SEATTLE, Aug. 4, 2009
--Forty years ago the accidental explosion of a rocket on a F-4 Phantom II jet fighter parked on the deck of the U. S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Enterprise set off fires and additional explosions across the ship. The January 14, 1969 calamity 75 miles from Pearl Harbor resulted in 28 deaths and 343 people injured. A panel of survivors of this disaster will be at the Museum on Saturday, August 15 at 2 p.m. to reminisce about the heroic actions on that day. The presentation includes rare photographs of the event and its aftermath. The panel will be moderated by Mike Neville, who was an Airman Apprentice of VA-146, Navy Attack Squadron 146. Crewmembers from the ship's flight deck and bridge will be joining Neville on the panel, including Michael Joe Carlin, an Airman on the deck who has written a book on the subject, "Trial: Ordeal of the USS Enterprise, 14 January 1969." The program is in the William M. Allen Theater, and is free with admission to the Museum. Carlin's book will be available in the Museum Store.
Preceding the program at 1 p.m. in the William M. Allen Theater is the USS Enterprise Fire 40th Reunion, "Remembering Navy veterans who were aboard the USS Enterprise on January 14, 1969 during the fire that took the lives of 28 of our shipmates and wounded 340 others." Participants include Navy veterans who were aboard the USS Enterprise on January 14, 1969. The reunion group's membership also includes family members of fallen shipmates. As with previous reunions the group will conduct a memorial service to those who lost their lives onboard that fateful day forty years ago. The reunion is open to the public. The USS Enterprise was the world's first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.
Image: From the flight deck of the USS Enterprise, courtesy Dan Reick.