BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS (KVEO NEWSCENTER 23) — This evening thousands of former naval veterans are remembering the career of the U.S.S. Forrestal.
That's the super-carrier being dismantled for scrap, right here in the Valley.
News Center 23's Jeff Tyler brings you the emotional journey of one of the first men to serve aboard the ship.
Busloads of people crowded into the Port of Brownsville to get a last look at the U.S.S. Forrestal, the first U.S. Navy Aircraft super-carrier ever made.
The ship is being recycled right here in the Valley by All-Star Metals.
But on Saturday it was former crewmembers who were recycling memories.
Well there were two Marines on their knees throwing them over their shoulders over the side.
Former crewmember, Jack Lawler, was one of the first to set foot on the ship.
“When we looked up we were like oh my god. We'd never seen a ship that big.”
For 38 years, more than 130-thousand crewmembers served on the Forrestal.
More than 25 stories tall, over a thousand feet long, it was the biggest ship of its kind in the early 50's.
She was our mother when we were at sea. If we took care of her, she took care of us.
The naval behemoth played a vital role in skirmishes like the Lebanon crisis when the Russians threatened to use nuclear weapons against the U.S.
We were kind of like the 9-1-1 button for the president would press a button and one of these super carriers sitting off the coast of the country. The adversaries would think it over twice.
More than 270 sailors died in service on the ship, including 134 that died in a missile misfire in the sixties.
“We lost 134 shipmates, and you don't readily forget those, you really don't. It sticks with you.”
Lawler says the ship may be gone, but the memories will continue to live on.
Reporting in Brownsville, Jeff Tyler KVEO News Center 23.
An historian for the Forrestal says, they are pushing the Secretary of the Navy to name the next navy super-carrier the Forrestal.
And they hope that some of the parts from the previous ship will be added to future ships.
To carry on the history of the Forrestal.