The last of the Forrestal-class supercarriers afloat, the decommissioned ex-USS Independence (CV-62) has arrived at her final port of call over the weekend and was greeted by several of her past crewmembers who gathered for one more goodbye.
The mothballed passed through the jetties of the Brownsville Ship Channel on tow to the breakers.
Indy entered service in 1959 as the last of her class and spent much of her career in the Med.
She completed a single tour off the coast of Vietnam in 1965 and later carried out airstrikes against Syrian forces during the Lebanese Civil War, supported the invasion of Grenada and operations over Iraq during Operation Southern Watch, the enforcement of the no-fly zone over southern Iraq.
Independence was decommissioned in 1998 after 39 years of active service. She was ordered in 1954, the year after the Korean conflict went from hot to cold.
“Dismantling such a large vessel is an enormous undertaking, but it’s important to remember that the carriers themselves have a significant sentimental meaning for the people who were stationed on them,” said Chris Green, senior manager of International Shipbreaking Ltd, the same yard that has dismantled classmates USS Constellation and the USS Ranger. “We felt it was important and appropriate to give the USS Independence and those who served on her a deserving tribute.”
The yard had tried to hold services for the other carriers but fell short of being able to pull it off, so BZ to them for last week’s event.
Brownsville-based ESCO Marine, who salvaged the USS Saratoga in 2014, has since filed for bankruptcy, which means International is likely to be the name in the game in supercarrier scrapping.