After our visit to the Oriskany Battlefield Memorial Site, we drove south on Route 69 to the Oriskany Museum. Unfortunately, the museum building was closed. We had been in there before, however, so we consoled ourselves investigating the park.
The park is beautiful. It has the anchor to the Mighty O— the U.S.S. Oriskany– the aircraft carrier which was recently sunk in the waters of south Florida.
The U.S.S. Oriskany –also known as the “Mighty O”– was a Navy aircraft carrier, commissioned in 1950 and named after the Revolutionary battle site I described in our visit. She traveled around the world and saw action in Korea and Vietnam (John McCain served aboard her). She’s also a movie star, having been used for the film The Bridges at Toko-Ri. She was decommissioned in 1976. Her bell and anchor (and the Skyhawk, see photos below) are on display at the Oriskany Museum. In 2004, the Navy announced they were going to sink the Mighty O off the coast of Florida, and use her as an artificial reef– the first of its kind in naval history.
Here’s a video I found of the sinking.
The Discovery Channel did an extensive television segment on the environmental preparation for such a feat, and the sinking of the ship.
So all that’s left of the Mighty O is what remains of her scrap in other ships, and the artifacts at this museum. The museum is filled with tons of paraphernalia and history of the ship. And I didn’t know that Debbie Reynolds was the official “mascot” of the ship! There’s an autographed photo of her aboard it. I was a Debbie Reynolds fan as a kid.
I recently saw a YouTube video of some divers who explored the Mighty O at the bottom of the ocean. The video is a little long, but the shots are impressive. I was surprised to see how quickly the sea is taking over the ship!
Also fun to investigate is the A-4E Skyhawk Navy Attack Bomber.
There are memorials and flags everywhere. It is lovely. A large wooden post stands next to a gazebo and says in many languages “Live in Peace.”