Quantcast

USS Forrestal survivors speak of being 'scared to death' - abc27 WHTM

USS Forrestal survivors speak of being 'scared to death'

Posted: Updated:
  • Let's Go PlacesMore>>

  • Shippensburg University Hosts Meet and Greet With a Kick

    Shippensburg University Hosts Meet and Greet With a Kick

    Shippensburg University Hosts Meet and Greet With a Kick

    Friday, August 29 2014 9:31 AM EDT2014-08-29 13:31:46 GMT
    It's certainly a unique way to break the ice between incoming freshmen and the faculty at Shippensburg University. A just for fun soccer match.Or, as PA announcer Stephanie Jirard, a Criminal Justice professor, put it: "The geriatric ward against the new generation!"The game has become a tradition at SU, organized seven years ago by the school's chapter of the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties.Human Communications Studies Professor Dr. Kara Laskowski, public r...More >>
    It's certainly a unique way to break the ice between incoming freshmen and the faculty at Shippensburg University. A just for fun soccer match.Or, as PA announcer Stephanie Jirard, a Criminal Justice professor, put it: "The geriatric ward against the new generation!"The game has become a tradition at SU, organized seven years ago by the school's chapter of the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties.Human Communications Studies Professor Dr. Kara Laskowski, public r...More >>
  • Historic Ferry Boat Operation Still Draws Riders

    Historic Ferry Boat Operation Still Draws Riders

    Historic Ferry Boat Operation Still Draws Riders

    Tuesday, August 26 2014 9:16 AM EDT2014-08-26 13:16:25 GMT
    It's only a one mile journey in distance, but it covers nearly two centuries in time."People come to enjoy the river," said Don Lebo, as he guided another load of vehicles onto the Roaring Bull V. "They come to enjoy the scenery and to enjoy the wildlife."Lebo should know. He's been at the helm of the Roaring Bull V and the Falcon III ferry boats for 25 years.The 20 minute trip across the Susquehanna River dates back to the early 1800's when the Millersburg Ferry system first became official....More >>
    It's only a one mile journey in distance, but it covers nearly two centuries in time."People come to enjoy the river," said Don Lebo, as he guided another load of vehicles onto the Roaring Bull V. "They come to enjoy the scenery and to enjoy the wildlife."Lebo should know. He's been at the helm of the Roaring Bull V and the Falcon III ferry boats for 25 years.The 20 minute trip across the Susquehanna River dates back to the early 1800's when the Millersburg Ferry system first became official....More >>
  • Book Trilogy Traces Elizabethville Woman's West Virginia Roots.

    Book Trilogy Traces Elizabethville Woman's West Virginia Roots.

    Book Trilogy Traces Elizabethville Woman's West Virginia Roots.

    Friday, August 22 2014 8:59 AM EDT2014-08-22 12:59:44 GMT
    For many of her 87 years, Anna Jean Bennett Ditty was told, "You ought to write a book!" So, ten years ago, she did. In fact, she needed three books to cover her life, starting with "The House on the Hill," about growing up with three siblings in a small West Virginia town during the depression, with a hard-working mom and an absentee father.Browsing through her first book, Ditty paused to point out a childhood picture of her baby brother Dickie."He's my baby brother," she said. "My momma alw...More >>
    For many of her 87 years, Anna Jean Bennett Ditty was told, "You ought to write a book!" So, ten years ago, she did. In fact, she needed three books to cover her life, starting with "The House on the Hill," about growing up with three siblings in a small West Virginia town during the depression, with a hard-working mom and an absentee father.Browsing through her first book, Ditty paused to point out a childhood picture of her baby brother Dickie."He's my baby brother," she said. "My momma alw...More >>

July 29th, 1967 -- 45 years ago this month. The fifth straight day of launching air strikes against North Vietnam. Almost routine for the crew of the USS Forrestal -- until 10:52 a.m.

Without warning, an attack rocket accidentally discharged from a jet fighter, slamming into the fuel tank of a manned plane. Firefighters rushed in and saved the pilots, including future U.S. Senator John McCain. But a thousand-pound bomb was sizzling just behind that wall of black smoke.

On that tragic morning, Midstate radio personality Dan Steele was a 20-year old aviation hydraulics mechanic, working one deck below the first explosion.

"When the first bomb went off, and we were all put on the deck, I thought, 'Are we under attack? And where do we go?'," said Steele, who served on the USS Forrestal from 1966-67.

"We started running forward and another bomb went off, and it put us on the deck."

Within minutes, Steele was part of a ship-wide, life or death struggle to keep the supercarrier afloat.

Seven decks below, Franklin County native Don Ridgely and his crew knew the ship was in trouble, but didn't yet know why.

"When the thousand pound bomb went off on the ship, it just made the ship go like that, up and down in the water," he said.

With communication lacking from above, the reaction among his boiler room buddies was the same: "Scared. Scared to death," said Ridgely, who was on the Forrestal from 1966-69.

Of the 5,500 men on board that day, 134 died and 161 were injured. But the surviving crew fought valiantly for 24 hours and saved the ship. A year later, the Forrestal returned to duty and served proudly for 25 more years.

Part two of this story will air on Thursday. Extended interviews with Steele and Ridgely are available at the links below.

Powered by WorldNow