Remembering An American Hero
As an American, I would like to thank you for your service and for your sacrifice made on behalf of our wonderful country. The youth of today could gain much by learning of heroes such as yourself, men and women whose courage and heart can never be questioned.
May God allow you to read this, and may He allow me to someday shake your hand when I get to Heaven to personally thank you. May he also allow my father to find you and shake your hand now to say thank you; for America, and for those who love you.
With respect, and the best salute a civilian can muster for you, Sir
If I should die...remembrances for LT Dennis Michael BARTON, USN...who made the ultimate sacrifice!!
If I should die, asnd leave you here awhile, be not like others, sore undone, who keep long vigils by the silent dust, and weep...for MY sake, turn again to life, and smile...Nerving thy heart, and trembling hand to do something to comfort other hearts than thine...Complete these dear, unfinished tasks of mine...and I, perchance, may therein comfort you.
THE LOST HEROES OF THE USS FORRESTAL (CVA-59)
THE LOST HEROES OF
THE USS FORRESTAL (CVA-59)
PR2 Marvin Jarrell Adkins, VF-11
SN Everett Albert Allen, CVA-59
ATR3 Gary James Ardeneaux, VF-11
ADJ1 Toney Anthony Barnett, VF-74
LT Dennis Michael Barton, VA-46
AMH2 Robert Lewis Bennett, VF-11
AQF2 Mark Ronald Bishop, VF-11
SN James Lawrence Blaskis, CVA-59
AA William Victor Brindle, VF-74
AE3 Bobby Joe Brown, VF-11
AMS1 Jerry Dan Byars, VF-11
AE3 Francis Campeau, VF-11
AQF3 Jack Morris Carlan, VF-74
AN Daniel Gutierrez Cavazos, VF-74
SN Ray Augustine Chatelain, CVA-59 *
AN Richard Dean Clendenen, VF-11
SN William Daniel Collins, VF-11
AN Robert Bryan Cotten, VF-11
AMH2 James Lee Crenshaw, VF-74
AME2 Mario Charles Crugnola Jr, VF-74
AN Robert John Davies, VF-74
AO2 Thomas Joe Dawson Jr, VA-65
AE3 Jerold Virgil Despard, VF-11
ADJ3 Edward Robert Dorsey, HC-2
ADJ3 Joseph Gerald Dugas, VF-11
ADJ3 Paul Andrew Dupere, VF-74
SN John Stanley Duplaga, VF-11
SN Kenneth Dyke, CVA-59
AE1 Walter Tasman Eads, VF-74
AO2 James Allen Earick, VA-106
ATN2 John Thomas Edwards, VF-11
ABHC Gerald Wyatte Farrier, CVA-59
FN Kenneth Lee Fasth, CVA-59
AME1 John Junior Fiedler, VF-74
AN Russell Larry Fike, VF-74
ADJ1 Harold Fontenot, VA-106
AN Johnnie Lee Frazier, HC-2
AN Gerald George Fredrickson, CVA-59
AMS1 Herbert Alanson Frye, VF-74
AN Ramon Garza, VF-74
LT Robert Earl Geller, VA-65
ADJ3 Richard Hopkins Gibson, CVA-59
AN Lawrence Joseph Gilbert, VF-74
AMS3 William Thomas Gilroy, VF-11
AMS3 Larry Edward Grace, VF-74
AE3 Russell Allen Grazier, VF-74
ATR3 Charles Clark Gregory, VF-74
SN William Clayton Hartgen, CVA-59
AN Robert Lee Hasz, CVZ-59
AN Richard Anthony Hatcher, VA-46
AN William K. Hinckley Jr, VF-11
DS2 Stephen Louis Hock, CVA-59
AMH3 Larry Douglas Holley, VF-11
AE2 Calvin Daniel Howison, VF-11
