Garrity, William John, Jr., LCDR

Fallen
 
 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Lieutenant Commander
Last Service Branch
Chaplain Christian
Last Primary NEC
410X-Chaplain Corps Officer
Last Rating/NEC Group
Staff Corps Officer
Primary Unit
1964-1966, USS Oriskany (CV-34)
Service Years
1952 - 1966
Chaplain Christian
Lieutenant Commander

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

444 kb

Home State
Montana
Montana
Year of Birth
1926
 
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Tommy Burgdorf (Birddog), FC2 to remember Garrity, William John, Jr. (Chaplain), LCDR.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
Harve, MT
Last Address
Harve, MT

Casualty Date
Oct 26, 1966
 
Cause
Non Hostile- Died Other Causes
Reason
Drowned, Suffocated
Location
Tonkin Gulf
Conflict
Vietnam War
Location of Interment
Resurrection Cemetery - Helena, Montana
Wall/Plot Coordinates
11E 110

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 Military Association Memberships
Vietnam Veterans MemorialThe National Gold Star Family Registry
  2012, Vietnam Veterans Memorial [Verified] - Assoc. Page
  2012, The National Gold Star Family Registry

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 Duty Stations
USS Oriskany (CV-34)
  1964-1966, USS Oriskany (CV-34)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1964-1973 Yankee Station, North Vietnam
  1964-1973 Yankee Station, North Vietnam
  1965-1966 Dixie Station, South Vietnam
 Other News, Events and Photographs
 
  Nov 14, 2012, General Photos1
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

 



   
Comments/Citation
The carrier was on station the morning of 27 October 1966 when a fire erupted on the starboard side of the ship's forward hangar bay and raced through five decks, killing 44 men. Many who lost their lives were veteran combat pilots who had flown raids over Vietnam a few hours earlier. Oriskany had been put in danger when a magnesium parachute flare exploded in the forward flare locker of Hangar Bay 1, beneath the carrier's flight deck. Subsequent investigation showed the flare functioned as designed and the cause of the fire was user error. A seaman threw the ignited flare back into the weapons locker where the flares were kept for storage, instead of throwing it over the side into the water; this allowed the entire storage locker to ignite and caused horrific damage. Some of her crewmen jettisoned heavy bombs which lay within reach of the flames, while others wheeled planes out of danger, rescued pilots, and helped quell the blaze throughout the next three hours. Medical assistance was rushed to the carrier from sister aircraft carriers Constellation (CV-64) and Franklin D. Roosevelt (CV-42). Later investigation by Captain Iarrobino of the Oriskany and analysis by the Naval Ammunition Depot in Crane, Indiana, showed that one in every thousand flares could ignite accidentally if jarred. Five crew members were court-martialed as a result of the incident but were acquitted. After this incident and others, the flare design used by the Navy was changed to a safer design immune to accidental ignition, and crews were increased to stabilize numbers so all activities could be properly supervised.


Oriskany steamed to Subic Bay 28 October, where victims of the fire were transferred to waiting aircraft for transportation to the United States. A week later, the carrier departed for San Diego, arriving 16 November. San Francisco Bay Naval Shipyard completed repairs 23 March 1967 and Oriskany, with Carrier Air Wing 16 embarked, underwent training. She then stood out of San Francisco Bay 16 June to take station in waters off Vietnam. Designated flagship of Carrier Division 9 in Subic Bay 9 July, she commenced "Yankee Station" operations 14 July. While on the line, 26 July, she provided medical assistance to the fire-ravaged attack carrier Forrestal.

Father Garrity
Many times I think of you, and all your kind ways of showing your love for humanity. I think back on the morning of 26oct66 and the terrible fire onboard the USS Oriskany. You went back into the fire to save lives, until someone had to pull you from the flames. Father Rest In Heaven
Posted by: Ron Moser
Relationship: We served together
Thursday, May 9, 2002

 

   
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