USS Forrestal CVA-59 (later CV-59 and AVT-59) - 1970-75

Chronology and Significant Events 1970-1975:

10–20 Jan 1970: The carrier visited Marsaxlokk at Malta. Occasional foul winter weather plagued this visit and the crew could only complete two of their four planned days of general visiting for the public, and limiting a third day, due to the dangerous boating conditions.

16 Feb–2 Mar 1970: Forrestal operated in the Ionian Sea (16–23 February) and then again visited Trieste (23 February–2 March). CDR Douglas C. Coleman of RVAH-13 made the 150,000th arresting landing on board Forrestal as she steamed in the Ionian Sea, in a Vigilante on 20 February.

10–19 Mar 1970: Heavy weather again restricted boating conditions for visitors and for liberty parties going ashore, when the ship put into Barcelona, Spain, reducing boating visitation from three days to two.

9–15 Apr 1970: After sailing in the Tyrrhenian and Ionian Seas (2–9 April), Forrestal anchored at Argostoli Bay in Greece. RADM George C. Talley, Jr., relieved RADM William H. House as Commander, Carrier Division 4, during a ceremony on board, on 10 April.

20 Apr–1 May 1970: The ship anchored off Valletta and St. Paul’s Bay, Malta. Crewmembers contributed to a variety of charitable projects to help people whenever they made port, but this particular visit included a hitherto distinctive event. Some men from the carrier displayed their love of romance when they provided the funds and help to hold a wedding celebration, cake, band and a dowry of $380.00 collected from their shipmates, for the marriage of two Maltese at an orphanage at Gozo.

1–23 May 1970: Following her Maltese call the carrier steamed in the Ionian Sea, broken by a call at the Greek capital of Athens (7–18 May). Chief of Naval Operations (Designate) VADM Elmo R. Zumwalt, Jr., visited the ship to observe flight operations overnight on 22 and 23 May. During his stay the affable admiral also answered questions from the crew and sailors from WFOR-TV, the ship’s television station, interviewed the prospective and outspoken CNO.

23–27 May 1970: Forrestal anchored at Argostoli Bay. Unfortunately, the ship did not hold liberty call for her disappointed crew.

28 May–4 Jun 1970: The ship put into Corfu.

4–21 Jun 1970: After steaming in the Ionian Sea for Operation Dawn Patrol, a joint NATO readiness exercise to prepare for possible East Bloc attacks in the event of a European war, Forrestal anchored in Souda Bay at Crete (4–9 June). The Sixth Fleet intended Forrestal to visit Naples on 16 June, however, civil strife erupted in Jordan, forcing the ship to curtail her visit and rush to the eastern Mediterranean. The carrier patrolled that area and prepared to provide air support to cover evacuations of Americans from Jordan, but the situation calmed and she came about and made for her abbreviated visit to Naples, on the 21st.

28–29 Jun 1970: Forrestal departed the Mediterranean and conducted an underway turnover with Saratoga the next day.

13 Jul–25 Sep 1970: The ship offloaded her ammunition at Norfolk ammunition anchorage through 17 July; she then moored to Pier 5, Norfolk Naval Shipyard, to complete a restricted availability.

30 Sep 1970: Forrestal hosted the change of command ceremony for Commander in Chief Atlantic Command and Commander in Chief, Atlantic Fleet, when ADM Charles K. Duncan relieved ADM Ephraim P. Holmes, at Pier 12 at NS Norfolk. Secretary of the Navy John H. Chaffee, Jr., led the entourage of dignitaries present.

1–9 Oct 1970: The carrier stood out of Norfolk for post repair trials, returning to onload ammunition (5–9 October).

16–30 Oct 1970: Whenever carriers assigned to the Atlantic Fleet completed restricted availabilities at this time, they normally conducted their refresher training and carrier qualifications in Caribbean waters. As an experiment and economy measure, however, Forrestal accomplished her scheduled training and qualifications off the Virginia Capes, broken only be a brief return to Norfolk on 22 October.

30 Nov–7 Dec 1970: While training and working-up, Forrestal witnessed a unique operation when two Air Force pilots, MAJ George Weeks, USAF, an exchange officer assigned to VF-11, and LCOL Clifford Allison, USAF (the radar intercept officer serving from the staff of Commander, Second Fleet) flying with that squadron, landed their F-4B Phantom IIs for what the ship’s Command History Report referred to as an “all-Air Force carrier landing,” on 5 December.

