On July 29, 1967 the USS Forrestal was operating off the coast of Vietnam conducting combat operations. This was the fifth such day of operations and at 10:52am the crew was starting the second launch cycle of the day, when suddenly a zuni rocket accidentally fired from an F-4 Phantom into a parked and armed A-4 Skyhawk. The accidental launch and subsequent impact caused the belly fuel tank and a 1,000 pound bomb on the Skyhawk to fall off, the tank broke open spilling JP5 (jet fuel) onto the flight deck and ignited a fire. Within a minute and a half the bomb was the first to cook-off and explode, this caused a massive chain reaction of explosions that engulfed half the airwings aircraft, and blew huge holes in the steel flight deck. Fed by fuel and bombs from other aircraft that were armed and ready for the coming strike, the fire spread quickly, many pilots and support personnel were trapped and burned alive.

Fuel and bombs spilled into the holes in the flight deck igniting fires on decks further into the bowels of the ship. The crew heroically fought the fire and carried armed bombs to the side of the ship to throw them overboard for 13 hours. Once the fires were under control, the extent of the devistation was apparent. Most tragic was the loss to the crew, 134 had lost their lives, while an additional 64 were injured, this was and still remains the single worst loss of life on a navy vessel since the USS Franklin (CV-13) was bombed in WWII. Forrestal limped into Cubi Point in the Phillipines for temporary repairs.

In only eight days enough repairs were made that she could start the long trip back to her home port of Norfolk, Virginia for permanent repairs. On her way home she was capable of operating aircraft if needed. Forrestal would spend seven months in the yards being repaired, she was re-built from the hanger up and forward to elevator number four, this accounts for about 1/5 the ships length and 5 decks. On April 8, 1968 Forrestal was once again ready to take her place in the fleet, she was never to return to Vietnam.

List of those who lost their lives onboard USS Forrestal - 29 July 1967 (As listed on panel 24E at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (the wall) in Washington, D.C.)

Marvin J. Adkins * Everettt A. Allen * Gary J. Ardeneaux

Tony A. Barnett * Dennis M. Barton * Robert L. Bennett

Mark R. Bishop * James L. Blaskis * William V. Brindle

Bobby J. Brown * Jerry D. Byars * Marvin F. Campeau

Jack M. Carlan * Daniel G. Cavazos * Ray A. Chatelain

Richard D. Clendenen * William D. Collins * Robert B. Cotton

James L. Crenshaw * Mario C. Crugnola, Jr. * Robert J. Davies

Thomas J. Dawson, Jr. * Jerold V. Despard * Edward R. Dorsey

Joseph G. Dugas * Paul A. Dupere * John S. Duplaga

Walter T. Eads * James A. Earick * John T. Edwards

Gerald W. Farrier * Kenneth L. Fasth * John J. Fiedler

Russell L. Fike * Harold Fontenot * Johnnie L. Frazier

Gerald G. Fredrickson * Herbert A. Frye * Ramon Garza

Robert E. Geller * Richard H. Gibson * Laurence J. Gilbert

William T. Gilroy * Larry E. Grace * Russell A. Grazier

Charles C. Gregory * William C. Hartgen * Robert L. Hasz

Richard A. Hatcher * William K. Hinckley * Stephen L. Hock

Larry D. Holley * Calvin D. Howison * Philip L. Hudson

Julius B. Hughes * Donald N. Hugo * Ralph W. Jacobs

Donald W. Jedlicka * William B. Justin * Thomas M. Kane

Charles D. Kieser * Joseph Kosik III * Edward L. La Barr

Wade A. Lannom, Jr. * William Lee * Robert C. Leonberg

John T. Lilla * Arnold E. H. Lohse * Charles E. Long

William E. Lowe * Kenneth W. Lozier * James S. MacVickar, Jr.

Ralph E. Manning * Earle E. McAuliffe, Jr. * Brian D. McConahay

George C. McDonald * Frank C. McNelis, Jr. * William V. McQuaide

Allan R. Metz * George D. Miller * Edward A. Mindyas

Hubert H. Morgan, Jr. * Leroy Moser * James E. Neumeyer

Gary E. Newby * James E. Newkirk * Ronald R. Ogring

Thomas D. Ott II * Wayne H. Ott * Richard L. Owens

Richard T. Pinta * Raymond N. Plesh * John C. Pody

Ernest E. Polston * Douglas A. Post * Robert M. Priviech

John M. Pruner * Robert A. Rhuda * Charles R. Rich

Jerry P. Rodgers * Dale R. Ross * James M. Runnels

Harvey D. Scofield * Joseph C. Shartzer * William J. Shields

Richard M. Sietz * David W. Smith * Richard T. Smith

John F. Snow * John C. Spiess * Nelson E. Spitler

Johnny W. Spivey * Gerry L. Stark * Walter E. Steele

Wendell W. Stewart * Robert A. Stickler * Kenneth D. Strain

Robert H. Swain * Delton E. Terry * Norman A. Thomas

William F. Thompson * Richard J. Vallone * Robert J. Velasquez

Juan A. Velez * George E. Wall * Harold D. Watkins

Gregory L. Webb * Gerald A. Wehde * Judson A. Wells, Jr.

Richard L. Wescott * Edward J. Wessells * Fred D. White

Kerry D. Wisdom * Robert L. Zwerlein

Not to be forgotten...

Join our mailing list and get notified by email of any changes to MrHugs Webpages!
Enter your email address below,
then click the 'Join List' button:
Powered by ListBot

If anyone is planning to visit Arlington National Cemetary while in Washington D.C. please be sure to visit the common grave of 18 of our shipmates lost on July 29, 1967. The large headstone is in section 13, near the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, between Audie Murphy's gravesite and the mast of the USS Maine.

The Captain's Prayer Our heavenly Father, we see this day as one minute and yet a lifetime for all of us. We thank you for the courage of those who gave their lives in saving their shipmates today. We humbly ask You to grant them peace and to their loved ones the consolation and strength to bear their loss. Help us to renew the faith we have in You. We thank You for our own lives. May we remember You as You have remembered us today. From our hearts we turn to You now, knowing that You have been at our side in every minute of this day. Heavenly Father, help us to rebuild and to reman our ship, so that our brothers who died today may not have made a fruitless sacrifice.

Offered by Captain John K. Beling, Commanding Officer, USS Forrestal, 29 July, 1967



EMAIL MrHugs Here!!!!

Email MrHugs at MrHugs1@yahoo.comor at