US Navy’s Historic Aircraft Carrier To Be Dismantled

The US Navy awarded a contract, Dec. 22, for the towing and dismantling of the decommissioned aircraft carrier Ranger (CV 61) to International Shipbreaking, Ltd.

Under the contract, the company will be paid $0.01, a price that reflects the net price proposed by International Shipbreaking, Inc., which considered the estimated proceeds from the sale of the scrap metal to be generated from dismantling.

This is not a sales contract, it is a procurement contract; $0.01 is the lowest price the Navy could possibly have paid the contractor for towing and dismantling the ship.

The ship will be towed from the Navy’s inactive ships maintenance facility in Bremerton, Washington, to International Shipbreaking, Ltd.’s ship dismantling facility in Brownsville, Texas, for complete dismantling and recycling.

Aircraft Carrier
Image for representation purpose only

The ship is expected to depart Bremerton via tow in January or February, and arrive in Brownsville after four to five months. The ship is too large for passage through the Panama Canal and must be towed around South America.

Ranger was the third Forrestal-class aircraft carrier to be built. The ship was laid down Aug. 2, 1954, by Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co., Newport News, Virginia, and commissioned at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Aug. 10, 1957. Ranger was the only ship of the Forrestal class to spend its entire career in the Pacific. The ship made a total of 22 Western Pacific deployments, was an active participant in the Vietnam War, and was the only West Coast-based carrier to deploy in support of Operation Desert Storm.

Ranger was decommissioned July 10, 1993, after more than 35 years of service. It served as a retention asset for potential future reactivation until stricken from the Naval Vessel Register, March 8, 2004, and redesigned for donation. After eight years on donation hold, the USS Ranger Foundation was unable to raise the necessary funds to convert the ship into a museum or to overcome the physical obstacles of transporting her up the Columbia River to Fairview, Oregon. As a result, Ranger was removed from the list of ships available for dismantling and designated for dismantling.

While there are many veterans with strong desires that the Navy not scrap the ship they served on, there were no states, municipalities or nonprofit organizations with a viable plan seeking to save the ship. The Navy cannot donate a vessel unless the application fully meets the Navy’s minimum requirements for donation, and cannot retain inactive ships indefinitely.


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  1. My ex husband was based on this ship the 4 years that he was in the navy.He was with her in Bremerton and then was transferred down to Coronado.I spent some time on it too,twice,during ‘dependant’ cruises

  2. I served aboard her from 1980 to 1984. Even though we spent a lot of time in the Indian Ocean, Ranger took me to places I had only dreamed about and My view and understanding of the world was formed during those years. I was proud to be a part of Battle Group Echo and proud of the most powerful peace keeping force the world had ever seen. God Bless Ranger and all who served aboard her and God Bless America.

  3. It’s really a shame enough money wasn’t collected to save this great historical ship and save it for future generations to come.
    This was not very well advertised, I’d never heard a thing about this or I would have donated a good chunk of change. I know a lot of people would have donated if they had known about it.
    Such a waste.

  4. My first ship, deployed April 1982 with VS-21. Was hoping she would end up somewhere as a museum. Such a shame to see our carriers sold off as scrap. So many memories…

  5. Proudly served on USS RANGER (CVA-61) as photo mate during early 1960s during Vietnam conflict.

  6. I was stationed at NAS Whidbey Island, Washington with Attack Squadron VA145 Swordsmen and we were assigned to the USS “Danger” Ranger out of San Diego. I loved spending time aboard that ship and have many fond memories. So sad to hear it being sold for scrap and not turned into a museum.

  7. .
    The federal government could have contributed the relatively small sum needed to make her a museum – and it would have been an appropriate tribute to those who served on her.

  8. I visited the Ranger way back in 1971 while I was a student at the Combat Systems Technical Schools Command at Mare Island in Vallejo, CA. She was in the yards at Hunter’s Point for overhaul and a bunch of us drove down to tour her NTDS suite. I had only visited one other ship before then, the USS Sanctuary, which had come to Mare Island for mothballing straight from Vietnam. The Ranger was HUGE, and I decided then and there I would prefer a tin can or cruiser for my sea duty. Bird farms are best observed from a distance. I prefer knowing most of my shipmates rather than serving in a floating city. Even so, she was very impressive.

  9. no don’t let this happen–what ships will be next?? My dad was on the UUS Lexington. When will they dismantle it???? Please do not let this happen–if we would have known about the donations that were being taken we would have donated. These ships are such a part of our country and what was fought for.
    They have history beyond belief.