5–24 Jan 1971: While en route to the Mediterranean, Forrestal onloaded VA-81, VA-83 and RVAH-7, the remaining squadrons of CVW-17, at Mayport on the 7th; she then conducted an operational readiness inspection (13–15 January), and anchored off St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands on the 15th. The carrier then continued onward steaming easterly courses, arriving at NS Rota to relieve Independence on 24 January. Grumman EA-6B Prowlers of Marine Tactical Electronics Warfare Squadron (VMAQ)-2 embarked for this initial phase of the deployment. Forrestal steamed through the Strait of Gibraltar in the Mediterranean that night.

29 Jan–3 Feb 1971: The ship made her first visit to a Mediterranean port during this deployment to the Sixth Fleet when she anchored off Valletta’s sea wall. Choppy seas interfered with liberty ashore and visitation by the normally friendly Maltese, however, and forced Forrestal to restrict visitation.

3–8 Feb 1971: While steaming in the Ionian Sea Forrestal received word that Panamanian-flagged ore ship Flamingo lost power and drifted at the mercy of the wind and tide off southern Italy, on 7 February. Sixth Fleet destroyers attempted to take her in tow, however, rough seas prevented them from aiding the stricken ship. Forrestal sent four Sikorsky SH-3D Sea Kings from HS-3 through winds gusting up to 60 knots and over what the ship’s Command History Report described as “extremely heavy seas” to rescue all 20 crewmembers and passengers from Flamingo. The carrier’s crew fed and provided medical attention to the survivors, who they flew on to Naval Air Facility (NAF) Sigonella in Sicily the next day to be transported to reunions with their loved ones.

8–10 Feb 1971: As Forrestal anchored in St. Paul’s Bay at Malta, Secretary of the Navy Chaffee and VADM Isaac C. Kidd, Jr., Commander, Sixth Fleet, paid the ship a visit. The secretary appeared on Forrestal’s WFOR-TV for a question and answer session with the crew and presented medals to the 16 men who participated in the rescue of the people from Flamingo. Secretary Chaffee also gave the crew the exciting news that they could wear civilian clothing while on liberty and to store them on board as a feasibility study for wider circulation. The concept proved so popular amongst sailors that the Sixth Fleet later adopted the policy throughout the Mediterranean. Previously, only officers, chiefs and first class petty officers enjoyed that privilege.

10–22 Feb 1971: The carrier operated in the Ionian Sea, during which she hosted a visit on the 18th by the American ambassador to the Netherlands and the Dutch Foreign Minister Joseph Luns, who later became the Secretary General of NATO.

22 Feb–2 Mar 1971: As Forrestal put into Valletta poor weather restricted visiting.

12–17 Mar 1971: The ship steamed in the Aegean Sea. Former West German Air Force Chief of Staff GEN Johannes Steinhoff, newly-elected as the Chairman of NATO Military Committee, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe [SHAPE], visited for a carrier orientation (12–13 March).

1–3 Apr 1971: Following a brief visit to Athens, Forrestal transited the Strait of Messina and anchored off Naples to off-load a damaged aircraft, however, rough seas precluded the transfer from the carrier to a barge, so Forrestal stood out of the bay into the Tyrrhenian Sea before she could return the next day as the weather calmed to complete the transfer.

28 Apr–17 May 1971: Forrestal participated in Operation Dawn Patrol, a NATO air and sea exercise involving more than 60 ships and submarines and over 300 aircraft from the American, British, Greek, Italian and Turkish forces. Dawn Patrol took the carrier from the western Mediterranean to the Tyrrhenian Seas and back again as the struggle for supremacy between the ‘rival powers’ sea-sawed across the region during the simulated war. A VF-11 Phantom II, LT William G. Pfeiffer and LT(JG) Jake T. Walters, Jr., lost its right main landing gear after bolstering, on 2 May. The crew erected the emergency barricade and LT Pfeiffer landed the Phantom II safely. Deputy Secretary of Defense David Packard visited during his tour of American military installations ashore in Europe and ships operating in European waters.

16–22 May 1971: The ship visited Naples. Before Forrestal entered port aircraft performed a “massive” flyover as the height of the 20th anniversary celebration of the establishment of Allied Forces South Europe [AFSOUTH].

25–26 May 1971: Following a transit of the Strait of Messina the carrier anchored at Argostoli. ADM Horacio Rivero, Jr., Commander-in-Chief South, RADM Pierre N. Charbonnet, Jr., Commander, Fleet Air Forces Mediterranean, and RADM George L. Cassell, Deputy Commander, Naval Striking and Support Forces Southern Europe, stayed on board overnight.

