‘Top Gun’ Aircraft Carrier Scrapped for a Penny

Top Gun

The USS Ranger aircraft carry, famous for launching Tom Cruise and Anthony Edwards into the air in the movie Top Gun, is about to be scrapped, for a penny. The Washington Times is reporting that officials were hoping to turn the floating city into a museum, permanently docking it in the Pacific Northwest, but now it is on its way to the scrap yard.

For the past eight years the famous Top Gun aircraft carrier has been docked at Navel Air Station Kitsap in Bremerton, Washington. It stayed here while officials attempted to secure the funds needed to convert the ship into a floating museum. With no funds, the Navy has paid International Shipbreaking one penny to dispose of the floating runway.

If the funds would have been raised, the Ranger would have been docked on the shores of the Columbia River, between Washington State and Oregon and converted like the USS Intrepid was in New York City. However, U.S. Navy spokesman Chris Johnson stated that, “it just wasn’t in the cards.”

The USS Ranger’s Top Gun days are over and in early 2015 the carrier will begin its final voyage to Texas to be scrapped for just a penny. According to Fox News, it would have cost nearly $35 million to convert the ship into a museum, but the fund raising to do the conversion was only able to raise $100,000.

Besides appearing in the Top Gun, the ship has an impressive acting resume behind it. Appearing in various television shows and movies, some of its most famous roles came in The Six Million Dollar Man, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, and Flight of the Intruder. The ship was put into commission in 1957 and was stationed in the Pacific its entire career. It did head to the Middle East during Desert Storm, but was already a highly decorated battle hero prior to that. The carrier earned 13 battle stars in Vietnam.

Pioneer News reports that the Ranger is one of four Forestall-class carriers, weighing in at 66,000-tons. It was one of the first aircraft carriers to be called a supercarrier. Now it is preparing for its final journey to Brownsville, Texas to be ripped apart and salvaged for scrap.

Unfortunately, the Ranger is on the Pacific side and the facility that will do the scrapping is in the Gulf of Mexico. The Ranger is too big to go through the Panama Canal and will instead have to make the long voyage around the tip of South America. This final voyage is expected to take close to five months.

While this is possibly the most famous, at least in Hollywood, supercarrier, it is not the first to be scrapped. In recent years, the USS Forrestal, USS Constellation, and the USS Saratoga join the Ranger in part of a five-year Navy scrapping plan. Now, the Top Gun carrier, will take to the seas one last time, on its way to the scrap yard for just a penny. What a way for a war hero and movies star to end its life and career.

By Carl Auer

Sources:
Fox News
Pioneer News
The Washington Times
Photo by Bill Larkins – Flickr License

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