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Forrestal (CVA-59)

Please see below for item level images and donated collections containing photographs of USS Forrestal (CVA-59/CV-59)

USS Forrestal (CVA-59) was laid down on 14 June 1952 at Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company at Newport News , Virginia; launched on 11 December 1954; sponsored by Josephine Forrestal, widow of Secretary Forrestal; and commissioned at Norfolk Naval Shipyard at Portsmouth, Virginia, on 1 October 1955. 

From her home port, Naval Station Norfolk, VA, USS Forrestal (CVA-59) spent the first year of service in intensive training operations off the Virginia Capes and in the Carribean. An important assignment was training aviators in the use of her advanced facilities. During this time she often operated out of Naval Station Mayport, Florida. On 7 November 1956, she put to sea from Mayport to operate in the eastern Atlantic during the Suez Crisis, ready to enter the Meditteranean Sea should it be necessary. USS Forrestal (CVA-59) returned to Norfolk on 12 December to prepare for her first deployment with the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean, for which she sailed on 15 January 1957.

During the Lebanon Crisis of summer 1958, USS Forrestal (CVA-59) was again called upon to operate in the eastern Atlantic to back up naval operations in the Mediterranean. She sailed from Norfolk on 11 July to embark an air group at Mayport two days later, then patrolled the Atlantic until returning to Norfolk on 17 July. USS Forrestal (CVA-59) was deployed to Mediterranean waters four times between 1968 and 1973. She also sped to Tunisia for rescue operations in the flooded Medjerda River Valley near Tunis. USS Forrestal (CVA-59) logged three more Mediterranean deployments between 1973 and 1975. On 22 July 1974, as a result of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, the U.S. Ambassador to Cyprus Roger Davies requested the evacuation of U.S. citizens from that island nation. In a joint Navy-Marine Corps effort, HMM-162 from the 6th Fleet amphibious assault ship, USS Inchon evacuated 466 people, 384 of them U.S. citizens, in only five hours. USS Forrestal (CVA-59) provided air cover for that operation.

On 30 June 1975, USS Forrestal (CVA-59) was reclassified a "Multi-purpose Aircraft Carrier", CV-59. On 2 March 1981, USS Forrestal (CV-59) began her 17th Mediterranean deployment and second quarter century of naval service. During the Syria/Israel missile crisis, USS Forrestal (CV-59) maintained a high state of readiness for 53 consecutive days at sea. The final two months of 1989 proved exciting. Beyond the "routine" exercises and training initiatives, USS Forrestal (CV-59)'s crew became part of history, as they provided support to President George H.W. Bush during his Malta Summit. The support included a three-hour Presidential visit to the ship. USS Forrestal (CV-59) participated in numerous exercises during this deployment including Harmonie Sud, Tunisian Amphibious and National Week . She returned to Mayport on 12 April 1990, ending a deployment which had included nine port visits in seven different countries. in May, 1992. USS Forrestal (CV-59) arrived in Philadelphia on 14 September 1992 to begin a 14-month, $157 million complex overhaul prior to assuming duties as a training carrier. In early 1994, however, the Navy decided to decommission USS Forrestal (CV-59) and leave the Navy without a dedicated training carrier.

For a complete history of USS Forrestal (CVA-59/CV-59) please see its DANFS page.