11–13 Jun 1971: Following a visit to Corfu (3–11 June) the ship steamed in the Ionian Sea to hold flight operations, during which Belgian MGEN Avi I. Du Monceau, commanding their Tactical Air Force, visited the carrier, on the 12th and 13th.

14 Jun 1971: Forrestal entered the western Mediterranean. Cartoonist Henry K. “Hank” Ketchum, a chief photographic specialist during World War II who created the cartoon character Half Hitch, a naval counterpart to the Army’s Sad Sack, and who went on after the war to develop his more popularly known comic protagonist Dennis the Menace, visited the ship at the behest of ADM Zumwalt to interview sailors concerning changes in their service and lifestyles since 1945.

27–30 Jun 1971: Saratoga relieved Forrestal at Rota, and VMAQ-2 crossdecked over to Saratoga. The ship then immediately sailed for home on the same day. While en route to the United States three days later, RADM Donald D. Engen relieved RADM Talley as Commander, Carrier Division 4. Meanwhile on the same day, Forrestal attempted an evolution she hitherto never before completed when she offloaded most of her ordnance to ammunition ships while still returning from deployment, alleviating the need to spend time at the ammunition anchorage and the back-breaking hours that her men would spend after doing so after completing an exhausting deployment and while needing rest and time with their families.

2 Jul 1971: At about 1300 Forrestal rounded Sewell’s Point in Hampton Roads and moored to Pier 12 at Norfolk.

16 Jul 1971–10 Apr 1972: Shortly after noon the ship stood down the channel to offload her remaining ammunition, and then she entered Norfolk Naval Shipyard for an overhaul. Forrestal completed work in drydock (28 August–2 December 1971). Among the many projects which the crew and shipyard workers completed while she remained in drydock, they removed the posts for both rudders to check them for wear, the first time that such work was accomplished since the ship commissioned. She then moored to Pier 5 at the yard, where she remained until 10 April, when ongoing international tensions generated by NATO and Warsaw Pact rivalry over the European balance of power forced her to curtail her work two months earlier than originally scheduled to relieve America, herself ordered to relieve John F. Kennedy, which became overdue to return home.

10 Apr–28 Jun 1972: At various times during this period the ship completed her type training and carrier qualification exercises off the Virginia Capes instead of in Cuban waters, because her accelerated deployment precluded the usual refresher training conducted off Guantánamo Bay. RADM Frederick C. Turner relieved RADM William D. Hauser as Commander, Carrier Division 2, during a ceremony on board, on 18 May. During these trials (16–28 June), the ship also celebrated her first operations with Grumman F-14As when two Tomcats (BuNos 158613 and 158614) completed a number of trials on board Forrestal.

10 Jul–18 Aug 1971: A fire broke out on the 03 Level in Flag Country during the early morning hours. The blaze gutted the flag mess and galley, as well as flag living quarters. Peripheral heat and smoke damage extended considerably after and slightly forward of the main fire area. Firemen from Naval Station Norfolk valiantly backed-up crewmembers who rushed to contain and extinguish the blaze, which they finally controlled by about 1500 during the afternoon watch, however, investigators could not penetrate the heat and smoke adequately for almost two days, so heavily did the blaze engulf the area. Although the ship did not report any casualties, investigators later apprehended and charged YNSN Jeffrey Allison, a yeoman assigned to the staff of Commander, Carrier Division 2, for setting the fire, which gutted spaces, destroyed sophisticated CIC electronics equipment and wiring, and inflicted total damages estimated at $7.5 million. Forrestal steamed under her own power to Norfolk Naval Shipyard for repairs, returning to Pier 12,Norfolk.

29 Sep 1972: Forrestal arrived at Rota during her 10th Mediterranean deployment. Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA)-531, flying F-4B Phantom IIs, relieved VF-74, which transitioned to F-4Js on board Forrestal. The latter squadron deployed with CVW-8 embarking America.

6 Oct 1972: The ship rendezvoused with attack aircraft carrier Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVA-42) at Pollensa Bay. Both carriers conducted cross-decking to transfer flag officers and their staffs as Commander, Carrier Division 6 and his staff left Forrestal to embark in Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Commander, Carrier Division 2/Commander, Task Force 60 embarked in Forrestal.

20 Feb 1972: When Forrestal sailed from Istanbul, Turkey, her first visit to that crossroads of the Orient since 1969, she departed without a pair of marines from VMFA-531, who the Turks detained in Istanbul on charges of possession of drugs. The Turks later returned one of the men to U.S. custody, however, the other man remained in the notorious Turkish prison system.

