An excited crew of 25 aboard The Golden Gaff arrived at the future resting place of the Oriskany around 9am. Many people were there for the event on their boats about one mile away from the Oriskany for safety precautions. We could see men scurrying around on the flight deck, preparing the ship for detonation.
We had been told it would take hours for the ship to sink, so everyone on the boat decided to get comfortable and kick back. As we were looking on, we saw smoke and a few seconds later we heard the blast, the C-4 explosives had been detonated on the Oriskany. Some of the guest on the Golden Gaff had gone below and was waiting in line for the restroom while the ship sank in just 37 minutes. I remember one of my friends coming back up to the boat deck and asked what happened....he had missed the sinking entirely.
The 904 foot Oriskany is the largest ship every intentionally sunk to make an artificial reef. It is also the first ever United States War Ship to become an artificial reef. The ship was used in Robin Williams film “What Dreams May Come” and it is also mentioned in the movie “Top Gun”.
I am delighted to say that on May 17, 2006 I was on a boat in the Gulf of Mexico and I saw the USS Oriskany sink. The ship now lies on the Gulf floor about 210 feet deep and has a new purpose, it is now home to fish and sea creatures, an interest for scuba divers and a hot spot for fisherman. The Oriskan now nicknamed "The Great Carrier Reef".
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all veterans for their service in the military and for the freedom we enjoy in the United States of America.
Bev Dudley, Realtor