July 29, 1967
Crew members fight
a series of fires and explosions on
the carrier's after flight deck, Photo is linked
in the Gulf of Tonkin, 29 July 1967. The
conflagration took place as heavily-armed and fueled aircraft
prepared for combat missions over North Vietnam. Official U.S. Navy
tragic fire began with the accidental launching of a Zuni rocket from a
F-4B Phantom aircraft.
This rocket launch was not the result of error on the part of the crew.
The rocket streaked across the flight
deck and struck the external fuel tank of an A-4E Skyhawk
aircraft, spilling volatile aviation fuel across
the flight deck. Within five seconds the fuel ignited,
spreading under other aircraft loaded with ordnance
and fueled for the second launch of that morning.
Huge clouds of black smoke billowed three hundred feet into the air.
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