History of Oriskany (text taken from Naval Historical Society Library website)
The USS Oriskany (CV-34, later CVA-34 and CV-34), 1950-2006 a 27,100 ton Ticonderoga class aircraft carrier, was built at the New York Navy Yard. Though she was launched in October 1945, construction was suspended in August 1947 and she was completed to a revised design that was also used in modernizing several other ships of the Essex and Ticonderoga classes. Commissioned in September 1950, Oriskany deployed to the Mediterranean Sea between May and October 1951 and steamed around Cape Horn to join the Pacific Fleet in May 1952. She made one Korean War combat cruise, from September 1952 to May 1953.
Following the end of the Korean conflict, Oriskany continued her Pacific Fleet service for more than two more decades, deploying regularly to the Western Pacific for tours of duty with the Seventh Fleet. She was out of commission from January 1957 until March 1959, during which time she was modernized with a new angled flight deck, steam catapults, an enclosed “hurricane” bow and many other improvements that permitted safer operation of high-performance aircraft. In 1961, she became the first aircraft carrier to be fitted with the revolutionary Naval Tactical Data System (NTDS).
Oriskany’s second war began with her 1965 WestPac cruise, during which her planes hit targets in North and South Vietnam. Several more combat tours followed as the Southeast Asian conflict waxed and waned. Tragedy struck the carrier on 26 October 1966, during her second Vietnam War deployment, when fire ravaged her forward compartments, killing 44 members of her crew and air group. Oriskany was repaired in the U.S., returned to the war zone in mid-1967 and rendered assistance to USS Forrestal when that carrier also suffered a major fire. Following twenty-six years of service, USS Oriskany was decommissioned in September 1976. She was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register in July 1989 and sold for scrapping in 1994. However, after a prolonged effort that exhibited the perilous state of the domestic ship-breaking industry at the end of the Twentieth Century, she was repossessed in 1997 and spent nearly a decade awaiting final disposition. On 17 May 2006, following careful preparations, Oriskany was deliberately sunk off Pensacola, Florida, to serve as an artificial reef and sport diving attraction.
For more history information and photos, click here.
For museum information and more photos, click here.
Diving the Oriskany
The Oriskany is a massive wreck dive. Open water divers who are advanced certified can enjoy the island structure down to the flight deck. There are many opportunities for swim throughs and places to stick your head inside the wreck for a quick look. You can easily do a couple of dives on this section alone. Technical divers can enjoy the wreck to a much different level. The flight down to the hanger deck offers lots to see. If you’re overhead-environment trained, you can swim into the hanger deck and exit the other side…very cool. If you bring DPVs, you can scooter the entire wreck from bow to stern seeing everything around this ship. There are many dives that can be done on this wreck, so plan to do as many as possible. It’s a must-see wreck dive for all you wreck divers out there.
Lat: 00 00.00 N
Long: 00 00.00 W
Depth of wreck
65 feet to the island
135 feet to the flight deck
155 feet to the hanger deck
220 feet to the sandy bottom
Size of wreck
Length: 888 feet
Beam 147 feet
Wreck Dive Guide Tags:
- oriskany wreck
- cva oriskany 34 museum