The USS Forrestal, the United States Navy’s first supercarrier, has been sold for 1 cent to a scrap yard.
The Navy announced on Tuesday that it sold the USS Forrestal to the Texas-based port recycling center All Star Metals for that tiny amount. The USS Forrestal is the first of three non-nuclear aircraft carriers destined for the scrapyard in the coming years, the Navy says.
The carrier, which was decommissioned in 1993 and stored in Philadelphia and Rhode Island, will reportedly make its way to Brownsville, Texas, by the end of the year. When it arrives, it will be dismantled, recycled and sold for scrap.
When it was launched in 1954, the USS Forrestal spanned 1,067 feet and was described as “the biggest ship ever built” by Popular Science. The ship, which carried more than 3,500 crewmen, cost an astounding $217 million to construct -- just under $2 billion in today’s currency.
The USS Forrestal served in the Navy for more than 38 years. In 1967, a fire on the gigantic ship killed 134 crewmembers and injured 300 more. During the incident, a stray voltage accidentally triggered a rocket fire, which struck an F-4 Phantom plane on the deck. Aboard that plane was a young John McCain, who would later be captured and held as a prisoner of war for years before serving in the Senate and running for president.
While the USS Forrestal is an incredible historical artifact, those familiar with the ship say it’s simply too expensive for the United States Navy to maintain properly.
“It’s something that the Navy is caught between a rock and a hard place,” Ken Killmeyer, historian for the USS Forrestal Association and a survivor of the 1967 fire, told Fox News. “They have to have these vessels no matter how big or small they are, and they use them as you would your car until they’re no longer financially viable. So, they decommission them.”
Eric Brown is an IBTimes political reporter who eats far too much pizza. He is a graduate of Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, and currently resides in Brooklyn.