AA Philip Lonnie Hudson, CVA-59 *
AO3 Julius Bradley Hughes, VF-11
WO Donald Neale Hugo, CVA-59
AN Ralph Wayne Jacobs, VF-74
ATR3 Donald William Jedlicka, VF-11
AN William Barry Justin, CVA-59
AN Thomas Michael Kane, VF-74
AN Charles David Kieser, VF-74
AN Joseph Kosik, VF-11
AME3 Edward Lynn La Barr, VF-11
SN Wade Andrew Lannom Jr, VF-11
AN William Lee, CVA-59
EM2 Robert Charles Leonberg, CVA-59
AN John Thomas Lilla, VF-11
AQF3 Arnold Edwin Henry Lohse, VF-11
AN Charles Edward Long, VF-11
AZ2 William Earl Lowe, VF-11
AMH3 Kenneth Wayne Lozier, VF-11
AQF3 James S. Mac Vickar Jr, VF-74
AN Ralph Edward Manning, CVA-59
AMH2 Earle Eugene Mc Auliffe, VF-74
AN Brian Duaine Mc Conahay, VF-74
ADJ1 George Columbus Mc Donald, VF-74
AO2 Frank Charles Mc Nelis Jr, VF-11
AMH3 William Victor Mc Quade, VF-11
AN Alan Russell Metz, VA-106
AN George Daniel Miller, VF-74
AN Edward Andrew Mindyas, VF-74
PR3 Hubert Harrol Morgan Jr, VF-11
AE3 Leroy Moser, VF-11
AN James Edward Neumeyer, VF-74
AE3 Gary Eugene Newby, VF-11
AA James Edward Newkirk, VF-11
FN Ronald Roy Ogrinc, CVA-59
AN Thomas Devecmon Ott II, VA-46
AN Wayne Harry Ott, VF-74
AMHC Richard Lee Owens, VA-46
AMH3 Richard Thomas Pinta, VF-11
AO2 Raymond Nicholas Plesh, VA-106
AN John Christopher Pody III, VA-46
AMH2 Ernest Elijah Polston, VF-11
AN Douglas Arthur Post, VF-74
AE3 Robert Michael Priviech, VF-11
ATN3 John Mark Pruner, VF-11
ABH3 Robert Arthur Rhuda, VF-74
AN Charles Ray Rich, VA-106
AMS3 Jerry Paul Rodgers, VF-11
AME2 Dale Ray Ross, VF-11
AN James Mikel Runnels, VF-11
AN Harvey Drew Scofield, VF-11
AO2 Joseph Clarence Shartzer, VA-65
AMH3 William John Shields, VF-11
ABH3 Richard Martin Sietz, CVA-59
AN David Wayne Smith, VF-11
SN Richard Terry Smith, VF-74
AMS2 John Francis Snow, VF-74
AQ1 John Charles Spiess, VF-74
SN Nelson Everett Spitler, CVA-59
AO3 Johnny Wayne Spivey, VF-74
LCDR Gerry Lyle Stark, VA-46
AN Walter Edwin Steele, CVA-59
ADJ2 Wendell Warren Stewart, VA-106 *
AA Robert Allen Stickler, VF-74
AN Kenneth Dale Strain, CVA-59
ABH2 Robert Hatcher Swain, CVA-59
AN Delton Eugene Terry, VF-11
YN3 Norman Arnold Thomas, CVA-59
AMH1 William Frank Thompson, VF-74
AE3 Richard Joseph Vallone, VF-11
AN Robert Jerome Velasquez, CVA-59
AN Juan Antonio Velez, VA-106
AN George Elton Wall, VA-106
AN Harold David Watkins, VA-46
AA Gregory Lynn Webb, VF-74
AME3 Gerald Albert Wehde, VA-65
AQF3 Judson Arthur Wells Jr, VF-11
ADJ3 Richard Lee Wescott, VF-11
AA Edward John Wessels, VF-74
LCDR Fred Donald White, VA-46
AN Kerry Dean Wisdom, VF-74
AN Robert Louis Zwerlein, VA-46 *
* - died later as result of injuries (4)
LOST IN THE FIRE ON THE USS FORRESTAL ON 29 JULY 1967
DENNIS MICHAEL BARTON
was lost in the fire on the
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 10:52 am 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 WWII.
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'.