USS Oriskany CVA-34

Dedicated to the Officers and Men
who served aboard the USS Oriskany

The U.S.S. Oriskany

The village of Oriskany now has on permanent display the starboard
bow (right front) anchor from the air carrier, USS Oriskany.
 
The anchor is located in Trinkaus Park, and is displayed alongside 
a fighter jet similar to one that flew on the carrier. Because of its
15-ton weight, the anchor wreaked havoc with crews attempting to 
transport it from McChord AFB in Tacoma, Washington to upstate New York,
but was finally delivered to Oriskany on July 2, 1991, about two years
after the village put in a request for the artifact. Each of the 
forty-four posts that surround the anchor bears the name of one 
of the crewmen that died in a fire aboard the carrier in 1966 off 
the shores of Vietnam.

Named after the Revolutionary War's Battle of Oriskany, 
The USS Oriskany, a.k.a. the "Mighty O," was launched on 
October 13, 1945 at the New York Navy Yard. 

However, the carrier was then mothballed for nearly five years until
it was commissioned on September 25, 1950. In 1952 she became the first
aircraft carrier to round the southern tip of South America, Cape Horn.

A year later, while in  Korean waters, a landing aircraft inadvertantly
released a bomb onto the carrier, which killed two men and wounded 
fifteen others. On October 26, 1966 the fateful fire broke out aboard
the carrier while it was in the Gulf of  Tonkin, off Vietnam. 

The carrier served during both the Korean and Vietnam Wars. 

The Oriskany was decommissioned in 1976 after a modernization in 
1956 and an overhaul in 1964. The 42,000-ton flattop was then mothballed
in Puget Sound, Washington, until recently, when it began its journey
to the scrapyard.


Another account of her history:

Oriskany (CVA-34), an attack aircraft carrier was laid down 1 May 1944
by the New York Naval Shipyard, launched 13 October 1945; and sponsored
by Mrs. Clarence Cannon. While still incomplete, her construction was
suspended 12 August 1947. She remained in a state of preservation 
until after the outbreak of hostilities in Korea in June 1950, then 
was rushed to completion. She commissioned in the New York Naval Shipyard
25 September 1950, Capt. Percy H. Lyon in command.

The Oriskany departed New York 6 December 1950 for carrier qualification 
operations off Jacksonville, Fla. followed by a Christmas call at 
Newport, R. I. She resumed operations off Jacksonville through 
11 January 1951, when she embarked Carrier Air Group 1 for shakedown 
out of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

After major modifications at New York Naval Shipyard 6 March through 
2 April, she embarked Carrier Air Group 4 for training off 
Jacksonville, then departed Newport 15 May 1951 for Mediterranean 
deployment with the 6th Fleet.

For the next few months she added her far-reaching air arm to the 
strength of the 6th Fleet, the silent, flexible, and controlling 
weapon of deterrence to overt Soviet aggression in the Mediterranean
and the Near East. 

The mobile 7th Fleet was deeply committed to a shooting war to help 
restore the independence and freedom of South Korea. 
Oriskany was part of the affirmative answer to the crucial question 
as to whether the Korean War would have an affect upon the 
Navy's ability to maintain the status quo in the Mediterranean.

Having swept from ports of Italy and France to those of Greece and 
Turkey, thence to the shores of Tripoli, Oriskany returned to Quonset
Point, R. I. 4 October 1951. She entered Gravesend Bay, New York 6 
November 1951 to offload ammunition and to have her masts removed to 
allow passage under the East River Bridges to the New York Naval Shipyard.
Overhaul included the installation of a new flight deck, steering system,
and bridge. Work was complete by 15 May 1952 and the carrier steamed 
the next day to take on ammunition at Norfolk 19-22 May. She then got
underway to join the Pacific Fleet, steaming via Guantanamo Bay, 
Rio de Janeiro, Cape Horn, Valparaiso, and Lima, arriving San Diego, 
Calif. 21 July.

Following carrier qualifications for Air Group 102, Oriskany departed
San Diego 15 September 1952 to aid UN forces in Korea. She arrived 
Yokosuka 17 October and joined Fast Carrier Task Force 77 off the 
Korean Coast 31 October. 

Her aircraft struck hard with bombing and strafing attacks against 
enemy supply lines and coordinated bombing missions with surface 
gunstrikes along the coast. 

Her pilots downed two Soviet-built MIG-15 jets and damaged a third 
18 November.

Strikes continued through 11 February, heaping destruction upon enemy
artillery positions, troop emplacements, and supply dumps along the 
main battle front. Following a brief upkeep period in Japan, 

Oriskany returned to combat 1 March 1953. 
She continued in action until 29 March, called at Hong Kong, then 
resumed air strikes 8 April. She departed the Korean Coast 
22 April, touched at Yokosuka, and then departed for San Diego 
2 May, arriving there 18 May.

Following readiness training along the California coast, Oriskany 
departed San Francisco 14 September to aid the 7th Fleet watching 
over the uneasy truce in Korea, arriving Yokosuka 15 October. 

Thereafter she cruised the Sea of Japan the East China Sea, and the 
area of the Philippines. 

After providing air support for Marine amphibious assault exercises 
at Iwo Jima, the carrier returned to San Diego 22 April 1954. 

She entered San Francisco Naval Shipyard for modernization overhaul 
completed 22 October when she stood out to sea for the first of a 
series of coastal operations.

Oriskany arrived at Yokosuka from San Francisco 2 April 1955, and 
operated with the Fast Carrier Task Force ranging from Japan and 
Okinawa to the Philippines. This deployment ended 7 September and 
the carrier arrived Alameda, Calif. 21 September.

