A two-year project to dismantle and recycle the decommissioned U.S. Navy vessel USS Ranger (CV-61) has recently concluded.
Ordered in 1954 and commissioned in 1957, the Ranger was the first U.S. carrier vessel built as an angled-deck ship from inception. She served in the Pacific, the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf, and earned 13 battle stars for her service in the Vietnam War. During her 37 years of service, she also appeared in blockbuster films such as Top Gun and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.
After her arrival on July 12, 2015, the Ranger was dismantled for recycling in Brownsville, Texas, at a metal recycling yard operated by International Shipbreaking, part of the EMR group. The dismantling project, which has taken just over two years, has recovered and recycled over 56,000 tons of material from the Forrestal-class “supercarrier”, with most of the recycled metal recovered sold to be melted down at domestic mills. Some of the repurposed new metals will be used in U.S. Department of Defense contracts.
Remaining recycled materials from the USS Ranger will also be given a new lease of life, as over five tons of historic items from the ship have been donated to the USS Lexington Museum in Corpus Christi, Texas, for display and preservation.
The dismantling project was completed on November 1, 2017, 34 years to the day since a fire broke out inside USS Ranger Main Machinery Room 4 (MMR4), claiming the lives of six U.S. Navy sailors and injuring 35. A moment of silence was held at 9:50 a.m. by the crew at the yard as the final section of the USS Ranger was removed to honor all those who served on the ship. All artifacts from the MMR4 Control Room have been donated to the USS Ranger Association for use in a museum exhibit honoring the six servicemen who perished during the 1983 fire.
The recycling operation has also enabled veterans and military enthusiasts to own a piece of naval history, with a USS Ranger commemorative dog tag being minted from brass and copper recycled from the mighty ship. Engraved flight deck sections are also available for purchase on the company’s eBay store.
Chris Green, International Shipbreaking COO, commented, “The USS Ranger has a distinguished record of service to our country, and we were honored to give her the respectful send off she deserves. We have a long history of dismantling military vessel, and have invested heavily in our Brownsville ship-breaking facilities to ensure our recycling processes are safe and environmentally sound. Even though the Ranger’s journey as a US Navy vessel has come to an end, we’re proud that she will continue to serve her country and live on to honor her brave crew.”
International Shipbreaking has recently taken delivery of another distinguished military vessel, the USS Independence, following a contract win with the U.S. Navy to dismantle and recycle the aircraft carrier.