22 Oct 1972: An Olympic Airways NAMC YS-11 airliner crashed after taking off from Athens International Airport during reduced visibility conditions, off the coast of Voula near Athens. Four SH-3D Sea Kings from HS-3 embarking Forrestal, the only helicopter crews in the immediate area qualified for night rescues, flew to the scene and assisted in the rescue of three crewmembers and 16 passengers, however, 37 people (one crewmember and 36 passengers) died during the crash or by drowning–although the Sea King crews did not locate survivors they recovered one of the bodies. Ironically, throughout this period controversy concerning the homeporting of a Sixth Fleet carrier in Athens manifested itself through adverse publicity by the media, and servicemembers on liberty ashore experienced a number of altercations with Greek taxicab drivers during several visits to Athens, though not during a stop at Thessaloniki. One of the reasons that the situation gradually diffused became the practice by Forrestal crewmembers of renting a civilian nightclub (a closed discothèque) near the fleet landing, which offered sailors and marines a reasonable alternative to civilian establishments, of arranging a direct-dial overseas telephone and of improving shore patrol communications system.

8 Nov 1972: A Sea King crew from HS-3 conducted an anti-submarine exercise with Italian guided missile escort cruiser Andrea Doria (C-553).

12–19 Nov 1972: Forrestal participated in National Week 14, a multi-national NATO exercise involving the Sixth Fleet and a number of countries bordering the Mediterranean designed to improved tactics in modern naval warfare, assist NATO commands in training for operations, and to find weaknesses in concepts and communications. A post exercise brief and general board meeting on board the carrier at Souda Bay at Crete concluded the exercise, on the 18th and 19th. In addition, two Sea King crews from HS-3 detached from the carrier to fast combat support ship Seattle (AOE-3) to fly experimental anti-submarine missions from a “non-aviation ship” during the exercise.

20 Nov 1972: As Forrestal prepared to leave Souda Bay a ground accident interrupted her departure. Crewmembers taxied Helo No. 007, a Sea King (BuNo 156499) from HS-3, to a wash rack in close proximity to a hanger, when suddenly the rotor blades struck the hanger door. Flying pieces of 007’s rotor blades killed two men, including HM1 Richard H. Nadeau of the ship’s company, and seriously injured a third sailor.

21–27 Nov 1972: When the ship visited Athens unfavorable media reaction reached its peak due to another confrontation between a Greek taxicab driver and a pair of sailors from Forrestal. The Greek government prosecuted the sailors, despite the efforts of CAPT James B. Linder to return the men to U.S. jurisdiction. The attention this incident received across European media prompted the rapid enforcement of the policies ashore that the crew developed during this deployment. During subsequent visits, including an extended stay over Christmas and New Years to enable the crew and their dependents to enjoy charter flights to loved ones, the crew succeeded in reducing these liberty incidents.

28–30 Nov 1972: Aircraft conducted two days of cross-deck operations with their British counterparts from aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal (R-09) in the southeastern Mediterranean.

6–10 Dec 1972: The ship visited Rhodes, however, high seas and a strong tidal current in the Bay of Rhodes prevented normal boating, making it possible only for dependents and their sponsors to disembark the carrier. In addition, AN C.E. Roberts of VAQ-135 leapt into the bay on the 8th. Two helo crews from HS-3 conducted an extensive search but could not recover their shipmate due to the extremely heavy seas, high winds and poor visibility.

18 Feb 1973: Beginning on this date Forrestal participated in National Week 15, conducting the post exercise de brief in Augusta Bay.

28–31 Mar 1973: While preparing to take part in NATO exercises, Forrestal received orders directing her to proceed to Tunisian waters at speed to assist victims of a flood in the Medjerda River Valley of that North African country. The carrier led two other Sixth Fleet ships, a destroyer and an amphibious assault ship, toward Tunis, where Forrestal appeared at first light on the 29th (about 13 hours after receiving the request) ready to assist the beleaguered people of the area. Altogether, helo crews flew about 40 sorties, pulling 729 persons from the rapidly rising waters, moving 27 tons of cargo, lifting 17 doctors to evacuation centers, carrying an emergency appendectomy to the carrier, and evacuating the entire sheep herd–227 sheep–from one flooded village. Sea Kings flying from Forrestal evacuated about 200 people and airlifted four tons of relief supplies to flood victims. In addition, the carrier's bakery provided 1,200 loaves of bread for distribution, and crew members contributed money to buy supplies for homeless children. Many of the ship’s air traffic controllers joined men from the Operations and Air Operations Departments as a detachment ashore at Tunis Airfield, where they worked from the control center directing flights. In addition to the danger the men faced due to the bitter weather, they also exercised considerable skills dealing with Tunisians who desired to remain with their homes and livestock, regardless of the rising flood waters or incessant downpours. As the crisis began to subside on the third day, Tunisian President Habib Bourguiba decorated RADM Turner and CAPT Linder for their efforts on behalf of his countrymen. French, Italian, Libyan and Tunisian disaster relief teams also supported the efforts of Sixth Fleet crews.

