By ESTEVAN MEDRANO
Port Isabel-South Padre Press
January 8, 2015
The USS Constellation, the largest aircraft carrier to ever make its way to the Rio Grande Valley, is expected to arrive in Brownsville within a matter of days after being slightly delayed from its Jan. 12 arrival date. The Kitty Hawk-class carrier holds 224,000 gallons of fuel and is nearing the end of its 16,000-nautical-mile journey which began in Bremerton, Washington on Aug. 8, having to endure multiple storms on its way. The metal behemoth, currently being towed in by Seattle-based tugboat Corbin Foss which is part of the Foss Marine fleet, will be scrapped at the Port of Brownsville upon arrival at the cost of $3 million. The estimated two year scrapping process mark the third major dismantling of a retired carrier in the area in recent memory, along with the USS Forrestal and the USS Saratoga. Port Isabel City Manager Edward Meza spoke about the community response to the historical dismantlings.
“Everybody’s been talking about it,” said Meza. “It’s always an attraction to see, I mean people come from all over to line up along the inner coastal between Port Isabel and Brownsville. When the Saratoga came last year I was so impressed. It was packed with people taking pictures and everything from the limited it was coming through. Something about its history that makes it so amazing that it’s coming down here where they’ll unfortunately dismantle it.”
The maintenance of such as massive and aging vessel, such as with the USS Lexington, known as “The Blue Ghost,” in Corpus Christi, is extraordinarily costly even as an attraction though it was considered. A similar undoing is expected for the USS Ranger arriving to the port next summer.
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