Collins, William Daniel, SN Fallen
 
 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Seaman
Last Primary Designator/NEC
SN-9700-Seaman - Infantry, Gun Crews, and Seamanship Specialists
Last Rating/NEC Group
Seaman
Last Duty Station
1966-1967, COMNAVAIRLANT/Commander Carrier Air Wing 17 (CVW-17)
Service Years
1965 - 1967
Unofficial US Navy Certificates
Cold War
Great Lakes
Panama Canal
SN-Seaman

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

54 kb

Home State
Kentucky
Kentucky
Year of Birth
1946
 
Casualty Info
Home Town
Paris, KY
Last Address
Paris, KY

Casualty Date
Jul 29, 1967
 
Cause
Non Hostile- Died while Missing
Reason
Other Accident
Location
Vietnam, North
Conflict
USS Forrestal (CVA-59) Fire
Location of Interment
Not Specified
Wall/Plot Coordinates
24E 018

 Official Badges 




 Unofficial Badges 

Gulf of Tonkin Yacht Club Order of the Golden Dragon

 Photo Album   (More...


 Ribbon Bar


 
 Duty Stations
USS Forrestal (CV-59)VF-11 Red RipperCOMNAVAIRLANT/Commander Carrier Air Wing 17 (CVW-17)
  1966-1967, USS Forrestal (CV-59)
  1966-1967, VF-11 Red Ripper
  1966-1967, COMNAVAIRLANT/Commander Carrier Air Wing 17 (CVW-17)
 Recruit Training - Trainee/Instructor
  1965, Training Unit Unknown, N/A
 Combat and Operations History
  1964-1975 Yankee Station
  1967-1967 USS Forrestal (CVA-59) Fire
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity


      USS FORRESTAL (CVA-59)
 USS FORRESTAL (CVA-59)

   
Comments/Citation
FORRESTAL arrived on Yankee Station in the Gulf of Tonkin on 25 July and immediately began combat operations. The first four days were routine; the fifth day, 29 July, was not.

The ship was preparing to launch a major strike and many fully fueled and armed aircraft were parked about the deck. At 10:52 AM a 5" ZUNI rocket accidentally fired from an F-4 Phantom parked on the starboard side of the ship and pointed inboard. The rocket impacted an armed A-4 Skyhawk (piloted by then-LCDR, now Senator, John McCain) parked on the port side.


The rocket's impact dislodged and ruptured the Skyhawk's 400-gallon external fuel tank and ignited the jet fuel which poured out. A 1000-pound bomb also fell to the deck, into the spreading pool of flaming jet fuel. Within 90 seconds the bomb "cooked off" and detonated. That explosion resulted in a chain reaction as the closely-packed aircraft were first engulfed in and then contributed to a massive fire with repeated high-order bomb detonations. The ship's "plat" cameras, mounted on the island and embedded in the deck itself, provided ample video coverage of the initial accident and the subsequent catastrophe.


The first responders were Repair Party 8, led by Chief Petty Officer Gerald Farrier, who can be seen in the plat tapes running toward McCain's Skyhawk immediately after the rocket strike. The fuel tank had already ruptured and burning fuel was spreading around the aircraft. Chief Farrier had, as his weapon against this blaze, a hand-held fire extinguisher. He had not yet reached the Skyhawk when the first detonation occurred . . . he simply disappeared in the blast. A number of air- and deck crew were trapped in the inferno; many died there, while others were able to escape to the deck-edge catwalks.


Outside the rapidly spreading fire, the flight deck crew immediately began an effort to contain the blaze. The on-deck firefighting crews rallied after the first explosion and attacked the fire, only to disappear in the second, and larger, round of explosions. The plat tapes show the decimated firefighters recruiting help from anyone in the vicinity, and these make-shift crews once again pressed into the growing inferno. The third round of detonations cleared the deck of men and fire-fighting gear, but within a minute more crewmen from the forward deck and below-deck areas had reconstituted fire-fighting teams and were working their way aft.


 












Afterwards, starboard quarter looking forward


Over a dozen 1,000 and 500 pound bombs detonated within the first few minutes of the fire, punching holes through the 3" armor plating of the flight deck. Flaming fuel poured through those holes, into the working and berthing spaces on the O-3 level, then down into the aft hangar bay. Numerous smaller explosions occurred as lesser weapons, ranging from the Skyhawk's cannon ammunition to 5" rocket warheads, detonated.


Although it was 13 hours and more before the last fire was extinguished, FORRESTAL's crew did put it out ... but at the cost of 135 dead and hundreds more injured. FORRESTAL left Yankee Station under her own power, steaming to Subic Bay for temporary repairs before returning to Norfolk on 15 September 1967.


 


   
 Military Association Memberships
Military Order of Foreign Wars of the United StatesUSS Forrestal AssociationVeterans of the Vietnam WarVietnam Veterans Memorial
  1961, Military Order of Foreign Wars of the United States
  1967, USS Forrestal Association - Assoc. Page
  1967, Veterans of the Vietnam War
  2012, Vietnam Veterans Memorial - Assoc. Page
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