By ESTEVAN MEDRANO
Port Isabel-South Padre Press
January 22, 2015
USS Constellation tugged to Port for dismantling
The Rio Grande Valley welcomed the arrival of the USS Constellation (CV-64) Friday morning. The immense aircraft carrier is shown being towed, passing Port Isabel on its way to the Port of Brownsville where it will be dismantled for its metal upon arrival. Hundreds of Laguna Madre residents, including veterans who served aboard, came out to see the massive ship as it treaded the ocean for the last time.
One veteran and Winter Texan in attendance was Ken Herbst, who served special operations in Vietnam. “It’s impressive to see something like that,” he said. “I came with my wife to see it by the jetties and there were quite a few veterans who came out too. A lot of those guys were on that boat sometime, so it means all that much more to them to see it out there.”
The task of scrapping such a large vessel is expected to be a two year process done by International Shipbreaking Ltd., one of three contractors vetted by the Navy with each receiving at least one carrier. While a majority of the material retrieved will be metal, all recyclable materials are expected to be salvaged.
“The amount recovered is proprietary on the breakdown,” said Robert Berry, Vice President of International Shipbreaking. “The ship weighed, when it came in, 61,100 tons. The material will be sent all over many different places. It’s a two year contract, but we hope to do it in less time than that.”
Named in honor of the new constellation of stars and nicknamed “Connie” by its crew, at the time of its launch in 1960, the Constellation was considered one the fastest ships in the Navy. The then $265 million dollar U.S carrier has made appearances in the 2001 film “Pearl Harbor” and many other television series, like “Home Improvement” and “The Six Million Dollar Man.”
The USS Ranger (CV-61), a Forrestal-class supercarrier commissioned in 1957, is expected to arrive in Brownsville in the summer to undergo a similar process.
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