Former Forrestal-class aircraft carrier USS Ranger is no more

Decommissioned Forrestal-class aircraft carrier USS Ranger (CV-61) is now almost completely gone as the ship’s dismantling and recycling process came to an end this month.

All that is left of the ship is a little over five tons of historic items which have been donated to the USS Lexington Museum in Corpus Christi, Texas, for display and preservation.

The carrier was dismantled by International Shipbreaking in Brownsville, Texas, where she arrived on July 12, 2015.

Ordered in 1954 and commissioned in 1957, the Ranger was the first US carrier built as an angled-deck ship from inception. She served in the Pacific, the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf, and earned 13 battle stars for her service in the Vietnam War. During her 37 years of service, she also appeared in blockbuster films such as Top Gun and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.

The dismantling project was completed on November 1, 2017, 34 years to the day since a fire broke out inside USS Ranger Main Machinery Room 4 (MMR4), claiming the lives of six US Navy sailors and injuring 35. A moment of silence was held at 9:50am by the crew at the yard as the final section of the USS Ranger was removed to honor all those who served on the ship. All artefacts from the MMR4 Control Room have been donated to the USS Ranger Association for use in a museum exhibit honoring the six servicemen who perished during the 1983 fire.

Chris Green, International Shipbreaking COO, commented: “The USS Ranger has a distinguished record of service to our country, and we were honored to give her the respectful send off she deserves. We have a long history of dismantling military vessel, and have invested heavily in our Brownsville ship-breaking facilities to ensure our recycling processes are safe and environmentally sound. Even though the Ranger’s journey as a US Navy vessel has come to an end, we’re proud that she will continue to serve her country and live on to honor her brave crew.”

International Shipbreaking has recently taken delivery of another aircraft carrier for dismantling and recycling, the USS Independence.