“When Last We Saw Our Heroine”

…or “Sink Her Already, Part IV“. I’m referring to (of course) the Oriskany. Again.

Why is she in the news again? Check your wallets, people.

This time last year, Navy officials had hoped to scuttle the aircraft carrier Oriskany 22½ miles southeast of Pensacola Pass as the world’s largest artificial reef project.
Congress had committed $2.8 million to turn the 888-foot flattop used in the Korean and Vietnam wars into an international fishing and diving destination, the pilot project for a new program to cheaply dispose of decommissioned vessels to the benefit of coastal communities throughout the country.
Twelve months later, the Navy has spent $12.73 million, more than 4½ times the original budget. The bill is growing, and there still are no guarantees the costly efforts will come to fruition.

As one sage local points out:

“With all the money we’ve sunk into this thing, we probably could have built three replicas out of clean steel. It might be funny if there weren’t so much money involved.”

While Admiral Fetterman, the mover and shaker behind all things Bangla-cola…

said he has pleaded with officials for months to “just sink the thing and be done with it.”


A beautiful sentiment. If they can’t manage that, let’s go with an adjustment of Bingley’s original suggestion. Retro-fit this floating city for low cost housing ~ for Katrina evacuees. They’ve got docks in New Orleans, so you only have to tow it a third as far. The folks get a safe, temporary roof over their heads, a deck for community dances/parties but they’re home. FEMA’s spent all that money on ice, the Navy’s dumped all that cash into this scow ~ let’s make it work for everyone’s benefit. I mean, dang, that’s no wackier than “a complex theoretical computer simulation called a prospective risk assessment model that would gauge the impact of PCBs and other toxins on the environment…So far, the model has cost $3.25 million and has yet to be approved.” I mean, is it? Whatever. We’re sick of the damn thing.

Locally, enthusiasm for what promises to be a world-class addition to Pensacola’s tourist attractions has soured.
“I really don’t have any clue why this group of environmentalists working for the government went completely nuts,” said Edwin Roberts Jr., a Pensacola chiropractor and past president of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, who helped Florida win the bid for the Oriskany.
“I’m completely at a loss. There have been big ships sunk all over the world and there’s never been a recorded problem. It is good to be sure that we’re not doing any harm to the environment with a program like this, but I think we’ve gone way beyond that.
“We’ve overdone the due diligence. I think we’ve stomped on a dead horse too many times.”

What the man said.


“The Road to Hell is Paved With Good Intentions, So SINK HER Already!” archive.

7 Responses to ““When Last We Saw Our Heroine””

  1. The Real JeffS says:

    Maybe someone can “accidentally” weld the “…group of environmentalists working for the government…” into a compartment somewhere near the keel. In the ensuing silence, the carrier can be sunk, and the environmentalists are one with the environment. Everyone is happy, even the fish.
    What? What did I say? ;-P

  2. John says:

    “a complex theoretical computer simulation called a prospective risk assessment model that would gauge the impact of PCBs and other toxins on the environment…So far, the model has cost $3.25 million and has yet to be approved.”
    I think it should read “has yet to be validated. There’s an acronym to cover crap like this: GIGO. I fell out of love with computer simulations a long time ago in an argument over curve fitting in spectroscopy. Like they tell you in Differential Equations 101 – the key to solving a problem is in picking the boundary conditions. If there is no logical and consistent way to pick those conditions for the model, then someone with a politcal bent can change the assumptions to prove whatever they want. That’s not science, that’s mathematical masturbation.
    The proof that the project is safe is in the other ships that have been sunk.
    “Theory guides, experiment decides.” – I.M. Kolthoff

  3. That would be a great ‘Davy Jones’ Locker’ angle, wouldn’t it, JeffS? One more reason to go see the ship! Woo hoo ~ there’s knocking in the hold!
    that’s mathematical masturbation
    ::spitscoffee::
    I wish there was a way to send your analysis to the paper, John. {8^P

  4. Read the (Newsjournal) book.
    Awaiting the DVD with interest!
    Hoping to buy the Tee-shirt!
    I actually saw the Oriskany in Hong Kong harbour many years ago. We were a British cargo ship on a regular run Far-East to South Africa, and to see that majestic carrier slowly edge in, surrounded by her destroyer escort was quite a sight!
    Hope the old girl understands that she is in the hands of humans, who are fallible!

  5. Oh, Mike, I seethe with jealousy!! That had to be an incredible sight! I hope she realizes they’re trying to do the best for her, too. For all the money spent, it’s still a far better fate for her than being sold for scrap.
    The two times we’ve had a carrier come in through Pensacola Pass, I’ve been out at the NAS beach by about 0630 so as not to miss a thing. There’s nothing quite like them, especially the vaunted Grey Ladies like Oriskany, Lexington and the Midway. The names alone give me chills.

  6. Tainted Bill says:

    The way the old lady is being treated is a crying shame. Sink her and get it over with.

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