Oriskany was laid down on May 1, 1944 and commissioned in September 1950 - a “long-hulled” Essex-class carrier that was updated and modernized while under construction. She had active roles in both the Korean and Vietnam wars, surviving a serious fire in 1966 that killed 44 personnel.
Oriskany was decommissioned in 1976 and sold for scrap in 1995. Repossessed due to lack of progress by the contractor in 1997, it was decided that the ship would be part of an artificial reef project in the Gulf of Mexico near Pensacola, Florida. Oriskany was sunk in 212 feet of water on May 17, 2006, becoming a popular scuba diving destination for divers from around the world.
January 14, 1969 - Explosion and Fire on the USS Enterprise off the Vietnam Coast
Much like the fire on the USS Oriskany in 1967, a misfired Zuni rocket was the initiator of the blaze. 18 Explosions rocked the deck of the aircraft carrier, with firefighters taking four hours to bring the fire under control.
28 sailors died, 314 were injured, and 15 aircraft were destroyed. Enterprise limped back to Pearl Harbor for 51 days of repairs, with the incident costing a total of $126 million.
Enterprise’s fire was the last of three major US Navy aircraft carrier fires in the 1960’s.