LAWRENCE J GILBERT
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HONORED ON PANEL 24E, LINE 25 OF THE WALL

LAWRENCE JOSEPH GILBERT

WALL NAME

LAWRENCE J GILBERT

PANEL / LINE

24E/25

DATE OF BIRTH

06/07/1948

CASUALTY PROVINCE

NZ

DATE OF CASUALTY

07/29/1967

HOME OF RECORD

PITTSBURGH

COUNTY OF RECORD

Allegheny County

STATE

PA

BRANCH OF SERVICE

NAVY

RANK

AN

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Contact Details

REMEMBRANCES

LEFT FOR LAWRENCE JOSEPH GILBERT
POSTED ON 1.17.2006
POSTED BY: CLAY MARSTON

LOST IN THE FIRE ON THE USS FORRESTAL ON 29 JULY 1967



AN LAWRENCE JOSEPH GILBERT


was lost in the fire on the


USS FORRESTAL


on 29 July 1967





YOU ARE NOT FORGOTTEN

NOR SHALL YOU EVER BE





25 JULY 2002



* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *



29 JULY 1967


USS FORRESTAL FIRE


THE WORST ACCIDENT ABOARD A
UNITED STATES NAVY SURFACE
VESSEL SINCE WORLD WAR II


On 29 July 1967 the USS FORRESTAL was operating on Yankee Station off the coast of North 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.

Berthing spaces immediately below the flight deck became death traps for fifty men, while other crewmen were blown overboard by the explosion.

Nearby ships hastened to the FORRESTAL's aid.

The ORISKANY (CV 34), herself a victim of a tragic fire in October 1966, stood by to offer fire-fighting and medical aid to the larger carrier.

Nearby escort vessels sprayed water on the burning FORRESTAL and within an hour the fire on the flight deck was under control.

The crew heroically fought the fire and carried armed bombs to the side of the ship to throw them overboard for 13 hours.

Secondary fires below deck took another 12 hours to contain.

Once the fires were under control, the extent of the devastation 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 United States Navy vessel since the USS FRANKLIN (CV 13) was bombed in WW II.

The ship proceeded to Cubi Point in the Philippines 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 aircraft elevator number four, this accounts for about 1/5 the ships length and 5 decks.

On 8 April 1968 FORRESTAL was once again ready to take her place in the fleet, however she was never to return to Vietnam.

With over a dozen major detonations from 1,000 and 500 lb bombs and numerous missile, fuel tank, and aircraft explosions no ship has ever survived the pounding FORRESTAL underwent that day, before or since. She and her crew proved the toughness and dangers associated with the operation of super-carriers, this is one of her greatest legacies.

The USS FORRESTAL would go on to serve the United States for another 26 years during the height of the Cold War and see it through to its demise. She and her crew were always ready to go into battle again, the call never came, she served in war for 4 1/2 days but served to ensure peace for over 13,860.

FORRESTAL had truly served her purpose as 'First in Defense'.



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POSTED ON 7.29.2003
POSTED BY: Donald Lytle

Thanks again Mate

Although we never met personally, I want to thank you Lawrence Joseph Gilbert, for your courageous and valiant service, faithful contribution, and your most holy sacrifice given to this great country--thirty six years ago today aboard the USS FORRESTAL. Thanks again, Mate!

FAIR WINDS, AND ETERNAL PEACE MY FRIEND



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POSTED ON 7.29.2002
POSTED BY: Donald Lytle

Thank You

You are not forgotten! Thank you for your loyal service and greatest of sacrifices! Your Spirit lives on Mate!
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POSTED ON 10.13.1999
POSTED BY: Wayne Lamping
I remember when we had great times in Perry High School together.You were one of the nicest guys I ever met. I was also over Viet Nam but I was in the Army.I will always miss you good buddy.
Sincerely Wayne Lamping
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