16 February 2015

USS Ranger set for scrapping, Navy says

Time is running out for a local group that hoped to bring the famed aircraft carrier USS Ranger to the city’s waterfront as a floating museum.

The 1,046-foot-long ship is scheduled to be towed from Bremerton, Wash., in early March for scrapping in Texas after the tow company finalized its plans, according to Chris Johnson of the Naval Sea Systems Command.

The 16,000-mile journey will take the Ranger, featured in the movie “Top Gun,” around Cape Horn in South America to Brownsville.

International Shipbreaking Limited has been contracted to scrap the carrier at a contract price of a penny. The company’s profit comes from the sale of the ship’s materials. Crosby Tugs LLC of Golden Meadow, La., will tow the carrier that weighed more than 81,000 tons arrayed for battle.

There were several efforts to save the Ranger since it was offered to the public for donation 10 years ago. The nonprofit USS Ranger Museum Foundation briefly considered Long Beach as a potential berthing site and sent letters to the Port of Long Beach and then-Mayor Beverly O’Neill.

Another attempt late last year by local group Top Gun Super Carrier of Long Beach came too late for the Navy, which was no longer making the aircraft carrier available for donation because no state, municipality or nonprofit organization advanced a viable plan to preserve the ship. More than 6,000 signed a change.org petition in support of the local effort to save the Ranger from the breaking yard.

Despite the finality the Navy uses when speaking about the Ranger, some members of the group aren’t giving up.

Long Beach resident Robert Harmon, a surgical technician aboard the Ranger during the Gulf War, said they will continue to fight until the end.

“It’s not over until the ship is getting cut up,” Harmon said.

Commissioned in 1957, the Forrestal-class USS Ranger earned 13 battle stars in Vietnam and operated primarily in the Pacific before it was taken out of service in 1993.

Source: press telegram. 12 February 2015

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