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Sailors to the End: The Deadly Fire on the USS Forrestal and the Heroes Who Fought It

4.22  ·  Rating Details ·  162 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
The aircraft carrier USS Forrestal was preparing to launch attacks into North Vietnam when one of its jets accidentally fired a rocket into an aircraft occupied by pilot John McCain. A huge fire ensued, and McCain barely escaped before a 1,000-pound bomb on his plane exploded, causing a chain reaction with other bombs on surrounding planes. The crew struggled for days to e ...more
ebook, 336 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published July 15th 2002)
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(showing 1-30 of 307)
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Eric_W
Jul 05, 2011 Eric_W rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story of John McCain and the tragic fire on board the Forrestal. The author provides lots of interesting detail on the hazards of working on a carrier. Falling overboard was one of the most feared and could happen easily. One had to be always on the alert and totally aware of the surroundings. Fatigue and heat made this difficult. Sailors working in unbearably hot conditions for 12 hours at a stretch could be blown overboard by an errant jet blast, or run down by a tractor that got away when ...more
Mike
Mar 12, 2010 Mike rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having spent the better part of a 23 year Navy career, mostly working flight deck operations. We often used the incident scenario from the USS Forrestal to stage our own drills. I found the book to be true to events prior to and after the unfortunate incident that day. I could have plugged my own experiences into portions of that book. I had trouble putting the book down until completion.
I think everyone should read this book and gain true respect for the brave men and the events they endured th
...more
Alisa
Jan 21, 2015 Alisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This wavered between 3.5 and 4 stars. I had never even heard of this incident, but wow. I'm sure things happen in the military so often that as time passes we never hear about. This was quite an interesting, and sad, story about an aircraft carrier on board that caught fire due to rocket accidentally firing off a plane. I liked the books details of the pre-rocket and people getting into the navy, as well as the aftermath of the rocket and crew. It was especially touching about the three navy cre ...more
Diana Long
Feb 24, 2015 Diana Long rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A descriptive and detailed account of the July 29, 1967 disaster of the carrier USS "Forrestal" as told to the author by those sailors who survived the fire and additional documents to support his findings of this tragic event. Freeman wrote an outstanding chronology of events as they transpired pre-fire, fire and aftermath. The very vivid scenes as they are accounted are heart wrenching to say the least. Sailors who sacrificed their own safety to save others, every boy that day became a man and ...more
Emily
Feb 05, 2013 Emily rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, military
I first got this book when I did a paper on the USS Forrestal. Not only did it provide a great deal of information for the paper, but it pointed me in the direction of the survivors who had been willing to work with Mr. Freeman. Based on the information I got from my own direct interviews, I can say that Sailors to the End is well-written and accurate, painting a good picture of the events surrounding the fire and the overall situation before and after the fire within the Navy as a whole.

This is
...more
Christopher
Jan 26, 2013 Christopher rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of my best friends from growing up went to the Navy after high school while I went to the Army. After Desert Storm we ended up back home at the same time and I remember him telling me about his flight deck job in the arresting crew. The area of the carrier where this book takes place. So, when I came across this book I knew I had to read it if to just a greater sense of what life was like on a carrier. The whole time I was reading it I could help but think of him. I also thought back to my o ...more
Jeannie Walker
May 12, 2012 Jeannie Walker rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent read!
The USS Forrestal was stationed in the Tonkin Gulf to deliver napalm, high explosives and other dangerous payloads. Learning about the tragic fire from chain reaction explosions aboard the aircraft carrier USS Forrestal and the loss of so many lives was heartbreaking. It is true the US Navy can take teenagers and turn them into a fine team who will risk their lives to fight a horrendous fire that threatens to sink one of America’s most powerful aircraft carrier. The sufferings
...more
Charley Duschen
Good book. I did not realize the severity of the injuries some sailors suffered, especially the burns.
Fredrick Danysh
May 02, 2014 Fredrick Danysh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
In July 1967 the USS Forrestal is conducting flight operations off the coast of Vietnam when an ordnance mishap explodes causing a chain reaction of explosions and fire that claims 134 lives. Here is a close look at aircraft carrier operations and the valor of men fighting to save their ship. An excellent historical work. The only thing that could be improved would be to give the ranks of the men listed as killed as a result of the mishap.
Michael Plas
Feb 04, 2016 Michael Plas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fires
This is a fitting tribute to the men who suffered and died upon the USS Forrestal. Mr. Freeman manages to introduce the reader to the minutiae of carrier combat, as well as to the various characters, without boring the knowledgeable reader. He makes the episode an engrossing story, worthy of cinema. As he concludes the book, he tries to assign blame fairly and does not have an animus towards the Navy or an individuals.
Matthew
Sep 08, 2015 Matthew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent historical account of the devastating fire onboard USS FORRESTAL during the Vietnam war. This fire had major implications for our Navy and damage control procedures. A very personal account as the author interviewed numerous former crew members and detailed the experience from their perspective.
Janis
May 18, 2010 Janis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really love the way this book was written, using facts and interviews, without the author taking artistic license. The first half of the book starts a little slow, but you'll need the information to keep up with the second half. WARNING, this book can make a grown man cry.
Nancy
Aug 02, 2008 Nancy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended by nephew Eric - research of the fire on the USS Forestal caused by WW II bombs delivered to the ship the night before the fire - captain under orders to continue "mission" Rumsfeld ordered to keep up bombing missions in North Vietnam at all cost.
Billy
May 12, 2009 Billy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: navy
An easy read, but hampered by the author's abject ignorance on naval matters. The book is a somewhat tepid oral history of both the infamous fire and military service during the Vietnam era, but fails utterly at any meaningful analysis of the incident.
Rick
Nov 02, 2013 Rick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: military-history
Outstanding account of the tragedy on the USS Forrestal, lots of detail an analysis of the factors contributing to the accident. There are 16 pages of photographs, some taken of sailors before the incident and some taken during and afterwards.
Erin
Gregory Freeman shows once again why he's the best at this style of writing. He tells an incredible story of tragedy and heroism. It's not one that should be ignored and, after reading it, I doubt I'll forget it anytime soon. Great book.
George
Jun 22, 2014 George rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellently written and researched book. Sifting through 7500 pages of the offical Navy reports PLUS interviewing hundreds of survivors brings the story of this tragedy to light.
Jim
Feb 17, 2015 Jim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I get on these nautical kicks sometimes. This one is about the famous fire aboard the USS FORRESTAL during the Vietnam War. Amazing how a little mistake can turn into a disaster.
Ben
Mar 11, 2009 Ben rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: war-military
This is the kind of thing they don't make movies about. This book is dirty and sad while portraying the heroism of sailors fighting something you can't put a face on.
Tom
Sep 15, 2013 Tom rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is not surprising that the main problem was not acknowledged by the Navy investigators. Thanks to Gregory Freeman for telling us this story.
Suzanne Krueger
May 29, 2014 Suzanne Krueger rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
A compelling account of the deadly fire that killed 134 sailors on the USS Forrestal in 1967. Rivetting, poignant and tragic.
Randy
Aug 11, 2012 Randy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Provides some insight into military investigations, and obfuscation of major catastrophes
Tom Tebo
Feb 29, 2008 Tom Tebo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
All men are heroes, but beware of the chance to become one, it comes at a high price,
Mary
One of the best books I have ever read. Thanks Mike for suggesting this one,
Steve Skelton
Feb 19, 2013 Steve Skelton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well written story of one of the worst days in the history of the US Navy.
Bob and Judy Dobson
Bob and Judy Dobson rated it it was amazing
Sep 25, 2016
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