John McCain in 1967 after the USS Forrestal disaster
Remembering the USS Forrestal Fire
Uss Forrestal Disaster (1967)
On 29 July 1967, a fire broke out on board the aircraft carrier USS Forrestal. An electrical anomaly caused a Zuni rocket on a McDonnell Douglas F-4B Phantom to fire, striking an external fuel tank of a A-4 Skyhawk. The flammable jet fuel spilled across the flight deck, ignited, and triggered a chain-reaction of explosions that killed 134 sailors and injured 161. At the time, Forrestal was engaged in combat operations in the Gulf of Tonkin, during the Vietnam War. The ship survived, but with damage exceeding US$72 million, not including the damage to aircraft. Future United States Senator John McCain and future four-star admiral and U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander Ronald J. Zlatoper were among the survivors. Lt. Tom Treanore returned to the ship as its commander and retired an admiral.