $6.5 million for the project, which is “backed by the US Department of Agriculture.” However, the Foundation, which has $3.5 million, is out to raise another million for the project, which will cost about $11 million.
Finally, the carrier Intrepid was freed from the mud at its New York pier and towed away for a multi-million dollar restoration that will require more than two-years to complete.
Copyright Challenge Publications Inc. Apr 2007
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