USS Enterprise disaster remembered





NORFOLK, Va. -- On Saturday, a legendary naval veteran will retire after a half-century of service. The USS Enterprise was the world's first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and traveled the world in war and in peace.

In five decades as one of the most powerful warships on the sea, the USS Enterprise's moment of greatest peril came one morning in 1969 during a final battle drill before heading to Vietnam....

"On each F-4 Phantom, there were eight five-inch rockets and six 500-pound bombs," says [Michael] Carlin, the author of TRIAL: Ordeal of the USS Enterprise 14 January, 1969.

The exhaust from a service vehicle overheated the fuse on one of those rockets, touching off what one sailor called "the vortex of hell" -- and all of it was recorded in silent horror by a deck camera.




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