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Not a Floating Museum, but Razor Blades: Forrestal, the Navy’s First Supercarrier, Goes to the Breakers for a Penny

Winning bid to dismantle supercarrier was $0.01

How much did the U.S. Navy pay to scrap the its very first supercarrier, the USS Forrestal?  The winning bid was one cent.

The Navy competitively awarded an indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract that “includes the towing, dismantling and recycling of conventionally powered aircraft carriers stricken from the Naval Vessel Register, and a $0.01 fixed price delivery order for dismantling and recycling ex-USS Forrestal (AVT 59),” the statement said.

According to a statement by the Naval Sea Systems Command, the price of the delivery order reflected the net price proposed by All Star Metals, which considered the estimated proceeds from the sale of the scrap metal to be generated from dismantling. The Navy competitively awarded an indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract that “includes the towing, dismantling and recycling of conventionally powered aircraft carriers stricken from the Naval Vessel Register, and a $0.01 fixed price delivery order for dismantling and recycling ex-USS Forrestal (AVT 59),” the statement said.

USS Forrestal (CVA 59)

An aerial port bow view of the USS Forrestal (CVA 59) in service, Aug. 12, 1967. The Forrestal has been sold by the U.S. Navy to All Star Metals for scrapping. U.S. Navy photo

Forrestal was the first of the post-World War II-era supercarriers. She was built by Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Co., and commissioned Sept. 29, 1955. She was the first U.S. Navy carrier to be designed and built with an angled deck, optical landing system, and steam catapults, and pioneered design elements still seen in U.S. Navy aircraft carriers today. In her final years she served as the training carrier in the Gulf of Mexico preparing naval aviators from Pensacola, Fla., for carrier landings and takeoffs. After more than 38 years of service, she was decommissioned Sept. 11, 1993.  There were several bids by various groups to preserve Forrestal as a museum ship, but all were rejected by the Navy. A plan to sink her as an artificial reef was never finalized. Instead she was removed from donation hold status in 2003, stored at Newport, R.I. and later at the Navy’s inactive ship facility in Philadelphia, then towed to All Star Metals’ facility in Brownsville, Texas, where she is currently berthed.

Forrestal was the first of the post-World War II-era supercarriers. She was built by Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Co., and commissioned Sept. 29, 1955.

The contract awards to dispose of two additional conventional carriers – ex-Saratoga (CV 60) and ex-Constellation (CV 64) – are pending, but are expected to be similar. The dismantling process for the first nuclear carriers to be decommissioned, beginning with USS Enterprise, is expected to be much more costly due to the expense of safely disposing of her nuclear reactors and associated materials.

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Capt. Edward H. Lundquist, U.S. Navy (Ret.) is a senior-level communications professional with more than...