Historic Navy Carrier Sold ... for a Penny

USS Forrestal will become scrap metal after 4 decades of service

By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 24, 2013 8:35 AM CDT

(Newser) – A supercarrier once hailed as the "biggest ship ever built" has been sold—for a price that must rank among the smallest ever: one penny, paid by the seller. All Star Metals now owns the historic USS Forrestal after the Pentagon paid it one cent to dismantle and recycle it; the company will tow the 1,067-foot ship to its facility in Brownsville, Texas, where it will be scrapped. Though the ship has a long history—launched in 1954, it was the Navy's first supercarrier, and was the site of a Vietnam War tragedy—the Navy got no "viable applications" during its attempt to hand it to a museum or have it made into a memorial, Fox News reports.

In the end, maintenance on the ship, which cost $217 million to build (more like $2 billion in today's dollars) and was decommissioned in 1993, became just too costly. The Navy was "caught between a rock and a hard place," says a USS Forrestal Association historian and survivor of the 1967 incident, which saw an A-4 Skyhawk struck by an accidentally-launched rocket, causing a chain reaction of blasts and blazes that killed 134 and injured hundreds more. A high-profile survivor? The man in the cockpit of that A-4 Skyhawk, one John McCain.

The mothballed aircraft carrier USS Forrestal can be seen behind a fence on the Naval Base in Middletown, R.I., Sunday July 20, 2008.
The mothballed aircraft carrier USS Forrestal can be seen behind a fence on the Naval Base in Middletown, R.I., Sunday July 20, 2008.   (AP Photo/Stew Milne)
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