Get ready for 4 full days of diving at the largest artificial reef in the world. The USS Oriskany was an Essex-class aircraft carrier built shortly after World War II for the United States Navy. It was the first Navy ship to bear this name in honor of the Battle of Oriskany during the US Independence War.
The history of the Oriskany differs considerably from that of its twins. Originally designed as a «long hull» Essex-class aircraft carrier (considered by some authorities as a separate class, the Ticonderoga class) its construction was discontinued in 1947. It was finally assigned in 1950 after its conversion to an updated design called SCB-27, which became the model for the modernization of 14 other Essex-class aircraft carriers. The Oriskany was the last completed class ship.
He operated primarily in the Pacific in the 1970s, earning two combat stars for his service in the Korean War and five for his service in Vietnam. In 1966 one of the worst shipboard fires since World War II broke out on the Oriskany when a magnesium flare accidentally ignited, forty-four men were killed in the fire.
The post-service history of the Oriskany also differs considerably from that of its twins. It was decommissioned in 1976 and sold for scrapping in 1995, but was repossessed in 1997 due to lack of progress in scrapping. In 2004 it was decided to sink it as an artificial reef off the coast of Florida in the Gulf of Mexico. After a thorough environmental review and remediation to remove the toxic substances, it was carefully sunk in May 2006, settling upright at a depth accessible for recreational and technical diving. As of 2006 the Oriskany is the largest ship ever sunk to make a reef. This aircraft carrier was used in the movie «The Bridges at Toko-Ri».