Launched in 1945, she was submerged in 2006 to make an artificial reef

USS Oriskany: Diving the wreck of a huge aircraft carrier that was sunk near Florida

During World War II, the US began construction of 24 large Essex-class aircraft carriers, 266 meters long and 28 meters wide.

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Four of those carriers were launched after the end of the war. One of them was the USS Oriskany (CV-34), laid down on May 1, 1944 and launched on October 13, 1945. It was a longer version than the rest of the Essex class, 276 meters long and 39 meters wide, which is why ships like this are also known as the Ticonderoga class. After the end of hostilities, the US had far more ships than it needed, so construction of the USS Oriskany was discontinued in August 1946.

The USS Oriskany being towed to Bremerton, Washington, on October 10, 1976, after being withdrawn from service (Photo: US Navy / Naval History and Heritage Command).

A year later, construction of this ship resumed, but it was redesigned as one of the first aircraft carriers with an oblique runway, a British invention so that planes could take off and land simultaneously on this type of ships After the construction of her and her sea trials were completed, USS Oriskany was assigned to the US Navy on September 25, 1950, just two months after the start of the Korean War. The ship joined the military operations in that area two years later, receiving two Battle Stars for her participation in that war.

In 1965, the USS Oriskany was one of the first aircraft carriers deployed by the US in the Vietnam War, responding to the request for help from the South Vietnamese government in the face of the invasion undertaken by North Vietnamese forces. In that war the USS Oriskany would get ten Battle Stars. On October 26, 1966, the ship suffered a serious fire on board that crossed up to five decks of the ship. In that incident 44 men died, most of them naval aviators who had carried out combat missions in Vietnam only a few hours before the fire. The ship had to undergo several months of repairs.

The sinking of the USS Oriskany on May 17, 2006 (Photo: AFP).

USS Oriskany was withdrawn from service on September 30, 1976, just five days after her 26th year in service. After becoming president of the United States, Ronald Reagan wanted to reactivate it, but Congress opposed it, because the ship was already obsolete. The ship she spent 19 years moored in Bremerton, Washington , until in 1995 she was sold for scrapping, being towed to Vallejo, California. In 1997 the contract for her scrapping was cancelled, and the following year the ship appeared in the film "What Dreams May Come" starring Robin Williams. In 1999 she was towed to Beaumont, Texas.

Finally, on May 17, 2006, it was sunk with charges of C-4 military explosives, to form an artificial reef. Its wreck rests at a depth of 41 meters, having become a place frequented by many divers. You can see here a video of Pensacola Dive Report showing a dive to that ship:

You can see below some captures of the video. Here we see the port part of the ship's hull.

The gangway located on the port side of the flight deck. The large number of fish that frequent this ship is striking.

The island of the aircraft carrier. It was the place where the command bridge was and from where the air operations were directed.

A picture of the flight deck, now full of holes.

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