  10. the Ranger was NOT the only West Coast based carrier in Desert Storm. The USS Nimitz was Washington based out of Bremerton during Desert Storm. Clearly we were deployed in Desert Storm also, as I was on that ship.

  11. I was with VA-165 on board the USS Ranger for the 83/84 westpac, we did 121 days straight in the Indian Ocean.

  12. I served on an Ammunition Ship in Vietnam 1965-1966, and remember vividly being called out to the South China Sea for our ship to re-arm the USS RANGER for an air strike. A real classic of the Carrier’s of the 60’s.

  13. Went aboard ranger in Norfolk to visit a friend in the 50s. Shortly after was ships company on cva62 independence when it left brklyn navy yard.v2 div. Left during the med cruise in ’61.

  14. I served on her from October 82 to July 86. S-2 & S-5 divisions. Became a shellback and even helped to fight the fire that broke out in her 4Main machinery space. Loosing everyone in it while transiting the Indian Ocean. RIP shipmates…More good memories than bad though I do have and hate to see her scrapped but Davy Jones locker shouldn’t be getting her.

  15. If they sold pieces of her, they could make enough money to build another one. Tom Cruise would even buy a piece

  16. As a ex Navy person I can say that I feel the loss of the past crew members. I am very fortunate that I can travel 8 hours away and re-walk the passage ways and compartments of my USS Little Rock now located in Buffalo, NY. Keep those memories alive shipmates, and the Ranger will live on forever.

  17. Was aboard USS Ranger in 1963-64 for WestPac cruises, deployed with Fighter Squadron 194 out of NAS Miramar. Wonderful ship, lots of memories….sorry to see history go down the tube like that….totally unnecessary.

  18. It is always a nostalgic point that every sailor is attached to his ship, rather the crew on the ship. The question, rather than just save the history which would be a continuing expense, how could ships like the USS RANGER be used for their electric generating capability or offshore housing for criminals and incurable diseases?


  19. Sad to see they couldn’t manage to save her. I’m in Seattle, I will have to make the trip to Bremerton before they tow her away. All of us who served aboard her, air wing and ship’s personnel alike, know what a proud and special ship she was.

    Rangermen Remember, Top Gun, Bar None.

  20. I was on Ranger in 72-73 flying the A-3. She was and all be a great ship. I remember the break aways after along side refuel and re supplies. The music player during the break away was 2 William Tell Overature. It’s really a shame that she can’t be parked somewhere as a museum.

  21. It is a shame that they are scrapping such a historical ship. I severed on board the sl USS RANGER from 1983 to 1986 in the disbursing office. I wish I would have known about donating money to save her. I have a lot of memories on board the ship.

  22. I just want to say thank you to each of you who posted. I am thankful for your service to our country and I agree having it as a museum would be amazing… I was honored to be able to play on the deck of the battleship Memorial in Wilmington, NC with our community concert band on 4th of July… We are so blessed to be Americans. My brother served as the Chief Ordinance Officer on the George Harrison Bush before he retired. Those ships are amazing…. As well as those who lived life on them!!!

  23. was excited to hear that the ranger was going to be a museum, i helped on the ” lst 425 museum ”
    i was sorry to hear that the decision was reversed, i was on her from 1972 through 1975 i was in v-2 division. lots of memories.

  24. Shipmates: The bottom line wasn’t particularly the money – turns out a bridge on the Columbia River everyone thought the ship could clear wasn’t tall enough – even at any mean low water measurement. There is no way to raise the bridge or otherwise get the ship upriver of it, and that was the primary deal-killer. RANGER requires a minimum 1000 feet pier space – a LOT of space for any waterfront city to give up to essentially, non-productive space. Word is the carrier at NAS Alameda is basically on life support, not raising enough funds from tourism to keep it as a viable asset. More than the money, what’s needed is a city to step up and say they want her…….that’s what everyone needs to be working on…..

  25. I served 80-83 aboard Ranger CV-61 two WesPacs. Proud to have served on her and Proud to have served our Country..

  26. I served 89-93 weapons dept. G-3 1st west pac G-1 second west pac she was a great ship big big part of my life – I sat at night on flight deck behind island on bomb farm watch middle of Pacific looking at sky water rushing by all seemed so peaceful will always treasure those memories we were awarded black W best weapons dept in Persian gulf liberation of Kuwait

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