14 Apr 1973: The ship anchored at Kithira, accompanied by several Soviet ships. Forrestal conducted flight operations while anchored, an unusual evolution that appeared to greatly interest the Russians.

4–14 Jun 1973: The ship participated in Dawn Patrol NATO exercises.

25–27 Jun 1973: Forrestal stood out of Palma de Mallorca, where she put in for a brief visit (16–24 June), and from where her “early bird” charter flight flew off for home, and steamed westerly courses to Rota. After turning over to her relief, she passed through the Strait of Gibraltar and into the Atlantic.

6 Jul 1973: By the time the ship returned to Pier 12 at NS Norfolk, aircraft completed 11,957 recoveries and flew 28,355 total flight hours, accomplishing 13,731 sorties, during this deployment. The carrier steamed underway 148 days, and made port 140 days at anchor.

Aug–2 Nov 1973: The first week of the month found Forrestal in Norfolk Naval Shipyard for a three-month overhaul, during which a major project became replacing the hanger bay sprinkler system and other firefighting equipment with more modern systems. The crisis that erupted in the Middle East due to the Arab attack against the Israelis (known variously as the Yom Kippur, October, Ramadan or Fourth Arab-Israeli War, 6–26 October), precipitated frenzied shipyard activity and crewmembers joined civilan laborers working at what the ship’s Command History Report described as a “feverpitch” for seven days a week for a month. Shipyard workers went into extra shifts and these collective efforts brought Forrestal out of overhaul two months earlier then planned.

26 Nov 1973: Lockheed S-3A Vikings accomplished their first landings on board Forrestal during carrier qualifications as the ship steamed off the Virginia capes. In addition, crewmembers claimed that the ship attained 34-knots during these trials, exceeding her designed speed after years of service and wear.

14 Dec 1973: Tomcats returned to the ship during carrier qualifications on board off the Virginia capes. LCDR Commander Warren B. Christie, Jr., however, ejected from his LTD A-7E when the Corsair II malfunctioned at 22,000 feet. The carrier’s plane guard helo rescued the pilot during his ordeal.

31 Dec 1973–1 Jan 1974: The crew saw the old New Year out and welcomed the new one in with a party in Hanger Bay No. 1, while moored at Pier 12, which many men from ships berthed in company also attended.

7–18 Jan 1974: The ship underwent carrier qualifications off the east coast in preparation for her operational readiness evaluation. Of significance concerns her urgent need to moor at Mayport on the 19th, to investigate Corsair II minor engine problems.

14 Mar 1974: Forrestal relieved Franklin D. Roosevelt in mid-Atlantic waters while en route to the Mediterranean.

20–21 Mar 1974: Forrestal passed through the Strait of Gibraltar and arrived for duty in the Mediterranean, putting into Rota. Extended deployments and long line periods produced a nearly intolerable strain on sailors and marines, fueled by racial tensions endemic throughout the armed forces, and a racial incident flared up on board Forrestal. LTJG Abraham R. Stowe, the ship’s Assistant Electronics Material Officer, recalled that they learned about racial crises on board other ships including attack aircraft carriers Constellation and Kitty Hawk (CVA-63), and then began to experience problems during this deployment. The officer–himself an African American–related how the operations officer announced during an all-officer’s meeting in the operations department that sailors had discovered a burning cross on board. When the men discussed the hateful symbol and how it could insult shipmates, Stowe replied: “…as a black man I’m going to advise this group that when a burning cross is found, a white person might wonder, or possibly construe that as a racial slur. But a black person, there is no question about what the meaning of that is.” Stowe recommended to his chain of command that they approach what he described as a systemic problem and quickly diffuse it, though they (apparently) did not locate the culprits of the hate crime, and he spent most of the remainder of the cruise on “pins and needles.” The crew did not experience any additional problems, however, and Stowe noted that most of his shipmates served proudly, and that they returned to a routine of pride and professionalism as quickly as the men could under the trying circumstances.

