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Last cruise of USS Oriskany

MO’s been covering the saga of the plan to sink USS Oriskany (CVA 34) as an artificial reef for quite some time. Yesterday, the retired long-hull Essex-class (or Ticonderoga-class) carrier began her final voyage. She’ll be sunk tomorrow (May 17). [Update: She’s on the bottom.]

Here are a few pics:

The decommissioned aircraft carrier USS Oriskany (CVA 34) is towed out to sea May 15, 2006, where it will be sunk in the Gulf of Mexico 22 miles south of Pensacola, Fla., in approximately 212 feet of water. The 32,000-ton, 888-foot ship will become the largest ship ever intentionally sunk as an artificial reef. DoD photo by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Jeffrey P. Kraus, U.S. Navy. (Released)

From JCCC.

Pensacola, Fla., (May 15, 2006) – The decommissioned aircraft carrier Oriskany (CVA 34) is towed out to sea for her scheduled sinking on May 17. Oriskany is schedule to be scuttled 22 miles south of Pensacola in approximately 212 feet of water in the Gulf of Mexico, where it will become the largest ship ever intentionally sunk as an artificial reef. After the Oriskany reaches the bottom, ownership of the vessel will transfer from the Navy to the State of Florida. The public will be allowed to fish and dive on the ship two days later. Known as the “Big O,” the 32,000-ton, 888-foot aircraft carrier was built at the New York Naval Shipyard and delivered to the Navy in 1950 where it later became a highly decorated veteran during conflicts in Korea and Vietnam. U.S. Navy photo Journalist 1st Class Jackey Bratt (RELEASED)

From Navy News Stand.

Local and national media gathered along the sea wall on board Naval Air Station Pensacola to document the last voyage of the former USS Oriskany (CVA 34), as it makes its way along the Intracoastal Waterway from its last port call at NAS Pensacola, to its final destination in the Gulf of Mexico. The ship will be scuttled 22 miles south of Pensacola in approximately 212 feet of water in the Gulf of Mexico, May 17, 2006, where it will become the largest ship ever intentionally sunk as an artificial reef. After the Oriskany reaches the bottom, ownership of the vessel will transfer from the Navy to the State of Florida. The public will be allowed to fish and dive on the ship two days later. Known as the “Big O,” the 32,000-ton, 888-foot aircraft carrier was built at the New York Naval Shipyard and delivered to the Navy in 1950 where it later became a highly decorated veteran during conflicts in Korea and Vietnam. U.S. Navy photo by Gary Nichols (RELEASED)

From Navy News Stand.

Guided by a flotilla of tugboats and small craft, the former U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Oriskany (CVA 34) passes in front of Pensacola’s historic Fort Pickens as the warship makes its way along the Intracoastal Waterway from its last port call at Naval Air Station Pensacola to its final destination in the Gulf of Mexico. It is planned that the ship will be scuttled 22 miles south of Pensacola in approximately 212 feet of water in the Gulf of Mexico, May 17, 2006, where it will become the largest ship ever intentionally sunk as an artificial reef. After the Oriskany reaches the bottom, ownership of the vessel will transfer from the Navy to the State of Florida. The public will be allowed to fish and dive on the ship two days later. Known as the “Big O,” the 32,000-ton, 888-foot aircraft carrier was built at the New York Naval Shipyard and delivered to the Navy in 1950 where it later became a highly decorated veteran of the Korea and Vietnam conflicts. U.S. Navy Photo by Mike O’Connor (RELEASED)

From Navy News Stand.

Former Navy Gunnersmate and USS Oriskany (CVA 34) plank owner, Mike Hajek Jr., of Cape May N.J., who served aboard the warship from 1949 to 1954, salutes the hulk of the Oriskany as it makes its way along the Intracoastal Waterway from its last port call at Naval Air Station Pensacola, to its final destination in the Gulf of Mexico. The ship will be scuttled 22 miles south of Pensacola in approximately 212 feet of water in the Gulf of Mexico, May 17, 2006, where it will become the largest ship ever intentionally sunk as an artificial reef. After the Oriskany reaches the bottom, ownership of the vessel will transfer from the Navy to the State of Florida. The public will be allowed to fish and dive on the ship two days later. Known as the “Big O,” the 32,000-ton, 888-foot aircraft carrier was built at the New York Naval Shipyard and delivered to the Navy in 1950 where it later became a highly decorated veteran during conflicts in Korea and Vietnam. U.S. Navy photo by Gary Nichols (RELEASED)

From Navy News Stand.

More Navy News Stand pics here, here, and here.

There are sure to be some amazing pics of the old lady going under.

UPDATE: Forgot to point out this guy from the fourth pic:

lasto5a.jpg

What a ride!

UPDATE 2: She’s on the bottom.

UPDATE 3: Pics of the sinking here.

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Comments

  • Kevin says:

    Does anyone know why they don’t melt it down and use the metal again? It seems like such a waste to scuttle these giant ships, yet I never hear of anyone recycling them.

  • GeekLethal says:

    Kevin, Many ships are scrapped; there are specialized companies, for example, that tear up ships. What I don’t grasp though is which ones are scrapped/recycled, which are transferred to a reserve fleet, and, uh, which are sunk to make artificial reefs. Dunno why they’d rather do that with the Oriskany than recycle all that delicious steel.

  • Dave Matthews says:

    I will take the memory of this day with me to Charleston on 3 June when I make my annual pilgrimmage to visit the USS Yorktown at Patriot Point in Mount Pleasant, just across the river from C-town. I had the priviledge of visiting her for the first time last year and it was an experience to remember along with the fine ex-Navy volunteers who were available for questions and war stories. I’m sorry the Big O couldn’t be turned into a memorial to the patriots who served on her. Godspeed and take your rest, O. Respectfully Submitted, Dave Matthews Atlanta, GA

  • ACE says:

    What should be done with the JFK? http://www.defensetech.org/archives/002417.html In WWII, we didn’t sink steel for the sake of the sealife. They even chopped up the huge tracked front-loaders used to dig the Panama Canal for the steel. On the History Channel last night, a company salvaged the only known surviving one, which had been used for mining out west.

  • Kevin says:

    Didn’t know that many ships are scrapped, GeekLethal. Thanks for the info.

  • james says:

    Why didn’t they scrap her? Two Words: ‘Environmental Regulations.’ WWII-era ships are full of asbestos insulation and other things that make it nearly impossible to economically reduce a ship of that size to scrap.

  • Chad says:

    So do they make sure all the doors are blocked open so the little fishies can swim without obstruction? Or do they plant charges on interior bulkheads so that there’s holes for the air (bouyancy) to leak out?

  • Bill Stevens says:

    Naval Air Systems Command ‘Currents’ magazine article on the preparation and sinking of ex USS ORISKANY is available at: http://www.enviro-navair.navy.mil/currents/fall2006/Fall06_Navy_Rests_Ex-Oriskany.pdf

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