By ALLEY COWGILL
Port Isabel-South Padre Press
This weekend the nation will say goodbye to a piece of history. The USS Ranger is scheduled to arrive Sunday morning between 7 a.m and 7:30 a.m at the Port of Brownsville where it will be dismantled by International Shipbreaking, Ltd. The large vessel began its voyage in Bremerton, Washington and made the extensive 17,000 mile route around the tip of South America.
The Ranger is more than simply a ship afloat in an ocean. It is an unique vessel with a story unfamiliar to most. The Ranger was first commissioned on August 10, 1957. It is one of four 60,000-ton Forestall-class carriers, known as the first super carriers. The Ranger served the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War, Operation Desert Storm, and the first Iraq War. The vessel earned 14 battle stars for service in Vietnam.
The Ranger was the first vessel crafted with angled flight technology which allowed aircraft to simultaneously take off and launch. It was one of the last carriers powered by oil-fired steam turbines generating 280,000 horsepower before the Navy transitioned to the current Nimitz-class nuclear powered aircraft carriers.
In 1983, the carrier made another landmark in history an all woman crew landed a cargo plane on an aircraft carrier for the first time.
In 1986, the Ranger made its Hollywood debut in the movie Top Gun. The vessel also appeared in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, The Six Million Dollar Man and Baa Baa Black Sheep.
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