USS America Probably Sunk Terrorist Plot
CV-66, or USS America was intentionally sunk as planned one week ago as a result of 25 days of explosive studies. The Navy had said in March that explosive testing of her hull would provide valuable data on survivability and damage control systems for the CVN-21 carrier program now in development. It was the largest ship deliberately sunk by the Navy. An AP report picked up by the Las Vegas SUN late yesterday gives the hulks location as 60 miles off the North Carolina coast in more than 6,000 feet of water. Since its decommissioning in 1996, the America had been moored with dozens of other inactive warships at a Navy yard in Philadelphia.
USS America, known to many as CVA-66, was an 84,000-ton, 1,048-foot carrier that had served the Navy for 32 years. This was the largest, retired warship the Navy has ever sunk, and plans to sink the America caused considerable anger and controversy. She had received 5 battle stars during Viet Nam and participated spectacularly at times in the 1986 conflict with Libya, the first Gulf War, and over Bosnia-Herzegovina in the mid-1990s. Her DANFS ships history is here.
"Not a day goes by that I don't think about it," said Lee McNulty, president of the USS America Foundation, which wanted to turn the ship into a museum. "Of all the carriers, that one should have been saved, just for the name America." The Navy Times, which reported the sinking 3 days ago, spoke to Tom Tramantano, president of the USS America Carrier Veterans Association Inc., a group that had been trying to save the carrier and turn it into a museum, called it a “sad day.” Tramantano said the group will now focus its efforts toward getting the next class of carriers named after the America.
Another reason for the sinking: USS America by virtue of her symbolic name alone was a prime terrorist target. The Navy's purposeful sinking of the vessel, in addition to providing invaluable data for carrier design improvements, DENIED A TARGET OF OPPORTUNITY TO THE TERRORIST MENACE. Ongoing US security costs - zilch. Terrorist costs - substantial: what to do with the Philadelphia cell, now breached, and how long to find and plan to attack as suitable a replacement target? To radical islamist exteremists, America sings the "Submariners' hymn."