USS BENNINGTON CVA-20
27 APRIL 1953
Crew Stories- Boiler Explosion
Thu, 27 Jan 2000 00:55:22 EST
Oscar Valdez RDM 2/C
Commissioning 1952 to Mid 1953. Transferred to USS RANDOLPH CVA15 to
place her into commission.
At the time of the boiler explosion we were at flight quarters preparing to take on a VMF Sqdrn . Col. McClean as I remember was the Sqdrn Leader, a robust,balding but handsome individual and was to land first. It was his birthday. I was in Air Ops at the time, where they were preparing to play"You are too old to cut the mustard anymore" over the radio net, and wave him off. Ironically as this sequence started the boiler exploded. The sqdrn had to be routed to Guantanamo Bay to land. Remaining sqdrn aircraft which were aboard at the time of the explosion were launched while we were at anchor in Guantanamo Bay.
It was indeed a sad day aboard the Bennington, especially when our dead shipmates were lowered to the motor launches and were taken ashore.