22 Mar 1974–5 Jun 1975: RADM Brian McCauley arrived in Cairo, Egypt, with a small military planning staff to clear the Suez Canal of wreckage and unexploded ordnance resulting from fighting between the Arabs and Israelis since 1967 (the Six-Day War, War of Attrition and Yom Kippur or October War), which closed the vital artery to international shipping. Operations Nimbus Star directed Navy minesweeping efforts of the canal; Nimbus Moon (water) focused on training and assisting Egyptian mine clearance and salvage operations, and Nimbus Moon (land) directed Army explosive ordnance disposal teams to train and supervise Egyptians ashore. The British and French also participated in the extensive program. The Navy established contingency Task Force 65 on 8 April 1974, the first teams of which began their crucial work from amphibious assault ship Iwo Jima (LPH-2), initially anchored in Port Said harbor. A Sikorsky RH-53D Sea Stallion from Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron (HM)-12 lifted off from Iwo Jima, picked up a Mk 105 magnetic minesweeping sled from support people ashore, and began sweeping the approaches to Port Said, on the 22nd. Task Force 65 grew proportionately to the magnitude of the problem and tank landing ships Barnstable County (LST-1197) and Boulder (LST-1190), salvage ships Escape (ARS-6) and Opportune (ARS-41) and heavy lift craft Crilley (YHLC-1) and Crandall (YHLC-2) were among vessels that later joined Nimbus Star, and amphibious assault ship Inchon (LPH-12) relieved Iwo Jima in mid-May 1974. Meanwhile, through Operation Nimrod Spar they cleared 10 large ships and a number of smaller vessels such as dredges which the Egyptians scuttled as blockships in 1967. The canal finally reopened to maritime commercial traffic on 5 June 1975. Whenever Forrestal operated in the Mediterranean during this period, her aircraft often received tasking regarding flying reconnaissance, combat air patrol and support missions for Task Force 65.

1 Apr 1974: Forrestal operated in the central Mediterranean to back-up America, which steamed in the eastern Mediterranean to be ready to respond to a Middle East crisis. Israeli and Syrian tanks and artillery dueled and Israeli aircraft bombed Syrian troops along the Golan Heights many times during this tense period.

4 Apr 1974: Helos from HS-3 joined with destroyer Davis (DD-937) to track and make simulated attacks against attack submarine Greenling (SSN-614). The exercises afforded crewmembers the opportunity to evaluate coordinated aircraft tactics.

28 Apr–2 May 1974: Forrestal participated in Dawn Patrol, a two-phase NATO exercise.

11 May–16 Jun 1974: Following a visit to Athens (5–11 May), the ship covertly transited the Mediterranean to take part in Umpire’s Decision (15–27 May), a carrier strike exercise in the eastern Atlantic and western Mediterranean. Passing through the Strait of Gibraltar on the 15th, she conducted what HS-3’s Command History Report emphasized as “special coordinated operations” in the vicinity of the Canary Islands. Aircraft played cat-and-mouse with the men of Tinosa (SSN-606) as they hunted the attack submarine in simulated wartime conditions. An HS-3 helo from the carrier rescued a man overboard from escort ship Patterson (DE-1061) within six minutes after he entered the water, on 30 May. Forrestal passed through the Strait of Gibraltar and returned to the Mediterranean the next day, in time to commence International Week II, a major NATO exercise with four other countries in the western Mediterranean over 4 and 8 June. Forrestal anchored in Soudha Bay on Crete to allow her first group of midshipmen to disembark and a second group to embark, after which she continued on to Corfu for a brief visit (10–16 June). At least once during this period she also operated with America.

17–20 Jun 1974: While the ship participated in Operation Poopdeck, an exercise with the Spaniards, HS-3 crews flew Spanish President Don Carlos A. Navaro, Duke of Calabria, and VADM Daniel J. Murphy, Commander, Sixth Fleet, out to the ship to view the flight operations, on the 19th.

8–9 Jul 1974: An F-4J Phantom II, LT Irwin H. Nelson and LTJG Bruce A. Ridley of VF-74, crashed while conducting operations from Forrestal. Although SH-3D crews from HS-3 searched the area for 40 hours, they failed to locate either of the men. In addition, the harried Sea King crewmembers also assisted a merchant ship afire.

11 Jul 1974: An RA-5C Vigilante (BuNo 156614), LT Wesley N. Rutledge and LTJG Larry S. Parr of RVAH-6, experienced a bomb bay fire that caused a loss of hydraulics, about four minutes after launching from Forrestal. A helo from HS-3 rescued both men after they ejected.

