The USS Oriskany, affectionately referred to as "The Mighty O", was a U.S. Navy Essex-class aircraft carrier named for the Revolutionary War Battle of the same name.
Originally rushed to construction as part of the war effort, the USS Oriskany (CV/CVA-34) was designed as an Essex-class aircraft carrier. When World War II ended, construction was slowed, and then suspended in 1947 for redesign. Design modifications included adjustments to the hull for stability, and adjustments to the flight deck and elevators so that they could handle heavier aircraft. The redesigned Oriskany was finally commissioned on September 25, 1950. In 1951, the Oriskany was once again redesigned, and fitted with a new, wider, flight deck to accommodate a higher volume of take-offs and landings. In 1956, the Oriskany underwent additional deck redesigns, and was refitted with steam-powered catapults, which were used to launch departing aircraft from the flight deck.
The USS Oriskany earned two battle stars during the Korean War, and another five during the Vietnam War. During the Vietnam War, the Oriskany launched more sorties and flew more missions than any other US Navy Carrier.
The USS Oriskany was sunk approximately 24 miles South East of Pensacola, Florida as an artificial reef in May of 2006. She now rests upright in 215ft of water.
- AUTHORIZED: 07 AUG 1942
- LAID DOWN: 01 MAY 1944
- LAUNCHED: 13 OCT 1945
- COMMISSIONED: 25 SEP 1950
- RECLASSIFIED: CV to CVA on 01 OCT 1952
- DISPLACEMENT: Max 47,000 Tons
- LENGTH: 911 feet overall
- BEAM: 157 feet overall
- DRAFT: 30 feet 6 inches maximum
- PROPULSION: 8 boilers, 4 engines
- POWER: 150,000 horsepower
- SPEED: 33 knots Max
- COMPLEMENT: 3,460
- AIRCRAFT: 80-100
- ARMAMENT: 8 five inch guns and 14 three inch guns
- ACTIVE SERVICE: 8,784 days
- DECOMMISSIONED: 30 SEP 1975
- REEFED: 17 MAY 2006
On May 17, 2006, the USS Oriskany became the largest ship intentionally sunk as an artificial reef. The USS Oriskany was sank 24 miles Southeast of Pensacola, Florida, the cradle of Naval Aviation. Engineers expected the sinking to take anywhere from five to eight hours, the Oriskany surprised all in attendance when she sank in only 37 minutes.
Divers soon confirmed that the 32,000 ton Oriskany had come to rest upright in a north-south orientation in 215 feet of water. This left the tower at around 70ft and the flight deck at 135ft. Hurricanes and Tropical Storms have cause the ship to list a few degrees, which now puts her tower at 84ft and her flight deck at 146ft. Since the Oriskany sits at the edge of the Gulf Stream, scuba divers often find conditions clearer and warmer than other sites in the Pensacola area. It's also not uncommon to encounter whale sharks, and other large pelagic species on the Oriskany wreck, mostly depending on luck, and the time of year.
Oriskany Photo Gallery 1
Oriskany Photo Gallery 2
LINKS TO MORE INFORMATION ON THE USS ORISKANY
Oriskany Museum and USS Oriskany Reunion Association
NavSource Online: USS ORISKANY (CV-34 and CVA-34)
Naval History and Heritage Command
Current Weather near the Oriskany
MBT Divers - Pensacola
MBT Divers offers an exclusive USS Oriskany Diver course that provides an excellent historical background of the ship and provides divers with a guide to identifying parts of the ship and potential hazards.