Mid-Missouri Man Remembers Time on USS Forrestal

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AUXVASSE - Gordon Groves lives in an old farm house in mid-Missouri, but he still keeps reminders of his time serving in the Navy in a special room in his house. The room is filled with photos, awards and memorabilia from the days when he served in Vietnam on board the USS Forrestal.

"Mostly I did it for the grandkids," Groves said. "To teach them about service and being thankful for those who protect this country. And, of course, I did it for my shipmates.

One hundred thirty-four of Groves' shipmates died on board the USS Forrestal when a missile accidentally exploded on the ship, sparking a chain reaction. The fire set off bombs, creating bigger and bigger flames.

"I still remember the shrieking, the tearing of metal, the explosions," Groves said.

Groves was uninjured by the explosions and spent the rest of the day aiding the wounded. 

"Nothing was going through my head other than to try and do what I could to help," Groves said.

Today the ship is in Brownsville, Texas being taken apart and sold for scrap metal. The Navy paid a symbolic value of $0.01 to All Star Metals to have the carrier destroyed.

Groves said he is sad to see her go.

"If you're not careful, you can get attached to your ship," Groves said. "But there's nothing I can do but continue to honor the men who gave the ultimate sacrifice on board her."

For that, Groves has his memories and his room.