15 Jul–2 Sep 1974: Greek Cypriot National Guardsmen and their officers from the Greek Army seized control of the government of Cyprus. The Americans held America at Rota (the Navy originally scheduled her to return to Norfolk) and Forrestal (initially anticipating a visit to Athens, Greece) in the central Med due to the rapidly deteriorating situation on the island. By the 19th Forrestal steamed southwest of Crete, about a day’s sail from Cypriot waters. The next day Turkish troops began landing at the Kyrenia area of northern Cyprus and their paratroopers stormed down near Nicosia. Fighting continued between rival Greeks, Turks and Cypriots–some of whom supported the Greeks and some fought with the Turks–until they agreed upon a cease fire which took effect at 1700 on 22 July (though violations occurred afterward). The Turks halted their offensive as they took control of the northern third of the island, digging-in along their ‘Atilla Line’ extending from Lefka on the west through Nicosia to Famagusta on the east. Meanwhile on 20 July, a helo flying from Forrestal spotted Douce Folie 2, a small yacht crippled by a recent storm and adrift. The crew suffered in dire straights without fresh water and the helo crew dropped the survivors a container of cold water alongside, which they eagerly retrieved. Through that day and into the next helo crews also participated in a 30-hour search for a downed Sea Stallion flying from Inchon. In addition, the next day the busy SH-3D men of HS-3 also retrieved a man who fell overboard from the carrier. As a result of the Cypriot conflict United States Ambassador Roger Davies requested the evacuation of Americans trapped by the fighting, on the 22nd. Vice Admiral Murphy broke his flag from guided missile light cruiser Little Rock (CLG-4), from which he directed sailors and marines from Task Force 61 for Operation Patience, the U.S. response. People journeyed from the capital of Nicosia to a British installation at Dhekelia in a convoy of private vehicles, where helos from Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron (HMM)-362 operating from Inchon evacuated 466 persons, 384 of them United States citizens, in 22 sorties over only five hours, to amphibious transport dock Coronado (LPD-11) steaming offshore. Coronado carried the evacuees to Beirut, Lebanon, in an 11-hour transit, disembarking her passengers there the next day. Amphibious transport dock Trenton (LPD-14), dock landing ship Spiegel Grove (LSD-32) and tank landing ship Saginaw (LST-1188) also participated in the evacuations. Aircraft flying from Forrestal including Phantoms of VF-11 and VF-74 covered the dangerous operation. Meanwhile, British helos from a task force including aircraft carrier HMS Hermes (R-12), destroyer HMS Devonshire (D-02), frigates HMS Brighton (F-106) and HMS Ryl (F-129) and a tanker and a supply ship rescued at least 1,630 people from beaches around Kyrenia and along the northern coast of the island. British Royal Air Force (RAF) Hercules’ and additional aircraft also flew people out from King’s Field. Hermes carried 219 people–114 Americans and the balance foreign nationals from 19 countries–to a British field at Akrotiri. From there landing craft transferred the people in a little over four hours to Trenton as she anchored offshore. Trenton then moved to a point south of Dhekelia where British helos from Hermes lifted an additional 85 evacuees to her. Accompanied by escort ship Blakely (DE-1072) she then made for Beirut, where the ship offloaded her passengers the next day, on the 25th. Forrestal steamed to the south of Cyprus with guided missile frigate William H. Standley (DLG-31) and escort ships Jesse L. Brown (DE-1098) and Patterson (DE-1061), monitoring the situation as the firmness of the cease-fire remained in doubt among observers. Aircraft carrier Independence, which sailed with CVW-7 from the east coast on the 19th, arrived off the southwest of Crete after a hurried transit to support Forrestal, on 4 August. The ships subsequently came about to depart from the area, however, during mob rioting a sniper shot and killed Ambassador Davies in Nicosia on 19 August. Marines stood to at the embassy to hold back the angry crush and urgent messages recalled Sixth Fleet ships including Forrestal, Independence and Inchon, which returned from their duties across the Mediterranean to again operate off the embattled island. Among some of the ships that participated in these operations were: Independence, Inchon, Coronado, Trenton, Saginaw, Spiegel Grove, guided missile frigates Dahlgren (DLG-12) and William H. Standley, destroyer Richard E. Kraus (DD-849) and escort ships Blakely, Bowen (DE-1079), Jesse L. Brown and Patterson. Altogether, the Americans handled 752 evacuees including 498 United States citizens. The Turkish invasion forced Archbishop Makarios to escape from the island to seek international support during the crisis, and he could not return to resume his obligations until 7 December 1974.

9 Sep 1974: Tropical Storm Elaine threatened to overtake Forrestal and her escorts with winds reaching 70 mph as they returned home across the Atlantic, beginning about 1,000 miles southeast of Norfolk. The ship also rendezvoused with America, which allowed VAW-126 to cross-deck over to the latter during a potentially dangerous evolution.

