On July 29, 1967, fire broke out on board USS FORRESTAL after a Zuni rocket unexpectedly fired from an F-4 Phantom as the ship prepared for combat flight operations. The blaze caused ordnance to explode on the flight deck and quickly spread to other parts of the ship, including berthing compartments. It took over 12 hours to put it out, and cost 134 lives.
Each year a memorial is held in Norfolk, FORRESTAL’s homeport at the time. This year it will be held on Friday, 31 July 2009 at the Farrier Firefighting School at Norfolk Naval Base.
In addition, there will be a special ceremony in Washington, D.C. at 0930 on August 1st to dedicate a, “circa 1967 RVAH-11 (Checkertails) RA-5C Vigilante at the Washington, D.C. Navy Yard’s Cold War Wing of the U.S. Navy Museum,” (quoted from Brad Jones’ email), followed by a memorial at the Vietnam Memorial, followed by another at Arlington National Cemetary at the USS FORRESTAL gravesite.
Both ceremonies will be poignant and moving. If you are interested in attending, you can contact Brad by clicking here.