Above: USS Forrestal (CV-59)
The USS Forrestal (CV-59), formerly AVT-59 and CVA-59, is a supercarrier that was named after former Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal and was the lead ship of her class of aircraft carriers. The other carriers of her class were the USS Saratoga, USS Ranger and USS Independence. She superseded Shinano of World War II vintage as the largest aircraft carrier ever built by full load displacement and was the first to specifically support jet aircraft. The ship was affectionately called “The FID”, because James Forrestal was the first ever Secretary of Defense, FID standing for “First In Defense”. This is also the slogan on the ship’s insignia and patch. She was also informally known in the fleet as the “Zippo” and “Forrest Fire” or “Firestal” because of a number of highly publicized fires on board, most notably a 1967 incident in which 134 sailors died and 161 were injured.
Forrestal was launched 11 December 1954 by Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Co., Newport News, Virginia, sponsored by Josephine Forrestal, widow of Secretary Forrestal; and commissioned 1 October 1955, Captain R. L. Johnson in command. The construction cost of the Forrestal just before commissioning was estimated to be $218 million.
Below: USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67)
USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67) (formerly CVA-67) is a John F. Kennedy class aircraft carrier, the last conventionally powered carrier built for the United States Navy. The ship is named after the 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy, and is nicknamed “Big John.” Kennedy was originally designated a CVA (fixed wing attack carrier); however, the designation was changed to CV to denote that the ship was capable of anti-submarine warfare, making her an all-purpose carrier.
After nearly 40 years of service in the United States Navy, Kennedy was officially decommissioned on 1 August 2007. She is berthed at the NAVSEA Inactive Ships On-site Maintenance facility in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She is available for donation as a museum and memorial to a qualified organization. The name has been adopted by the future Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy (CVN-79).