10 Sep 1974: A boiler explosion ripped through tanker Eliane of Global Bulk Carriers, Inc., of Liberian registry. Forrestal responded to her distress and evacuated two crewmembers to Sick Bay, and sailors took them from there on to the mainland. One man died from his horrendous burns, though the other survived his ordeal. Some crewmembers noted the similarities between the names of the storm and ship.

11 Sep 1974: Forrestal returned from her deployment to Pier 12 at Norfolk. Aircraft completed 8,750 sorties, 16,906 flight hours and 8,121 traps during the deployment.

5–16 Mar 1975: En route to the Mediterranean, Forrestal received a call for assistance from Liberian freighter Freights Queen, which suffered a catastrophic explosion. Searchers discovered one body, a life raft and some debris. During this deployment four EA-6B Prowlers of VAQ-134 also embarked with CVW-17, an important reorganization of the wing.

17 Mar–16 May 1975: The ship relieved Saratoga at Rota on the 17th. Forrestal barely arrived in the Mediterranean, however, when her No. 1 shaft support bearing failed, requiring a hitherto unprecedented decision to bring shipyard workers all the way from Norfolk to replace the bearing and worn shaft while continuing her operations underway. Arrangements and planning took time, and the carrier stopped briefly at Augusta Bay before she anchored at Taranto for a few days to enable workers and crewmembers to bring her back to full duty, on 16 May. In the interim, Forrestal took part in Shabaz 75.

22 May 1975: Forrestal sailed from Taranto and conducted a joint ship attack exercise with Franklin D. Roosevelt. Aircraft flew low level navigation over Sicily and southern Italy during the exercise.

25–28 Jun 1975: Forrestal stood out of Palma de Mallorca for flight operations in the western Mediterranean. Shortly before nightfall on the 25th, Buckeye 511, an A-6E (BuNo 152918), LTJGs Lloyd T. Hunt and Brian L. Cardiff of VA-85, collided in mid-air with Aircraft No. 611, a Grumman EA-6B (BuNo 158814), LCDR Joseph R. Capute, LT William B. Bierbower and LTJG Robert W. McConchie from VAQ-134. Although the crew enjoyed a mostly clear evening, lookouts reported some haze. The aircraft launched by 1855 but flew separate missions–the Prowler crew investigated a shipping contact during their submarine and surface surveillance coordination plan, and the Intruder flew spar bombing and ‘basic airwork practice.’ As the two aircraft completed their runs and returned to Marshal (Forrestal), they turned into a 30° left bank turn toward the inbound heading and slammed into each other, near 38°40’N, 4°30’E, at 2001. Buckeye 511 rolled three to five times to the left and 611 pitched down and rolled left, at which point the crew ejected. Although searchers rescued the other men they could not recover LTJG Cardiff, and despite an exhaustive search overnight they terminated further efforts and declared the naval aviator “lost at sea” at 1740 on the 26th. The crew held a memorial service for their fallen shipmate two days later as the ship transited the Strait of Messina.

2–18 Jul 1975: Following a visit to Naples (2–6 July) the carrier spent a week operating in Mediterranean waters before she anchored off Bari, Italy, for a four-day visit, and then she moved on to Augusta Bay. While Forrestal anchored briefly there (17–18 July), Commander, Task Force 60 shifted his flag to John F. Kennedy, and Commander, Cruiser Destroyer Group 12 broke his flag from Forrestal.

26 Jul–16 Aug 1975: Forrestal extended a stay in Naples (26 July–7 August) as her arrival coincided with Settima Aeromotonautica week, a series of celebrations which the Neapolitans set aside within the Bay of Naples area involving water and motor sports. The ship then participated in National Week exercises with John F. Kennedy. An Intruder experienced a mishap on the 10th, however, both men escaped without serious injuries. A highlight of National Week became a strike force tactics exercise with John F. Kennedy on the 13th.

17 Aug 1975: Another A-6E suffered an accident, though both men escaped.

31 Aug 1975: Aircraft took part in a close air assault exercise over southern Sardinia.

12–13 Sep 1975: Forrestal arrived at Rota, put in for 12-hours and then sailed for home.

22 Sep 1975: By the time Forrestal returned to Pier 12 at Norfolk, aircraft flew 13,433 sorties and 24,946 flight hours and made 12,321 recoveries during the deployment.

27 Oct 1975–1 Feb 1976: The carrier completed a selective restricted availability at Norfolk Naval Shipyard. She spent several days anchored offloading ammunition (27–30 October) and the remainder of the time in the yard.