Forrestal Visits UK Shores

Nigel R Sadler reports on the visit of CV-59 to Portsmouth 23rd September 1987 

CVW-6 LOGO O/S

It was a pleasant day when we decided to drive down to Ponty to see another awesome carrier site, the USS Forrestal. The ship had anchored in Stokes Bay on 22nd September following participation in "Exercise Ocean Safari" and she stayed for 6 days before sailing on the 27th September.

CV-59 USS Forrestal

History:-

The USS Forrestal entered service with the Atlantic Fleet in 1956. The carrier deployed to the Mediterranean that year in response to the Suez crisis. Forrestal covered the evacuation of foreign nationals from the Lebanon during the 1958 Lebanese civil war, and later made one combat deployment to South-East Asia. That deployment was cut short in August 1967 after a catastrophic explosion and fire during operations off the coast of North Vietnam. 134 seamen were killed and 64 wounded. The badly damaged vessel returned to Norfolk for repair Forrestal then returned to the Atlantic Fleet. Four Mediterranean cruises in the early 1980's were followed by an 18 Month SLEP refit between 1983 & 1985. Forrestal is no longer an operational carrier, having been designated the US Navy's training carrier from 1992. this follows the withdrawl from service of the 'Essex'-class carrier USS Lexington.

Some of The units embarked appeared to shun the low vis approach maintaining schemes more akin to older times. Still worth every minute to experience such a sight, which in today's environment is becoming a much less common occurrence. The aviation complement centered around CVW-6.

  HI-VIS MARKINGS!!

An example of a unit not letting low vis take over is 161862 /AE-204 F-14A of VF-31 "Tomcatters"

 

Travelling on a small pleasure cruiser to view the ship from every angle was an interesting experience (I am sure we have all been there!) Going out the sea was calm, as we steered the course towards the lurking giant. We finally arrived circumnavigating the ship from every angle cameras clicking looking at the vast array of military jet hardware strewn around the deck. Before long it was time to go, and not before time as a huge weather squall was moving in and the sea was getting rougher. I have vivid memories of graphing some interesting images as rain poured off the deck of the carrier it was a pleasure to view this awesome beast for what could prove to be the last time as she was due to be retired. The hi vis markings were welcome as today we all know that drab grey is the order of the day . Also of course it was at this time that the A-7 was starting to wind down it's naval career in favour of the more capable F/A-18 Hornet, so a good opportunity to photograph some of these "sluffs"  was more than welcome.

f14 forrestal.jpg (36932 bytes)

forrestal e-2 angle.jpg (48895 bytes)

forrestal a-6 etc.jpg (47510 bytes)

forrestal a-7.jpg (49569 bytes)

forrestal a-7's.jpg (32189 bytes)

161862/AE-204 F-14    Photos c Nigel R Sadler 160418/AE-602 E-2C EA-6B/A-6E 159279/AE-303 A-7E 159279/AE-303 A-7E

CVW 6 "AE"

VF-11

"Red Rippers"

F-14A

161873/101

161853/102

161871/103

161857/104

161859/105

 

 

 

161861/106

161863/107

161869/110  161855/111

VF-31

  "Tomcatters"

F-14A

161850/200

161858/202

161860/203

161862/204

161864/205

 

 

 

161870/206

161866/207

161868/210 161852/211

VA-37

  "Bulls"

A-7E

158663/302

159279/303

159294/305

160550/306

160736/307

 

 

 

158839/310

158822/311

159969/312   

VA-105

  "Gunslingers"

A-7E

160873/400

160869/401

160557/402

160615/403 

157581/404

 

 

 

158827/405

157472/406

157569/410  

VA-176

"Thunderbolts"

A-6E

155687/500

158531/501  

159182/502

155620/503 

154148/505 

 

 

 

159183/506

154153/507

152924/511   

 

 

 

KA-6D

155619/514 152618/515 

151789/516 

151570/517

VAW-122

  "Steel Jaws"

E-2C

160702/600

161099/601

160418/602

161224/603

VAQ-132

  "Scorpions"

EA-6B

161120/604

158547/605

161119/606

161775/607

HS-15

  "Red Lions"

SH-3H

152137/610

149687/611

152139/612

148042/613 

151550/615

VS-28

  "Gamblers"

S-3A

160155/700

160156/701

159402/703

159394/704

160153/705

      158873/706 159419/707      

Also on board was SH-3D 156484/BF-402 of HC-16 (low vis c/s). SH-3H's '613/4/5' were all in low vis grey. SH-3H 151550/AE-615 had a damaged tail after being struck by an F-14A which broke loose on the flight deck when it's tow bar broke. VA-176 A-6E 157003/AE-510 & VS-28 S-3A 160607/AE-702 were also assigned to the ship but spent the week at Mildenhall . A-6E 157003/AE-510, F-14A 161852/AE-211 & S-3A 158873/AE-706 took part in the static display at the Leuchars BofB show 19/9.

VF-11   VF-31   VA-37   VA-105   VA-176   VAW-122   VAQ-132   HS-15   VS-28  

 

Vital Statistics:-
Dimensions:- Length 1,086 ft (331m); Beam 129ft 6 in (39.5 m); Flight Deck Width 252 ft (76.8 m); Draft 37ft (11.3m)
Displacement:- 59,060 tons standard & 75,900 tons full load
Performance:- Max Speed 33kt (38 mph;61 km/h); Range 13,800 miles (22,200 km) at 20kt (23mph; 37km/h)
Aviation Load:- 5,500 tons of fuel & 1,650 tons of ordnance.
Combat Persistence:- 8-10 days of normal operations without replenishment
Complement:- 5,249 including 2,279 air wing & 70 flag staff
   
Some CV-59 USS Forrestal Links:-  
USS Forrestal Museum Home page USS Forrestal Association
CV-59 FORRESTAL class - Navy Ships Dedicated to USS Forrestal CVA/CV/AVT-59
USS Forrestal (CV 59)