The attack carrier cruised the California Coast while qualifying pilots
of Air Group 9, then put to sea from Alameda 11 February 1956 for 
another rigorous Westpac deployment. 

She returned to San Francisco 13 June and entered the shipyard for 
overhaul 1 October. She decommissioned there 2 January 1957 for 
modernization work that included a new angled flight deck and 
enclosed hurricane bow. 

New, powerful steam catapults were installed by the Puget Sound Naval
Shipyard, Bremerton, Wash.

Oriskany recommissioned at the San Francisco Naval Shipyard 7 March 
1959, Capt. James Mahan Wright in command. 

Four days later she departed for shakedown out of San Diego with
Carrier Air Group 14 embarked. 

Operations along the west coast continued until 14 May 1960, when she
again deployed to Westpac, returning to San Diego 15 December. 
She entered San Francisco Naval Shipyard 30 March 1961 for a five-month
overhaul that included the first aircraft carrier installation of the
Naval Tactical Data System (NTDS).

Oriskany departed the shipyard 9 September for underway training out
of San Diego until 7 June 1962 when she again deployed to the Far East
with Carrier Air Group 16 embarked. She returned to San Diego 
17 December 1962 for operational readiness training off the west coast.

The carrier again stood out of San Diego 1 August 1963 for Far Eastern
waters, with Carrier Air Group 16 embarked. She arrived Subic Bay 
31 August 1963; thence to Japan. 

She stood out of Iwakuni, Japan the morning of 31 October enroute 
the coast of South Vietnam. 

There she stood by for any eventuality as word was received of the 
coup d'etat taking place in Saigon. 

When the crisis abated, the carrier resumed operations from Japanese 
ports.

Oriskany returned to San Diego 10 March 1964. After overhaul at 
Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.

she steamed for refresher training out of San Diego, followed 
by qualifications for Carrier Wing 16. During this period her flight 
deck was used to test the E-2A "Hawkeye," the Navy's new airborne
early warning aircraft. 

She also provided orientation to senior officers of eight allied 
nations.

Oriskany departed San Diego 5 April 1965 for Westpac, arriving Subic 
27 April. By this time more United States troops had landed in South
Vietnam to support Vietnamese troops against increased Viet Cong 
pressure to destroy the independence of that nation. 

Oriskany added her weight to the massive American naval strength 
supporting the freedom of South Vietnam in combat operations that 
brought her and embarked Carrier Wing 16 the Navy Unit Commendation 
for exceptionally meritorious service between 10 May and 6 December 1965, 
she carried out over 12,000 combat sorties and delivered nearly 10,000 tons 
of ordnance against enemy forces. She departed Subic
Bay 30 November and returned to San Diego 16 December.

Oriskany again stood out of San Diego for the Far East 26 May 1966, 
arriving Yokosuka 14 June.

She steamed for "Dixie Station" off South Vietnam 27 June. Wearisome
days and nights of combat shifted to "Yankee Station" in the 
Gulf of Tonkin 8 July. 

In the following months there were brief respites for replenishment 
in Subic Bay. 

Then back into the action that saw her launch 7,794 combat sorties.

The carrier was on station the morning of 26 October 1966 when a fire
erupted on the starboard side of the ship's forward hanger bay and 
raced through five decks, claiming the lives of 44 men.

Many who lost their lives were veteran combat pilots who had flown raids
over Vietnam a few hours earlier. 

Oriskany had been put in danger when a magnesium parachute flare 
exploded in the forward flare locker of Hanger Bay 1, beneath the 
carrier's flight deck. 

Her crewmen performed fantastic feats in jettisoning heavy bombs 
which lay within reach of the flames. 

Other men wheeled planes out of danger, rescued pilots, and helped 
quell the blaze through three hours of prompt and daring actions. 

Medical assistance was rushed to the carrier from sister aircraft 
carriers Constellation and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Oriskany steamed to Subic Bay 28 October, where victims of the fire 
were transferred to waiting aircraft for transportation to the 
United States. 

A week later the carrier departed for San Diego, arriving 16 November. 
San Francisco Bay Naval Shipyard completed repairs 23 March 1967 and
Oriskany with Carrier Air Wing 16 embarked, underwent training. 

She then stood out of San Francisco Bay 16 June to take station in 
waters off Vietnam. Designated flagship of Carrier Division
9 in Subic Bay 9 July, she commenced "Yankee Station" operations 
14 July. 

While on the line 26 July she provided medical assistance to the 
fire-ravaged attack carrier Forrestal.

Oriskany returned to the Naval Air Station pier at Alameda Calif. 
31 January 1968, and entered San Francisco Bav Naomi Shipyard 
7 February for an eight, month overhaul. 

Upon completion of work the carrier underwent refresher training and 
flight qualifications before deploying to the Far East in April 1969. 
Into 1970 she continedto serve her nation in the Pacific.

Oriskany received two battle stars for Korean Service and five for 
Vietnamese service.

From the files WESTPAC '65 Statistics:

Total Combat Sorties          12,070
Ordanance Dropped             8473 tons
20mm Amunition Expended       513,000 rounds
Combat Centurions             59 Aviators
Miles Steamed                 More than 100,000
Days Deployed                 256
Days At Sea                   210
Gallon Black Oil Consumed     17,000,000
Gallon Avaition Fuel Consumed 13,000,000
Medals Awarded                467
Pending Approval              653

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Larry Mathews Oriskany page Click here
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The Eagls Nest

Dr.Paul M. Brasseur Ph.D. N.D.
(IC first class petty officer '55-'56)