The Navy's first supercarrier, which called Mayport Naval Station home for 13 years, is headed to the scrap yard after it was sold for 1 cent.
The U.S. Navy turned over the USS Forrestal to a Texas scrapping and recycling company after plans to make the ship a museum and memorial failed.
Retired Navy Chief Rick Kuehner said the move to sell it as scrap for a penny is disappointing.
"We should have been able to benefit from it more other than just selling it for scrap," Kuehner said.
Kuehner served on the ship for more than six years, one of thousands of men and women who were deployed on the vessel, which became famous for being the Navy's largest supercarrier. Kuehner said he wishes the military or the American public could have somehow benefited from the ship.
"The materials that's used for any decommissioned vessel could have been used for steel or a project we need, like dilapidated bridges, that could have been used for states across the country," Kuehner said.
The Navy tried to donate the historic ship for use as a memorial or a museum, but no viable applications were received. More than 16,000 engineers worked to build the ship in 1957, costing an estimated $217 million.
The Forrestal was homeported at Mayport from 1977 to 1991.
"She served the nation so well, from humanitarian to disaster relief operations in Vietnam during their conflict," Admiral Victor Guillory said. "U.S. Sen. (John) McCain flew off the ship."
The storied ship is also remembered for tragedy in the late 1960s, when a chain reaction of fires and explosions on the flight deck killed more than 130 sailors. After the ship was repaired, it served for more than four decades, even spending years docked at Mayport, where sailors say the vessel is deeply missed.
"When it left, not only did a portion of Jacksonville leave, because there were a lot of families stationed on it, but I think the presence at Mayport has diminished because we don't have those carrier fleets there anymore," Kuehner said.