NEWS, Va. (AP) -- The retired aircraft carrier USS America is on the bottom
of the Atlantic Ocean, sunk by the Navy in a series of explosive tests that
upset some veterans.
The 84,000-ton, 1,048-foot warship that served the Navy for
32 years rests about 60 miles off the coast and more than 6,000 feet down,
according to Pat Dolan, a spokeswoman for Naval Sea Systems Command.
She did not give a location, but the Navy previously said
the explosions would take place off North Carolina.
Dolan said the America went down May 14, finally flooded after
the series of explosions over 25 days. No announcement was made at the time.
Dolan did not immediately return a telephone message left
Friday by The Associated Press.
No warship this size or larger had ever been sunk, and plans
to sink the America caused controversy.
"Not a day goes by that I don't think about it,"
said Lee McNulty, president of the USS America Foundation, which wanted
to turn the ship into a museum. "Of all the carriers, that one should
have been saved, just for the name America."
The America launched warplanes during the Vietnam War, the
1986 conflict with Libya, the first Gulf War, and over Bosnia-Herzegovina
in the mid-1990s.
The Navy said in March that the explosive tests would
provide valuable data on survivability for the next generation of aircraft
carriers, which are now in development.
Since its decommissioning in 1996, the America had been moored
with dozens of other inactive warships at a Navy yard in Philadelphia.
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