Jul 26

Remember the Forrestal This Week

Monday, July 26, 2010 1:19 PM


This week marks the 43rd anniversary of the tragic shipboard fire aboard USS Forrestal. Navy TV is commemorating the event by highlighting four historic films related to this tragedy that claimed the lives of 134 Sailors and injured another 161.

“Situation Critical” – the true story of the disaster that occurred aboard the aircraft carrier USS Forrestal, off the coast of North Vietnam. (Run Time: 11:17)

“Valor Under Fire” – Trapped in a deadly mix of flames, smoke, and explosions, here is an intense recap of the events that occurred aboard the USS Forrestal on July 29th, 1967, where so many lives where lost.

“Disasters Don’t Just Happen” – Made in the wake of the tragic accidents aboard USS Forrestal (CV-59), USS Enterprise (CVN-65) and USS Oriskany (CV-34), this 1971 Navy training film examines the causes of shipboard accidents.

“Carrier Flight Deck Safety” – This Vietnam-era, Navy training film features footage shot in 1967 on USS Forrestal (CV-59), the same year the carrier suffered its terrible flight deck fire. It is unclear whether the film predates the fire.

A former Machinist’s Mate who survived an engine room fire recalls his close brush with danger and reviews a book about the lessons learned from the Forrestal accident:

  • My first carrier i was stationed aboard was the Forrestal. I reported aboard as a 2nd class petty officer just as she returned to the states and Norfolk naval shipyard.At that time the aft hangar bay was still supporting the flight deck.We called it Sherwood forest due to all the large square timbers throught the hangar. That memory along with the work we did running armored cable into areas where so many men died i can never forget nor would i wish to.While i was not assigned to PLAT on Forrestal,i was on my next two carriers,the Midway and Kitty Hawk.What i learned aboard the Forrestal helped me make the most of my assignments both at sea and ashore. V/R Phillip w mitchell

  • R. J. Ryan

    How can these films be seen? Are they available to the public?

  • Woody Sanford

    Forgive me if I have posted this before, but the USS Oriskany had a tragic fire actually before the Forrestal. The death toll was much less, but most of those killed were sleeping pilots in Officer’s country. The fire started in the pyro locker on the hanger deck following a sudden panic by a crew member. Many who died were suffocated by rising smoke. I had met several Oriskany crew members while they were in port at San Diego. I was an Intern at San Diego(Balboa)Naval Hospital, They were in for some elective surgery prior to deployment. HW(Woody)Sanford,MD