First Anniversary of Sinking of USS Oriskany off Gulf

PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) - Pensacolans and hundreds of Navy veterans are preparing to mark the first anniversary of the sinking of the decommissioned aircraft carrier Oriskany as an artificial reef.

It took just 37 minutes for the 888-foot vessel to slip beneath the waves of the Gulf of Mexico.

The Oriskany became the first vessel sunk under a Navy program to dispose of old warships by turning them into diving attractions teeming with fish and other marine life.

Commissioned in 1950 and named after an American Revolutionary
War battle, it saw duty during the Korean War and was home to John
McCain when the Navy pilot and future senator served in Vietnam.

It was also among the ships used by President Kennedy in a show of
force during the 1962 Cuban missile crisis. It was decommissioned
in 1976.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)