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

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2008

    A tragedy everyone should know about

    I just recently learned about the tragic fire on the USS Forrestal, which occured in 1967. After doing some research I discovered Gregory Freeman's book on the Forrestal and thought it was an excellent read. Freeman provides background on the ship, its crew, and the alignment of a whole host of circumstances that opened the door for the tragic fire. This book is both engrossing and very sad, as the author explains the complexities of serving on the ship, the backdrop of the Vietnam War, and the fact that decisions made by higher-ups and politicians cost so many young men their lives. He also touches on Sen. John McCain, who was nearly trapped in his plane when the fire broke out. I highly reccommend the book and wish more people knew about these brave men who served their country with honor.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2013

    Forgotten history worth knowing

    As part of navy boot camp I was required to watch the footage of the Forrestal fire, it scared me to death. Years later I ended up serving aboard her for 2 years. I remember walking past the memorial plaques in the hanger bay dedicated to those that perished. There is no plaque to remember those that saved the ship and fought to save their fellow shipmates, "Sailors To The End" is their plaque. This is a forgotten piece of naval history, my thanks to the author for not letting it stay that way. I have met many of the men who's stories are told in the book including the captain, I'm glad to see they will not be forgotten. Good book, worth reading.

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  • Posted June 25, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Very factual account

    I bought this book because my husband was on the Forrestal and would never talk about what happened, however he would answer direct questions about the experience. So I used it as a tool to learn what happened and to get him to talk about it at least in short conversations.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2005

    Excellent read about more American heros!!!

    I LOVE reading these types of books. I have read numerous books about different WW2 naval incidents and felt it was time to broaden my horizons a bit. Reading a story that took place during Vietnam really was touching. I was born shortly after that era and know a lot of people who served, both in the jungle and on these ships. It really makes me appreciate these people even more!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2002

    Vindication for the Forrestal Victims

    My father was a witness to the Forrestal disaster July 29, 1967, so I was familiar with the event long before this book was written. On occasions where I'd discussed the tragedy with friends who had served in the Navy, I had been told of the firefighting training films they'd been shown where the instructor would ridicule the sailors who so bravely endeavored to save their ship, pointing out everything that, according to them, they'd done wrong. Nothing could be further from the truth. As we read through the pages of Sailors to the End, we experience the fire through the eyes of a select number of individuals, who represent a fraction of the men who are haunted to this day by the events they witnessed, including the deaths of shipmates and friends, and the injuries they suffered. The author also provides some background on each of these sailors so that they become more real and human to us, rather than just a cast of characters in a history text. We learn that the catastrophe was not due to their incompetence, but old, faulty ammunition left over from World War II that exploded prematurely and wiped out the Forrestal's firefighting teams mere minutes after the fire started. Personally speaking, this book provided a perspective of the disaster that my father had not, and probably could not have, expressed to me. Freeman does an excellent job of relating the emotions and experiences of those who were directly involved in the disaster. What was even more poignant to me after finishing Sailors to the End was its featured program on BookTV where several of the Forrestal sailors discussed in the book took the podium and talked about what they had gone through. Unfortunately, BookTV's website only has a two month archive of their featured programs, but if you're able to access a recording of the broadcast, I highly recommend watching it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2002

    The Forrestal and what really happened.

    As a Forrestal survivor, it is refreshing to read accurate information. Much has been said and recorded on "supposed documentaries" over the years, but Gregory Freeman's book is the most accurate report I've found. It is like being there again, yet it is done in a tasteful way that does not cheapen the memory of those men who died valiantly in this terrible disaster. I salute Mr. Freeman and and thank him for setting the record straight once and for all. It may not matter to a lot of people, but it matters to me and to every other man who was there.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2002

    Sailrs to the End

    My husband was on the Forrestal 3 different times. This is not an accurate account of the fire. He was there! He knows what happened and he lost many friends. It was a terrible fire. We also have the film from the Navy files and the one from the Discovery Fire. It could have been a good book but he should have contacted more sailors that fought the fire. My husband used to have nightmares..he would wake me up fighting the fire in his sleep. Maybe one day we will write our own book concerning the Navy and the Forrestal fire.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 29, 2002

    READ IT!!!

    OUTSTANDING ACCOUNT OF THE EVENTS OF JULY 29,1967. MUST READING FOR ANYONE WHO EVER SERVED ON A AIRCRAFT CARRIER AND FOR THOSE WHO NEVER DID!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2002

    Men of Forrestal

    I was aboard the Forrestal on that warm late July day just off the coast of North Vietnam. As a witness to the carnage on the flightdeck, I was struck by the courage of all the crew. Self sacrifice and was not an order it was everyone's goal. Nine one thousand pound bombs sank most World War Two carriers. If not for the crew of Forrestal, that was about to be our fate. To answer an earlier review comment, the course of the WestPac cruise was; South from Norfolk Virginia, crossing the equator June 19, 1967. A three day port of call in Rio de Janeiro, then South East to the "Cape of Good Hope off the coast of the South Africa. Finally, North east through the Indian Ocean to Subic Bay Philippine Islands.

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    Posted June 22, 2012

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    Posted December 17, 2010

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